Whitworth needs a better Big Three-education program

by Abby Nye

Whitworth University is unique in many aspects, especially when it comes to its Big Three rules. The Big Three rules outline some of the core values that Whitworth employs for its students and staff. These rules prohibit disturbing the peace, the presence of drugs and alcohol on campus, and cohabitation. Although these rules are clearly stated and consequences for breaking these rules are outlined, there are still many violations.

The Big Three are intended to ensure safety and security for students and adhere to principal Christian values. However, there is no real discussion beyond the statement of the rules. I believe that by ignoring the reality of these rules being broken can be incredibly damaging to those students who don’t fully understand the safety concerns.

Whitworth proudly lives into its vocation as a Christian university and upholds the prohibition of cohabitation and drugs and alcohol for this reason. I believe it is appropriate for Whitworth to set this standard as a Christian university, however upholding these standards on campus does not eliminate the possibility of an adverse action occurring. Many students at Whitworth come from more conservative Christian backgrounds where discussion of substance usage and sex is often ignored. Christianity has done a remarkable job of shaming its participants into not talking about these subjects, even though they are pervasive in our culture.

Many colleges and universities require their incoming students to take online courses that address the safety concerns of alcohol and drug use and discuss ways to have safe sex. These courses include information about sexual assault and harassment and provide the rights of the individual upon experiencing this. These courses also include information about alcohol consumption including the alcohol content in popular drinks and how to identify and deal with alcohol poisoning for yourself or another person.

Within a Christian context, sex is often avoided an subject. However, in that, young Christians are not well informed about contraception and the dangers of unsafe sex. This avoidance of talk about sex also overlooks the real existence of sexual assault and harassment. Simply going to a Christian school does not automatically prevent the occurrence of sexual assault to occur.

Students should be provided with information about what sexual assault and harassment is, what their legal rights as an individual are, and what measures their school will take upon learning of this occurrence. Along with this, providing students with information about the spread of STDs, risk of pregnancy, and the different options of contraception could help decrease the risks from unsafe sexual behaviors as a whole.

I believe that Whitworth is withholding a wholesome Christian education by not providing students with that information. By informing students of the dangers of STDs, alcohol and drug abuse and the legal process in the event of a sexual assault, provides students with a foundation to make their own educated decisions. We are called to protect each other ang guard each other in the faith. Whitworth can show a level of respect for their students by providing safety information that may prevent risks that can result from those actions.

Contact Abby Nye at anye19@my.whitworth.edu