Beacon News: Students debate effectiveness of campus rules

By Kristina Webb / Photo Editor

Check out PBA’s Live coverage of the event here.

Have you ever questioned whether or not the rules in Palm Beach Atlantic University’s Navigator are based on Christian ethics and principles and if those rules are effective?

This was the topic of the inaugural debate of PBA’s Socratic Club, which featured  incoming Student Government president Bethany Williams and current Student Government president Adam McKinney arguing that the Navigator, the student handbook of PBA, is based in Christian ideals, while Socratic Club members Elaine Hodges and Allison Sanders took the opposing view.

Around 60 students gathered to watch the debate, which took place in Gregory Hall on March 23 and was moderated by Socratic Club president Jennifer Yirinec.

“I think that it went very well,” Yirinec said. “The debaters did a wonderful job of addressing the topic questions in a very pointed manner. However, I was disappointed at the turnout. Far less people came than were present at the faculty debate, which was held last fall. I think that that’s a sad commentary regarding the intellectual climate of the campus as a whole.”

The primary argument by Williams and McKinney was based on PBA’s effort to “set up a set of rules cohesive with the Bible,” McKinney said. The main point of Hodges and Sanders was that the Navigator is based on fundamental Christian ideals, and not the Bible itself.

“Breaking the rules can be very alluring,” McKinney said of the guidelines listed in the Navigator, “but it’s instant gratification.”

The Matthew 18 policy and the Amnesty program were both called into question.

Each side had met privately with representatives from the Office of Student Accountability, and both gave their own reasons for keeping the current policies in place.

From the meeting, Sanders said she learned that “probably 50 percent of people who seek amnesty are doing it out of genuine concern.”

This raised questions on both sides regarding Amnesty Program’s effectiveness.

“We’re simply not all about the idea that we are Christianizing things that should not be Christianized,” Sanders said.

The subject of the dress code also came into question, with Hodges and Sanders arguing that it is not Biblically-based.

“The purpose of the dress code is that PBA is first an academic institution,” McKinney countered.

Students were mostly pleased with the event.

“I think the debate opened up some good issues for discussion, and it was much more successful than the faculty debate,” said Socratic Club member Christopher Jensen.

“I hope this debate is part of a larger dialogue,” Sanders said in the debate. Both sides stated that they would like to see a larger discussion on the Navigator take place.

The Socratic Club “seeks to ‘follow the argument wherever it may lead,’ as Socrates once recommended,” Yirinec said. “It is a select group of mostly honors students and a few bright non-honors students.”

The club organizes events regularly, which include “coffee conversations, movie nights, toga parties honoring Plato’s birthday, or ‘Near-Bear and Beowulf parties,’” Yirinec added.

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