| the history of wake forest
poll done for Randolph-Macon reveals 64 per cent of the
students, 11 per cent of the alumnae, and 4 per cent of the
parents approving a recent intervisitation proposal). Those
of us who are in the front lines of these issues must be good
The student leaders remonstrate that the mores of this
generation differ markedly from those of our own. Tastes
of the counterculture are still evident in the music, art,
clothes, literature, and films preferred by the young. What
college-age person has not seen “The Graduate,” “Love
Story,” “The Way We Were,” “A Touch of Class” and not
identified with the attractive young actors in relationships
presented as the norm of acceptable behavior, but regarded
by their elders as wholly unacceptable?
In the two months of hearings, discussion arose in at
least five sectors:
1. Educational. The majority of the trustees voting to reaf-
firm existing policy saw some connection between aca-
demic performance and orderly rules in the residential
halls. Surveying the recent disarray in higher education,
they descried a broad trend toward a return to single-sex
dormitories, reinforcing their original caution in the
1971 decision. An institution devoted to the training of
the intellect must put its emphasis on educational, not
social, facilities.
2. Architectural. There are 193 separate entries in the Men’s
Residential complex, and it is a practical impossibility to
create a policy of limited intervisitation on the basis of
self-regulation by halls, floors, and suites. When viola-
tions are alleged, it is an unfair burden on the student
judicial system to enforce a maze of regulations that
may not protect the privacy of one’s neighbors or insure
suite-mates from unnecessary intimidation.
3. Legal. Conflicting decisions by the courts have been
examined in the following areas: authority, discrimina-
tion, definition of domicile, the rights appertaining
to legal adulthood, landlord and tenant relations,
alcoholic beverages in a campus setting, the jurisdiction
of student courts and mixed tribunals, and guarantees
of due process in all university affairs. Academic law is
a volatile subject, marked by swift changes and almost
weekly judicial decisions. (The decision of May 9 came
before the Title IX regulations issued by the President
of the United States, on June 9. This administrative inter-
pretation leaves undisturbed the right of any institution
to maintain separate dormitories if it so chooses. Treat-
ment of the sexes must, however, be even-handed.)
4. Security. An increasing problem on public as well as private
university campuses is the identification of persons with
legitimate access to student dormitories. Lives and property
must be protected, of course, whatever the policy with
respect to visitors. The incidence of crime is worse in an
urban setting. Some schools have installed temporary
sentry posts, pillboxes for additional security guards,
and kept the dormitory entrances locked, day and night.
The University tradition of in loco parentis, never
unlimited, has been bettered by societal change and
judicial decisions. Yet the university is expected, and
properly so, to safeguard life and property and to act
as a parent would in crises of health, in legal difficulties,
in seeking employment opportunities, and providing
emergency financial aid. It is right that, to this extent,
Alma Mater continue to serve in loco parentis.
5. Religious. Wake Forest is proud of its religious heritage
and does not apologize for its continuing commitment to
Judeo-Christian principles. Against the secular view that
the contemporary university has no special responsibility
in the formation of character is the Trustees’ belief that
for most of them, Wake Forest did provide a concern,
expressed in the old College motto, “Pro Humanitate.”
The college experience ought to help a person to ask the
ultimate questions and face life’s moments of truth with
equanimity and courage. In the course of long and useful
lives, her sons and daughters have often taken unpopular
views against stout opposition. And in this process, the
discipline of well-ordered lives made the difference.
The American society is pluralistic, affording many
models of educational institutions. Each university has the
right and duty to define its own philosophy and to maintain
its own identity. Some persons may not find the Wake For-
est environment congenial, but they too must observe the
laws and the spirit of the laws. The Trustees have the legal
and moral responsibility to define the policy. On this issue
the standard has been raised for all to see. It may not be
uniformly respected, but young people will respect us less
if we do not stand by our convictions.
J.R. Scales
Previous Page Next Page