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A Time To Speak

A time to mourn. . .

Ecclesiastes 3:4b


Chapter Six

In which Alecia shares what she was learning

Alecia

The FCU Victor's Facebook page was a strange experience for me.

To begin with, I was posting under my own name, and I was open about my position with the school. That made me a target for a lot of things, but as a representative for the school, I was very limited in how I could respond.

Victors

Things you wish incoming students knew about the school. What should a freshman know before they set foot on campus?


Regina

They should know that it's not accredited, and it never will be accredited, unless you count that national accreditation thing they have that isn't worth the paper it's written on. Save your time and money and go to a school that will actually teach you to think for yourself, and where your degree might actually help you get a job somewhere else.


Peter

I agree. I know lots of people who graduated with a degree from Foothills who can't get into the graduate school of their choice. Go somewhere else, kids.


Craig

But how many people from other schools get into the graduate school of their choice? Foothills is not alone in that category. Grad school is tough.


Win

That's not always true, Regina. I know several FCU grads who got into other graduate schools with little or no problem. And some of the colleges within the school have their own accreditation. My degree was in elementary education, and the school of education is accredited. So since my teaching license is from South Carolina, and my state has reciprocity with South Carolina, I am qualified to teach here.


Craig

And students should know that dating there is stupid. Don't even bother.


John

Didn't you meet your wife there, Craig?


Alecia

Win is right. I have had three of my students go on to be admitted to Julliard from FCU, so the degrees are not "worthless". We explain clearly in our literature that students who plan to go on to graduate school should check ahead of time with the requirements for the school of their choice. We make it clear that Foothills might not meet all the requirements of every graduate school everywhere else.


Regina

But most incoming freshmen have no idea what they want to do after finishing their four year degree. They can't possibly be expected to look that far ahead and plan in so much detail. Plus for many of them, the choice of FCU is something their parents make on their behalf. How can you possibly in good conscience sell them a degree that you know they can't use?


John

You can use some of the credits, depending on where you go. My community college took most of the credits I earned at Foothills.


Craig

But if you want to transfer from FCU to an accredited college during your four years, you're screwed.


Regina

That's not my point. If they want to be in the education business, then they have a responsibility to make sure their graduates get a good education, not a cheap imitation of what they should have. They want to be a show window to the world, but in this they serve as a warning of what NOT to do.


Peter

Oh yeah, they're some show window, all right. That show window is busted.


John

If Foothills is a show window, I'm shopping somewhere else. Forget the accreditation. I would never go back to a place where turning in your friends for stupid shit is cool. I would never go back somewhere that thinks students grading each other on their spirituality is good. I would never go back to a place where they'll keep a kid on campus when his brother is dying, just because of some stupid rule.


I had noticed that sometimes, just one comment on a particular thread could take that thread in a whole different direction than where it had been going before. This was one of those times. A comment like John's could not go unremarked, or unanswered. There was an immediate chorus of readers asking him for more information.

John

There was this guy in my prayer group my freshman year who was an usher, and his brother had an invasive brain tumor, stage three. He kept getting worse and worse that year, and by the end of March he'd gotten really bad. We all realized the brother could die at any time. His parents asked the guy to come home to see his brother again, before it was too late, but the school wouldn't let him go because it was Bible conference week, and he was the head usher.


Craig

You're kidding. They wouldn't let him go see his dying brother because of Bible conference?


John

That's right. His mom called the dean of student's office, and then his dad too. This poor guy was supposed to stand up at the front of the auditorium for four services a day, making sure everyone got seated on time and supervising taking up the collection, knowing that his brother was dying. Because it was Bible conference. And because a rule is a rule. You can't skip Bible conference unless it's to go to a funeral. I guess it was just his tough shit that his brother wasn't dead yet.


Peter

That's low even for Foothills.


John

It wasn't until Thursday night that this guy's pastor called the school. He was kind of a big shot with the school, sent them a bunch of students every year, so they listened to him. The guy left campus Friday morning, trying to drive to Indiana in time. His brother died before he got home. I'll never forget what that poor guy went through.


I was shocked when I read John's story, not because I hadn't heard it before, but because I had. That is, I had heard a version of it. Dr. Seth tended to quote it a lot, especially at Bible Conference time.

A number of years before (so Dr. Seth always stated), there was a young man who was studying at the university who found out that his brother was gravely ill with a brain tumor. This student was committed to following the Lord's leading for his life, but he also wanted to be with his brother, and he promised himself that as soon as the school year was over he would go straight home and spend the whole summer with him. But his brother's illness worsened, and by early spring, at Bible Conference time, his parents were telling him he needed to come home right away, without waiting. But the student was so sure of his calling at Foothills that it was hard for him to walk away. Finally the parents called the school and asked if somebody on staff could speak to their son for them. Somebody in Dr. Seth's office called the student personally and urged him to go see his brother, reminding him that the Lord wanted him to honor his parents, too. The student agreed and left campus, and a few hours later, he was at his brother's side when the brother passed away.

That was the way I had heard it many times, as both a student and faculty member. I had never had a reason to doubt its truthfulness. The moral of the story seemed to be that the Lord doesn't call all of us to that level of devotion, but when He does, it's a blessing to respond with obedience. There was no arguing with that conclusion.

But John's version had a ring of truth to it that began to nag at me. The school did have rigorous attendance rules for Bible conference, and sometimes their devotion to the rules overruled their common sense.

Would they really tell such a blatant lie about such a thing? I couldn't imagine such a thing. Every story grows and changes when it is repeated over time, and this particular story went back many years. Who could tell how it had started, and how it had been added to every time it was repeated? More than likely, the truth of what had happened to that poor student lay somewhere between John's version and the version I had always heard on campus, but I wanted to know for sure. I needed to know for sure.

There was one place, only one place, where I knew I could find out the truth. I prayed about it for several days, and then I gained the courage to send John David a private message.

Alecia

Dear John,
I read your story about the Bible Conference usher three days ago with great confusion. I have been aware of that story for a number of years, but I think your information might be incorrect. In my experience, the school would never be so cruel to a student. They are demanding at times, and sometimes they make mistakes, but I do not believe administrators who love the Lord so much would insist that anyone stay away from their dying family member at such a time, and of course they would never lie about such a thing. I think the student himself may have chosen to remain at the school, rather than wanting to leave in the middle of Bible Conference week. Perhaps there is some kind of confusion about the student's identity or circumstances. Would you consider giving me the student's name, so I can research this in the student database? I would be happy to let you know whatever I find. Please let me know, and thank you.
---Alecia