By: Caroline Morse
Liberty University made national news on Fox News for allowing college students to conceal carry firearms in dorms and on campus. Fox News published “Liberty University to allow handguns in dorms next fall” in April, 2016 which sparked hundreds of public comments on their article concerning students with handguns on a college campus.
The percent of the public that is not involved with Liberty may get the wrong impression of Liberty students hearing that they are allowed to carry guns on campus. Like many other things with Liberty, the truth may not always be what it seems.
Other popular misconceptions are that Liberty students just sit around and read the Bible all day, they have outrageous rules for being a Christian university and that a student has to be a Christian in order to attend the school.
“So, do Liberty students just sit around and read their Bible all day?” Frederick Community College sophomore Alexja Jackson said.
Because Liberty is a Christian university they are required to take classes on biblical teachings according to Liberty’s degree completion plans for each major. Outside of religious studies, Liberty has roughly over 230 majors to choose from between undergraduate and graduate degrees on their degree plan pages.
When students are not studying, Liberty’s campus seems to thrive off of their Division I, II and III sports. Liberty senior Brent Mayne is very active in the student body when it comes to any type of sports games.
“The midnight mayhem games are my favorite,” said Mayne. “They’re just a lot of fun to be at until two in the morning, everybody gets so excited for them.”
Liberty’s varsity sports have been underway even before the fall semester started back in August and students seem ready to represent the color red once again.
Another misconception Liberty students get asked about regards their school policy and rules that students have to follow on a regular basis.
U.S. Naval Academy midshipman Gabriel Weigelt has friends in secular schools and at Liberty and always compares the different lifestyles of rules. Even living through a military lifestyle, Weigelt perceives the rules at Liberty as more intense than the rules he follows at the academy.
“I have a lot of friends that go to Liberty and I know Liberty is a huge school, but I’m not sure I would ever want to live under all the insane rules they probably have since they are a Christian school,” said Weigelt.
Liberty’s biblical rules may seem out of the ordinary for students who attend secular schools like the U.S. Naval Academy. In Liberty’s student handbook, rules that raise questions from secular students are their single-sex dorms, curfew on every night and a modest dress code for all of the students from the student handbook.
Most secular schools have coed dorms, no curfew and no dress code for the student body. Secular schools like the U.S. Naval Academy have coed dorms, no curfew and a slight dress code in the form of military uniforms according to their school handbook.
Lastly, when Weigelt was asked if students have to believe in God in order to attend Liberty, he gave a very straight forward statement.
“Everybody is a Christian there, you have to be Christian to attend,” Weigelt said.
According to the United States Department of Education’s website home page, Schools are not allowed to discriminate students on their race, beliefs, age or sex. Any type of school between kindergartens to universities must accept all types of students without hesitation.
Liberty’s doors are open to all kinds of students with varying religious beliefs and it is not a requirement for a student to believe in God to attend due to the Department of Education’s rules and regulations.
As a believer or not, every student enrolled through Liberty online or residentially has to take up to 22 credited hours of Christian Life classes in every major Liberty provides. Also, the student body does attend Convocation to worship and hear speakers every Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon and students are expected to attend small Bible groups every Wednesday night.
Among the required classes is Evangelism 101 where students learn how to spread their faith to non-believers. Professor of Evangelism David Wheeler has one assignment in particular that has two options for students. Liberty sophomore Kaitlin Lofortti describes her experience when Wheeler asked students to write their testimony about how they came to love Christ and if they do not believe in Christ, they are asked to write why they do not.
“I really liked Wheeler’s optional assignment because it gave everybody an equal opportunity to answer honestly and not be afraid of a bad grade,” said LoForti.
Since schools welcome any student in regardless of their beliefs, Liberty understands that not every student considers themselves a Christian. Therefore, the assignments are applicable to every student regardless of their beliefs.
When the news media erupted over Liberty allowing students to carry concealed firearms, people might have automatically assumed that Liberty had up to 14,000 firearms just strolling around campus. According the article written by Nick Anderson in the Washington Post “Liberty University to allow guns in residence halls” in December of 2015, about 950 students had permits to carry guns on campus.
Stevenson University Senior Blaine Lowry has friends that attend Liberty and they explained to him their different rules between the Liberty Way and Stevenson’s rules.
“Liberty doesn’t seem that bad of a Christian school,” said Lowry. “I wouldn’t consider attending since I’m about to graduate, but I might’ve applied if I had known about this school.”
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