Inside Gordon College: Visitation Pt. 3, I Broke It!

To read Pt. 2: Inside Gordon College: Visitation Pt. 2, Gender

I would like to tell a story that I am hoping can be used as an anecdote to speak about other problems regarding visitation.  I have broken visitation.  This breaking of visitation was not my freshman year, for at that point, I had thought visitation was good.  My breaking of visitation happened over the course of the past two years, both of which I was employed as an RA.  I was supposed to be the one enforcing visitation, but I was actually the one breaking it.  Do not consider me this superior badass as I am one of many RA’s who does this.

It was the night before Thanksgiving Break.  The majority of my fellow RA’s and my RD were out of the building because they had already returned home for Thanksgiving.  I was the RA on duty.  This means that there were no other RA’s in the building to walk around and make sure that I wasn’t breaking visitation.  Thus, me and the absolutely lovely lady that I am dating (for the rest of this blog, I will refer to her as the “lovely lady”), broke visitation.  We were hanging out in her room, watching a movie with the lights off.  We weren’t having sex, we were just enjoying each other’s company and watching a good movie.

As the lovely lady and I were watching the movie, I suddenly became very anxious.  I became paranoid that someone would hear me as they walked by the lovely lady’s room or that someone would see me as they glanced over at her window.  I was worried that if someone were to catch me that they would tell on me to another RA or RD.  Snitching is a common act committed at Gordon and I thought I had a valid reason to be worried.  Moreover, I had been punished for other things in the past and I was not ready to be punished once more, especially with the fact that I was an RA.  I quickly informed the lovely lady that I was too scared and that I had to leave the room immediately.  She, being the sensitive and care person she is, didn’t think I was being unreasonable and she let me swiftly scoot out of her room.

I tell this story for multiple reasons.  The first reason is that it is a thrilling feeling for me to admit that I broke visitation as an RA.  As lame as it might seem to you readers, I consider the act of me breaking visitation and telling about it to be very risky, exciting and dangerous perhaps (that’s a little dramatic, but I hope you get the point).  The second reason of why I tell this story is because I want to argue that visitation does not rule because of compliance, but because of fear.

I have a theory that most students at Gordon adhere to visitation because they fear being punished.  It’s only a small minority of student who fully agree with the statutes of visitation and think that it’s a sensible policy.  In fact, I applaud those who have the courage to break visitation.  I admire you because I wish had the courage that you do.  I, however, was never able to fully step out of the confining fear that visitation easily imprisons students to.

The nature of visitation at Gordon reflects a punitive theology.  In one of my sociology classes, a classmate of mine was talking about the difference between punitive and restorative theology.  When talking about punitive theology, the term is more often used to talk about Christian beliefs that embrace orthodoxy.  In these Christian spaces, a punitive God is one who punishes people for being sinful and doing wrong.  Also, this God will reward people for doing “good” deeds.  Restorative theology, on the other hand, is the idea that God will restore this earth and our society in a way that allows for all humans to exercise their capabilities and achieve their full potential of being loving people.

Most of our world operates through the punitive lens.  Visitation is just one example of this.  The specifics of visitation condition the students to think that some acts are “wrong” are some acts are “right.”  If they do the wrong acts (hanging out in a room with the door closed), they are punished.  If they do the “right” acts, they are rewarded. The issue with the punitive nature of visitation is that people are being punished for acts that aren’t even wrong! The manifestation of this punitive theology in visitation is a visible demonstration of Gordon’s institutional conception of God.  For those who are reading this blog who are students at Gordon, I encourage you to analyze other rules at Gordon that enforce this punitive theology.

To read Pt. 4: Inside Gordon College: Visitation Pt. 4, Disclaimers

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