Are degrees from conservative Christian schools like Liberty University toxic?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic Discussions' started by thomas_jefferson, Dec 30, 2010.

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  1. If HR sees Liberty University on a resume and looks it up to find out that it is a Christian school founded by the much derided ultraconservative Jerry Falwell -- could that be toxic? Obviously, conservative Christians and perhaps moderate Christians would have no problem with it but what about liberals and those of other faiths or no faith?

    There's many esteemed Christian-based universities (ie. Notre Dame) who don't suffer from reputation issues. However, these schools don't typically have headlines like this:

    Liberty University disputing evolution | The News & Advance

    Creationist Students Take Trip to Evolution Headquarters: The Smithsonian -

    They teach evolution at Notre Dame and don't make Creationism a required course. So, what do you think? Is a degree from a school like Liberty University toxic? Would it be worth shopping elsewhere if you don't plan to work in the Bible belt or in conservative areas?
  2. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    Well, I start my first semester at Liberty 01/17 and hope all goes well. I'm just hoping they don't try to force things down my throat. I've read a few student reviews that say they can be extra.
  3. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    Of course not why would a liberal be upset about a religous degree? Liberals are inclusive and believe people should be judged on their character and who they are as people. Educated liberals will be able to understand that this person received an accredited degree from the school of that persons choosing. Liberals are "for the people" and they will have no problems with a degree from somewhere that does not agree with their every philosphy or one that teaches something they don't agree with (Creationism, earth-age, etc). Non-issue.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2010
  4. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    Brilliant post TJ. I'm interested in the debate that will ensue.
  5. 03310151

    03310151 Active Member

    I already posted this in another Liberty thread. Interesting set of rules, I assume they do not pertain to online students:

    From the Libertty Code of Conduct:

    Reprimands and Consequences

    1 Reprimand

    * Curfew violation (one additional reprimand for each half-hour late until 2:00 a.m.)
    * Late to Convocation (one additional reprimand for each 15 minutes late)

    4 Reprimands + $10 Fine

    * Allowing unauthorized overnight visitor in residence room
    * Absence from required meeting
    * Disturbance/non-participation during Convocation
    * Dress/hair code violation: male or female
    * Failure to respond to an official call slip (for Student Affairs use only)
    * Horseplay (plus financial restitution)
    * Improper personal contact (anything beyond hand-holding)
    * Improper sign out
    * Missing Convocation
    * Music code violation
    * Outside residence hall after curfew
    * Residence hall disturbance/noise violation
    * Unauthorized borrowing (plus financial restitution)

    6 Reprimands + $25 Fine

    * Attendance at a dance
    * Direct disobedience/disrespect
    * Disassembly or removal of residence hall furniture
    * Entering entryway of opposite sex on campus or allowing the same
    * Gambling
    * Improper social behavior
    * Possession and/or use of tobacco
    * Unauthorized room change

    12 Reprimands + $50 Fine

    * Attendance at, possession or viewing of, an "R," "NC-17" or "X"-rated movie
    * Deception
    * Entering the residence hallway of the opposite sex or allowing the same
    * Entering the space above ceiling tiles
    * Out of residence hall overnight or substantial portion of the night without permission (after 2:00 a.m.)
    * Participation in an unauthorized petition or demonstration
    * Possession and/or viewing of sexually explicit material
    * Possession of a school key without authorization
    * Students of the opposite sex visiting alone at an off-campus residence

    12-18 Reprimands + Corresponding Fine

    * Malicious horseplay/behavior (plus financial restitution)
    * Obscene, profane or abusive language or behavior

    18 Reprimands + $250 Fine

    + 18 hours Disciplinary Community Service

    * Association with those consuming alcohol
    * Entering a residence hall apartment or quad of the opposite sex or allowing the same
    * Entering bedroom of the opposite sex on/off campus or allowing the same
    * Failure to properly identify oneselft
    * Sexual harassment (i.e., unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other conduct or comments of a sexual nature)
    * Sexual misconduct and/or any state of undress
    * Threat to do bodily harm
    * Vandalism (plus financial restitution)

    30 Reprimands + $500 Fine

    + 30 hours Disciplinary Community Service + possible Administrative Withdrawal. NOTE: For each accumulation of six or more reprimands after 30, an additional $150 fine will be assessed.

    * Abortion
    * Assault/sexual assault (minimum two semesters out)
    * Failure of three Christian/Community Services without reconciliation
    * Illegal drugs-association/possession, use/distribution (minimum two semesters out)
    * Immorality
    * Involvement with witchcraft, séances or other occult activities
    * Non-participation/disruption/non-compliance (possible removal/exclusion from campus)
    * Possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages
    * Refusal to submit to an Alco-Sensor test and/or drug test as specified by the administration
    * Spending the night with a person of the opposite sex
    * Stealing or possession of stolen property (plus financial restitution; minimum two semesters out)
    * Two or more individuals of the opposite sex together in hotel/motel room without proper permission
  6. lawrenceq

    lawrenceq Member

    ^^That's deep!
  7. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I would think that a degree from Liberty would tend to brand an individual, and while many employers and universities would be fine with it, there would be some that would consider a degree from Liberty to be "toxic". Depends on your worldview. I agree with 03310151 that a true liberal would be fine with it, but there are many who would not.

    I'm hoping that this thread does not devolve into a religious debate and instead remains a discussion on the value of a specific degree.
  8. emmzee

    emmzee New Member

    Harsh rules, though as you noted they don't apply to online students. Or maybe they do, but on the honor system? I guess I couldn't attend, since I would be guilty of "possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages" :D

    Anywho. Could it have a "toxic" effect? Probably. There are a small minority of people who are vehemently anti-Christian. On the other hand, there are those who would be strongly opposed to schools that have reputations of being very secular / liberal, so it works both ways ...
  9. TMW2009

    TMW2009 New Member

    Wow... Just... Wow..
    I'm a conservative (lapsed) Catholic, and it looks like I'd be drummed out of the school in just a few weeks. I get the fact that it's their sandbox, so they make the rules... But... Wow...

    I thought that Kevin Bacon finally got all this worked out with John Lithgow, after having to bring in Kenny Loggins as a mediator....
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2010
  10. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    Are we not generalizing a weeeee bit too much? Very few people in the real world fall into the ultra-this or ultra-that category, and any rational, mature person SHOULD know how to live and work with people whom they disagree with, especially on matters unrelated to work.
  11. As an institution, Liberty University actually does fall into your "ultra-this" category which might subject alumni to negative reactions by the majority of people who, as you say, aren't as extreme.

    Liberty University has three strong points for anyone interested in its online programs: established B&M campus, non-profit and RA. Do these things get overshadowed by an ultra-conservative social agenda and a controversial founder? I don't know.

    One thing's for sure, human resource professionals are people and they aren't perfect or entirely neutral when selecting candidates -- they come to the table with all sorts of biases and inclinations.
  12. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I concur, MC.
  13. SurfDoctor

    SurfDoctor Moderator Staff Member

    I have found no discrimination against my degree from California Baptist University in all of my working years. If anything, it has been an asset. While CBU is not as famous as Liberty, it is just as conservative.
  14. This would make a fascinating graduate project. You could send out resumes to a sampling of employers across sectors with the only difference between them being the school: conservative Christian or unaffiliated. The schools would need to be about equal in other rankings. Would there be a significant difference in calls for interviews? Which sectors would be the most biased (if any)? Which geographical areas would be the most biased (if any)?

    We can only guess at the results and look to anecdotes at this point, unfortunately.
  15. I know you're being tongue-in-cheek but couldn't we just as easily set up a straw man of a Christian and knock down the hypocrisy?
  16. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    Let's face it: if you have a degree from any school with a well-known religious orientation, then you may face prejudice (or favoritism) on that basis. It's not an issue that only affects schools like Liberty.

    Suppose a potential employer is an devout evangelical Protestant with a degree from Liberty University. Is it possible that a degree from (for example) the University of Notre Dame or Brigham Young University might be a disadvantage in this situation -- even though both schools are (academically) much higher ranked than Liberty ?
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2010
  17. Randell1234

    Randell1234 Moderator Staff Member

    Now let's go one step further - could graduating from a school with a big name football team hurt? What if I graduated from UF and was interviewed by someone from FSU (rival Florida teams)? Would they hold it against me? I was "interviewed" by someone for a position and they were a UF fan. Their comment was, "you graduated from UF so you can't be bad..."

    Can't everything be held against you or work for you?
  18. truckie270

    truckie270 New Member

    Agreed. You could ask the same type of question about whether or not a Harvard degree would be frowned upon by an employer because Harvard is notoriously anti-military.

    I wouldn't discount any sort of favoritism or bias among fanatic SEC football fans.
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 30, 2010
  19. CalDog

    CalDog New Member

    How about schools that have both a strong religious orientation and a strong football team?

    Is it coincidental that both BYU and Notre Dame are regularly included on lists of most disliked teams ?
  20. The question then becomes: Is the aggregate average of discrimination, across all sectors and regions, increased for someone with a degree from an ultra-conservative Christian school versus other schools?

    There will always be niche situations where this or that degree will be more desirable but what about from a general utility perspective?

    I would hypothesize that overall a degree from Liberty would be *mildly* detrimental when compared to nonreligious or religiously moderate institutions. I would also guess that it would be a positive for a small number of applications and with certain people.
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