ABILENE, Texas — Abilene Christian University has revised its long-held policy of prohibiting dancing at events hosted by official student organizations.
“This is part of an effort on our part to be more real with our students who are young adults,” said Jean-Noel Thompson, ACU’s vice president for student life and dean of students.
In the past, ACU’s students have been allowed to participate in university-sponsored events in which dance is a cultural expression or public performance. Student-sponsored organizations that want to have dancing at their on- or off-campus events will now need to gain approval of their venue and music list. Staff advisers also must be present at the event.
Thompson said the decision to revise the policy came after several years of discussion and research of policies at nearly 80 faith-based colleges and universities.
“We’ve found compelling reasons to provide appropriate venues for dancing on our campus for two reasons: It helps us influence or encourage students to show appropriate conduct in social settings where dancing is taking place,” Thompson said. “We also believe the change will enhance the experience our students have while on our campus.
“In making this change, we’re acting to make sure students can participate in this activity in a safe, supervised environment — one that gives us the opportunity to proactively influence them in modeling appropriate Christian behavior,” he added.
Thompson also noted that there was no blanket statement regarding the type of music or dance genre that will be accepted, only that the dance form “honors us, those around them and God.”
Dozens of readers commented on the policy change
on The Christian Chronicle’s
news blog, with some praising the decision and others questioning it.