Guiding Principles and Lifestyle Standards

Undergraduate Student Handbook

As members of this community, we must remember that our behavior reflects not only on ourselves, but on other members of our community and on our Lord Jesus. Whether we step out into the world around us or interact in our own smaller realm, the things we say and do are a testimony to who we are and whom we serve.

Scripture teaches us that we can exhibit certain attributes by allowing the Holy Spirit to guide our behavior. These attributes include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. This fruits of the Spirit (see Galatians 5:22-26) are to be sought, encouraged, and demonstrated in our relationships.

Conversely, Scripture condemns attributes such as greed, jealousy, pride, lust, and hatred. Although these characteristics are sometimes difficult to discern - especially in ourselves - they can hinder relationships with God and with others and lead to destructive or unacceptable behavior. Members of our community are expected to reject these attitudes so that each one of us can grow in grace and righteousness.

Certain behaviors condemned by biblical teaching are not acceptable for members of the George Fox University community. They include theft, lying, all forms of dishonesty, gossip, slander, backbiting, profanity, vulgarity (including crude language), sexual immorality, drunkenness, immodesty of dress, and occult practices.

In keeping with scriptural teaching about the authority of government, members of the George Fox community are expected to uphold the laws of the local community, the state of Oregon, and the nation. The only exception would be the rare occasions in which obedience to civil authorities would require behavior that conflicts with the clear teaching of Scripture, in which case each individual would submit voluntarily to the civil penalty for disobeying the law. In every other case, behavior resulting in civil arrest on or off campus is subject to review and accountability.

The University also recognizes that while the Scriptures do not provide specific teaching regarding all social practices, they do advocate self-restraint in things that are harmful or offensive to others.  In light of this, there are numerous responsibilities set forth for members of our community.

All community members are expected to be people of character who are honest and live a life of integrity. 

Honesty is defined as telling the truth, being truthful in our actions and our words, and admitting when we have made a mistake. 

Integrity means doing what you say you will do, making sure your actions match your words, and abiding by what’s expected of you, even when no one is watching. Honesty and integrity are honored and valued in all aspects of the George Fox community.

The University has created certain guidelines and expectations we believe contribute to our sense of Christian community and to its aims and goals. These high standards are not set forth as absolutes or an index of Christian spirituality, but rather as expectations for those who choose to be a part of our community.

We recognize that not all students are committed followers of Jesus, have the same standards for living ascribed to by the university, or necessarily agree with some facets of the university's lifestyle expectations. However, in the admissions process you signed the application agreeing to respect and abide by the lifestyle standards and community expectations (to be followed by all students of George Fox University) for as long as you are enrolled as a student. Since we are to trust and be responsible to each other, violating these standards is regarded as a breach of integrity.

Establishing community and lifestyle expectations is one way a community helps its members develop as individuals. While each person is an individual, individuals must share responsibility for the community. We believe that by describing the expectations that come along with being a member of the university community, students should be able to take a more active role in helping George Fox University function as a Christian community and in achieving our goals as an institution of higher learning.

As a community we encourage and teach our members to follow Jesus Christ and be collaborators in God's work in the world. We urge each member to become the kind of person and live the kind of life that Jesus taught and modeled. We believe such a life is described by the 'fruit of the spirit' as listed in Galatians 5:22-23. These fruits include love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, and self-control.

We believe the Bible teaches that all persons are created in God's image and that God actively seeks renewed relationships with every individual. We are bound therefore to regard each person with love and respect. (Romans 12:9-21, 1 Corinthians 13, Ephesians 4:32). So we avoid discrimination, abusive or manipulative actions, and gossip or mean-spirited behaviors. We seek actively to honor each person, loving and serving one another as Jesus taught us.

Our lifestyle excludes immoral practices and calls us to transformed living as we 'offer [our] bodies as living sacrifices' to God (Romans 12:1-2). In regard to sexual morality, we believe that only marriage between a man and a woman is God's intention for the joyful fulfillment of sexual intimacy. This should always be in the context of mutual compassion, love and fidelity. Sexual behaviors outside of this context are inconsistent with God's teaching.

We recognize these principles may conflict with the practice and opinion of some within the larger culture. We are convinced that this is God's design for providing the most loving guidance and practice for individuals and our community.

For a community to be its members must live with integrity. This includes honest academic work, telling each other the truth, keeping our promises and living so our actions match our words. (James 1:22-25)

The university is eager for each member of the community to grow spiritually (Hebrews 10:24-25).

We encourage involvement in activities designed to nurture spiritual growth. This includes Bible study, small prayer groups, service opportunities, and chapel attendance. The university encourages all members of the community to maintain personal practices of discipleship and to participate in a local church.

Our goal is to help each community member to think the same way as Christ thought (Philippians 2:5). This includes disciplining our minds to think about what is true, honorable, just, pure, pleasing, commendable, excellent and worthy of praise as commended to us in Philippians 4:8. We avoid gambling, not only to practice good stewardship of our resources, but also to prevent welcoming greed inwardly and joining in the social inequities on which gambling thrives.

While we recognize that committed Christians differ in how they view the consumption of alcoholic beverages, it is clear that the improper use of alcohol by students, faculty or staff could bring much harm to the communities of George Fox University. This is especially true of the traditional undergraduate community which consists largely of students who are under the legal drinking age. Nationally, it is well documented that underage and binge drinking as well as driving with significant blood alcohol levels are major problems on college campuses.

In addition, there is growing evidence that some individuals are predisposed to alcoholism. For these reasons, the use of alcohol by traditional undergraduate students is not allowed at any time they are enrolled at the university.

The use of alcohol at university-sponsored events or activities is not allowed. Further, the presence or use of illegal drugs or alcoholic beverages is not tolerated on any George Fox University campus, nor is the illegitimate use of prescription drugs.  The university prohibits smoking and all forms of tobacco use everywhere on-campus; as well as off-campus by employees and traditional undergraduate students.

The goal of the George Fox University lifestyle standard is to create a community in which individuals are encouraged to be transformed into the image of Christ. In addition, we desire that our common life would reflect the teachings and Spirit of Christ in all that we do and say. In this ongoing process of transformation, all members of the George Fox community are encouraged to consider the following questions as a means of self-examination, in the tradition of the historic Friends (Quakers).

As individuals or groups within this community reflect on these questions we encourage them to respond in obedience to God's leading and to seek encouragement, support and accountability from other members of the community.

  • Am I actively pursuing the highest call of God on my life even if that means giving up a personal 'freedom' for the sake of others within the community?
  • As a member of the George Fox community, do I recognize my duty and responsibility to others within our Christ-centered community?
  • Am I a faithful steward of the resources which God has entrusted to me?
  • Do I discipline my mind and body to serve as instruments of God?

These lifestyle standards reflect the university's mission, faith commitments, values, and our rich heritage. They are intended to facilitate our life together at George Fox University. A more detailed description of specific aspects of these standards can be found under the Community Policies section of the student handbook.  If you have any questions regarding the lifestyle expectations, please contact the dean of community life or associate dean of students in the student life office.

As part of the George Fox University community, students are to abide by the lifestyle standards and community expectations while they are:

  • Enrolled in classes for the Fall Semester (including Thanksgiving), Spring Semester (including Spring Break), May Term, and Summer Term.
  • Representing the George Fox University community in any programs on or off campus, whether they are enrolled or not, or are employed by the institution.
  • Living in university housing

Over Christmas break and the summer, students should keep in mind they are representing the George Fox University community. The University expects students to use discernment and wisdom in their behavior and decision-making during these periods.

Since most students are also members of smaller communities - their families - we want to make it clear that the policies of the university are not intended to infringe upon the family. Therefore, residential students who are home for vacation or the weekend are assumed to be a part of the family unit and under the direction of their parents. Commuting students are expected to abide by these policies except when university regulations conflict with the authority of the family.  However, situations where students are at their parent’s home and violate GFU policies without a parent being present may incur appropriate interventions from student life personnel.

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