- The TWU Community Covenant
- Christian Community
- Community Life at TWU
- Areas for Careful Discernment and Sensitivity
- Commitment and Accountability
Community In Covenant
Our Pledge to One Another
Trinity Western University (TWU) is a Christian university of the liberal arts, sciences and professional studies with a vision for developing people of high competence and exemplary character who distinguish themselves as leaders in the marketplaces of life.
1. The TWU Community Covenant
The University’s mission, core values, curriculum and community life are formed by a firm commitment to the person and work of Jesus Christ as declared in the Bible. This identity and allegiance shapes an educational community in which members pursue truth and excellence with grace and diligence, treat people and ideas with charity and respect, think critically and constructively about complex issues, and willingly respond to the world’s most profound needs and greatest opportunities.
The University is an interrelated academic community rooted in the evangelical Protestant tradition; it is made up of Christian administrators, faculty and staff who, along with students choosing to study at TWU, covenant together to form a community that strives to live according to biblical precepts, believing that this will optimize the University’s capacity to fulfil its mission and achieve its aspirations.
The community covenant is a solemn pledge in which members place themselves under obligations on the part of the institution to its members, the members to the institution, and the members to one another. In making this pledge, members enter into a contractual agreement and a relational bond. By doing so, members accept reciprocal benefits and mutual responsibilities, and strive to achieve respectful and purposeful unity that aims for the advancement of all, recognizing the diversity of viewpoints, life journeys, stages of maturity, and roles within the TWU community. It is vital that each person who accepts the invitation to become a member of the TWU community carefully considers and sincerely embraces this community covenant.
2. Christian Community
The University’s acceptance of the Bible as the divinely inspired, authoritative guide for personal and community life is foundational to its affirmation that people flourish and most fully reach their potential when they delight in seeking God’s purposes, and when they renounce and resist the things that stand in the way of those purposes being fulfilled. This ongoing God-enabled pursuit of a holy life is an inner transformation that actualizes a life of purpose and eternal significance. Such a distinctly Christian way of living finds its fullest expression in Christian love, which was exemplified fully by Jesus Christ, and is characterized by humility, self-sacrifice, mercy and justice, and mutual submission for the good of others.
This biblical foundation inspires TWU to be a distinctly Christian university in which members and others observe and experience truth, compassion, reconciliation, and hope. TWU envisions itself to be a community where members demonstrate concern for the well-being of others, where rigorous intellectual learning occurs in the context of whole person development, where members give priority to spiritual formation, and where service-oriented citizenship is modeled.
3. Community Life at TWU
The TWU community covenant involves a commitment on the part of all members to embody attitudes and to practise actions identified in the Bible as virtues, and to avoid those portrayed as destructive. Members of the TWU community, therefore, commit themselves to:
- cultivate Christian virtues, such as love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, compassion, humility, forgiveness, peacemaking, mercy and justice
- live exemplary lives characterized by honesty, civility, truthfulness, generosity and integrity
- communicate in ways that build others up, according to their needs, for the benefit of all
- treat all persons with respect and dignity, and uphold their God-given worth from conception to death
- be responsible citizens both locally and globally who respect authorities, submit to the laws of this country, and contribute to the welfare of creation and society
- observe modesty, purity and appropriate intimacy in all relationships, reserve sexual expressions of intimacy for marriage, and within marriage take every reasonable step to resolve conflict and avoid divorce
- exercise careful judgment in all lifestyle choices, and take responsibility for personal choices and their impact on others
- encourage and support other members of the community in their pursuit of these values and ideals, while extending forgiveness, accountability, restoration, and healing to one another.
In keeping with biblical and TWU ideals, community members voluntarily abstain from the following actions:
- communication that is destructive to TWU community life and inter–personal relationships, including gossip, slander, vulgar/obscene language, and prejudice
- harassment or any form of verbal or physical intimidation, including hazing
- lying, cheating, or other forms of dishonesty including plagiarism
- stealing, misusing or destroying property belonging to others
- sexual intimacy that violates the sacredness of marriage between a man and a woman
- the use of materials that are degrading, dehumanizing, exploitive, hateful, or gratuitously violent, including, but not limited to pornography
- drunkenness, under-age consumption of alcohol, the use or possession of illegal drugs, and the misuse or abuse of substances including prescribed drugs
- the use or possession of alcohol on campus, or at any TWU sponsored event, and the use of tobacco on campus or at any TWU sponsored event.
4. Areas for Careful Discernment and Sensitivity
A heightened level of discernment and sensitivity is appropriate within a Christian educational community such as TWU. In order to foster the kind of campus atmosphere most conducive to university ends, this covenant both identifies particular Christian standards and recognizes degrees of latitude for individual freedom. True freedom is not the freedom to do as one pleases, but rather empowerment to do what is best. TWU rejects legalisms that mistakenly identify certain cultural practices as biblical imperatives, or that emphasize outward conduct as the measure of genuine Christian maturity apart from inward thoughts and motivations. In all respects, the TWU community expects its members to exercise wise decision-making according to biblical principles, carefully accounting for each individual’s capabilities, vulnerabilities, and values, and considering the consequences of those choices to health and character, social relationships, and God’s purposes in the world.
TWU is committed to assisting members who desire to face difficulties or overcome the consequences of poor personal choices by providing reasonable care, resources, and environments for safe and meaningful dialogue. TWU reserves the right to question, challenge or discipline any member in response to actions that impact personal or social welfare.
Wise and Sustainable Self-Care
The University is committed to promoting and supporting habits of healthy self-care in all its members, recognizing that each individual’s actions can have a cumulative impact on the entire community. TWU encourages its members to pursue and promote: sustainable patterns of sleep, eating, exercise, and preventative health; as well as sustainable rhythms of solitude and community, personal spiritual disciplines, chapel and local church participation, work, study and recreation, service and rest.
People face significant challenges in practicing biblical sexual health within a highly sexualized culture. A biblical view of sexuality holds that a person’s decisions regarding his or her body are physically, spiritually and emotionally inseparable. Such decisions affect a person’s ability to live out God’s intention for wholeness in relationship to God, to one’s (future) spouse, to others in the community, and to oneself. Further, according to the Bible, sexual intimacy is reserved for marriage between one man and one woman, and within that marriage bond it is God’s intention that it be enjoyed as a means for marital intimacy and procreation. Honouring and upholding these principles, members of the TWU community strive for purity of thought and relationship, respectful modesty, personal responsibility for actions taken, and avoidance of contexts where temptation to compromise would be particularly strong.
Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco
The use of illegal drugs is by definition illicit. The abuse of legal drugs has been shown to be physically and socially destructive, especially in its potential for forming life-destroying addictions. For these reasons, TWU members voluntarily abstain from the use of illegal drugs and the abuse of legal drugs at all times.
The decision whether or not to consume alcohol or use tobacco is more complex. The Bible allows for the enjoyment of alcohol in moderation, but it also strongly warns against drunkenness and addiction, which overpowers wise and reasonable behaviour and hinders personal development. The Bible commends leaders who abstained from, or were not addicted to, alcohol. Alcohol abuse has many long-lasting negative physical, social and academic consequences. The Bible has no direct instructions regarding the use of tobacco, though many biblical principles regarding stewardship of the body offer guidance. Tobacco is clearly hazardous to the health of both users and bystanders. Many people avoid alcohol and/or tobacco as a matter of conscience, personal health, or in response to an addiction. With these concerns in mind, TWU members will exercise careful discretion, sensitivity to others’ conscience/principles, moderation, compassion, and mutual responsibility. In addition, TWU strongly discourages participation in events where the primary purpose is the excessive consumption of alcohol.
When considering the myriad of entertainment options available, including print media, television, film, music, video games, the internet, theatre, concerts, social dancing, clubs, sports, recreation, and gambling, TWU expects its members to make personal choices according to biblical priorities, and with careful consideration for the immediate and long-term impact on one’s own well-being, the well-being of others, and the well-being of the University. Entertainment choices should be guided by the pursuit of activities that are edifying, beneficial and constructive, and by a preference for those things that are “true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy,” recognizing that truth and beauty appear in many differing forms, may be disguised, and may be seen in different ways by different people.
5. Commitment and Accountability
This covenant applies to all members of the TWU community, that is, administrators, faculty and staff employed by TWU and its affiliates, and students enrolled at TWU or any affiliate program. Unless specifically stated otherwise, expectations of this covenant apply to both on and off TWU’s campus and extension sites. Sincerely embracing every part of this covenant is a requirement for employment. Employees who sign this covenant also commit themselves to abide by TWU Employment Policies. TWU welcomes all students who qualify for admission, recognizing that not all affirm the theological views that are vital to the University’s Christian identity. Students sign this covenant with the commitment to abide by the expectations contained within the Community Covenant, and by campus policies published in the Academic Calendar and Student Handbook.
Ensuring that the integrity of the TWU community is upheld may at times involve taking steps to hold one another accountable to the mutual commitments outlined in this covenant. As a covenant community, all members share this responsibility. The University also provides formal accountability procedures to address actions by community members that represent a disregard for this covenant. These procedures and processes are outlined in TWU's Student Handbook and Employment Policies and will be enacted by designated representatives of the University as deemed necessary.
By my agreement below I affirm that:
- I have accepted the invitation to be a member of the TWU community with all the mutual benefits and responsibilities that are involved;
- I understand that by becoming a member of the TWU community I have also become an ambassador of this community and the ideals it represents;
- I have carefully read and considered TWU’s Community Covenant and will join in fulfilling its responsibilities while I am a member of the TWU community.