A recent conversation about Liberty University in Virginia, USA made me realise just how liberal some of the universities in the UK are. I’m going to use this post as a way of comparing them.
In short, Bradford doesn’t really have one. Obviously you’d be expected to dress up for graduation but while on campus there’s nothing to stop you from wearing pretty much what you like. Liberty, on the other hand, has separate codes for men and . Women, for example, are not permitted to have any body piercings and must not show midriffs or anything revealing, and men cannot have hair that may cover the ears, collar or eyebrows at any time.
Halls of residence
Bradford has mixed halls, Liberty does not. In fact, should any member of the opposite sex be found in one of its single-sex halls, they will be reprimanded. Liberty also requires that all students under the age of 21 stay in halls; however, any students that are married must not stay in halls. In Bradford, the majority of students do not stay in halls; many are local or mature students who commute. While a considerable number of first-year students go into halls, most will move into a student house for their suceeding years.
Liberty students are banned from consuming alcohol. In fact, even merely associating with people who drink is worthy of a $250 fine and 18 hours of disciplinary community service. Students can also be fined $25 for ‘attendance at a dance’. In Bradford, we have four alcohol-serving bars on campus, some of which are open until 2am.
This might have more to do with alcohol consumption being illegal to under-21s in various places in the US, whereas the age in the UK is 18 which is the age that most students start university.
Liberty also prohibits smoking and gambling – Bradford permits smoking outside and in its bars, and has fruit machines in the bars. However, Bradford and Liberty both frown on the consumption of illegal substances like drugs.
Relationships and Personal Issues
Bradford doesn’t really care what happens with students’ personal lives, although counselling and advice is available. Liberty, despite their name, do not give students many liberties with their personal lives. Should a student be involved in satanic activity, get an abortion, spend a night with a member of the opposite sex (presumably in halls of residence) or commit ‘immorality’, they face a $500 fine, 30 hours of service and possible expulsion. Which, incidentally, is higher than the reprimands for racial and sexual harrassment. ‘Improper personal contact’, which is anything beyond hand-holding, watching a film rated either ‘R’, ‘NC-17’ or ‘X’ and being in possesion of tobacco can also lead to reprimands.
In halls at Bradford, you can play pretty much whatever you like as long as it isn’t too loud and you keep quiet between 11pm and 8am to let people sleep. In Liberty, you also cannot play anything offensive, or that is anti-Christian.
This is probably just scratching the surface. Evidently, British universities have far more liberal attitudes towards their students than some American establishments. What makes it all the more interesting is that some of the most liberal people I know at Bradford are also very commited Christians, and who would be shocked by the lack of liberty you get at Liberty.