What rules does Westmont follow?
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Just as incoming Westmont students sign the Community Life Statement and adhere to the given guidelines, Westmont too is subject to required guidelines, given by the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities (CCCU).
The CCCU is a higher education association of 183 institutions that, according to their own website, has a mission to advance the cause of Christ-centered higher education and to help our institutions transform lives by faithfully relating scholarship and service to biblical truth.” Other institutions that are a part of the CCCU include Wheaton, Vanguard, Cal Baptist, Azusa Pacific, and Biola.
Being a part of the CCCU gives many benefits to Westmont and its students. As claimed by Azusa Pacific University on their website, being a CCCU member “provides peace of mind, nurtures top-tier Christian academics, offers Christ-centered off-campus adventures, and [results in] better outcomes.”
In order to reap these benefits though, members of the CCCU must align themselves with and accept specific criteria. It is through these criteria that Westmont’s membership with the CCCU impacts those who attend. As an institution, Westmont does not affiliate itself with a specific denomination. However, the CCCU is an Evangelical association, which presents itself in its guidelines and criteria, mission, and definitions of things like Christian formation, Biblical truth, gospel witness, etc. This can be seen as an explanation for why Westmont is an interdenominational, yet specified Evangelical institution.
In 2016, the CCCU changed their policy membership, allowing institutions to adhere with some guidelines but not others in exchange for voting rights within the association, according to World News Group. This change in policy came as a way for institutions that had previously forgone membership in order to hire staff members who were in a same-sex marriage to return as a collaborative partner. Westmont was a part of the 60 percent of the 183 institutions that agreed to all six of the CCCU’s given criteria to become a governing member.
The sixth of the CCCU’s criteria, Christian Distinctive & Advocacy, is the one that seems to draw the line between an institution staying a member or retreating to collaborative partner. This criteria regard how the CCCU’s institutions should respond to their “robust, necessary, and increasingly important advocacy role within the public square,” as described on their website. Their response contains fours beliefs that must be held by Westmont and any other institution wanting membership. These beliefs include: 1) that the Earth and the entire universe are God’s good creation. 2) that human beings, male and female, are created in the image of God to flourish in community, and, as to intimate sexual relations, they are intended for persons in a marriage between one man and one woman. 3) all human beings, without exception, are invested with inherent worth and dignity. 4) that the Gospel calls us toward reconciliation with one another.
These conditions laid out by the CCCU can be seen mirrored in Westmont’s community commitments—either in the Community Life Statement, the Foundations of Diversity, or a similar document.
While Westmont’s membership with the CCCU is not hidden from the public, many are unaware or uncertain about what the CCCU really does. Understanding the CCCU’s commitments and knowing where they stand can help others see plausible sources for Westmont’s guidelines and institutional makeup.