Staff Editorial: disrespectful behavior at conferences must stop

Students need to remember that they are representing Biola to visiting conference speakers and should check their behavior.

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John Buchanan

During Wednesday night’s session, called “The Door to Whosoever,” Mark Batterson teaches out of Acts 10. | John Buchanan/THE CHIMES

Chimes Staff, Writer

During the Wednesday night session of Torrey Conference, Mark Batterson teaches out of Acts 10. | John Buchanan/THE CHIMES


Sitting in Mark Batterson’s afternoon session of Torrey Conference in the gymnasium, one could hear obnoxious calling out and giggling from the bleachers. As 18- to 22-year-old college students, do we need to be told to respect speakers who come here to pour into our lives? Have we really gotten to a point where we think it is funny to be disrespectful? That is at the junior high level at best. Even a 13-year-old boy present at the session questioned the behavior of in the audience.

For those of you who read the staff editorial, yes, we are covering this issue again. We had hoped since last year’s conference, students would have learned from their past mistakes and grown up enough to address school visitors with the dignity they deserve. And yes, they deserve our grace and respect simply because they are visiting our school.

Drawing attention to oneself

Our expectation was presumptuous. People still have a sinful desire to draw attention to themselves or to selfishly hold what they feel benefits them over what benefits the rest of the community.

We’ve always been told that it’s what we do when someone is out of the room, not when we’re face-to-face, that matters. Integrity, we are told, is what we do when no one is watching  — or at least not the person we really want to talk about. Go to Twitter and look at the hashtag Torrey2012. Recall conversations you have had or overheard about the speakers. Then ask: What would life be like if we judged everyone the way we judge conference speakers? Or, perhaps, do we already do that?

No sense in our sense of entitlement 

True, conference speakers may not be everything you want in an orator and more, but how will leaving early, tweeting sassy comments and harshly declaring your dislike for them make anything better? We have a sense of entitlement to say whatever we want without the fear of consequence.

When this self-centeredness exists in a large concentration of students, it is toxic. When enough individuals make unnecessarily negative comments, the tone of the conference turns sour. When enough sarcastic tweets are sent out, social media regarding the conference is filled with disapproval. Speakers see our social media and hear our comments. They listen when one student yells out an unfriendly comment in the middle of their talk. And they definitely notice when floods of students leave before their message is over. This not only represents Biola poorly to the speaker; it treats them like a product only sent to please us rather than God’s mouthpiece who was called to give us a message.

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