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University threatens to discipline students who work or eat at Hooters

Won’t even rule out expulsion

It’s an affront to feminism! Or … Jesus?

Abilene Christian University issued a veiled threat to students who are considering applying for work – or just eating – at a Hooters location opening next week, according to KTXS.

The message from the Churches of Christ-affiliated school seems to be that it will find out if students go to this den of sin a stone’s throw down the road, so get ready for the worst possible outcome:

[I]n a written statement to KTXS, a spokesperson said “we have asked students to consider both what Hooters represents and whether that is something they really want to support in terms of both their faith and the value this business model places on women.”

KTXS asked the spokesperson if a student could be expelled if they choose to work at Hooters. We also asked if a male student would face discipline if they chose to eat, drink beer or watch a game at Hooters.

“All situations would be handled case-by-case. That’s the information I have for now,” the spokesperson said.

Abilene Christian cites its university handbook as the grounding for its warning to students. Like those at many evangelical institutions, this handbook gives it broad leeway to punish students who don’t “make decisions that ultimately glorify God,” subject to the whims of administrators.

Its spokesperson confirms just how subjective this standard is, telling KTXS that students will be called to account for their employment and dining habits if “the university felt they were not upholding the standards in the handbook.”

Abilene Christian’s cheerleaders show plenty of skin, including several inches above the knee, for the visual gratification of fans. The main difference between their outfit and Hooters’ is the neckline is a couple inches higher on the former, though even Hooters’ uniforms show minimal cleavage.

MORE: Churches of Christ college removes Christopher Columbus statue

The school has good reason to fear this new location could tempt its students:

In a promotional video about Hooters Girls, which the chain refers to as American icons, one girl says “we have a really flexible schedule if you are in school.”

The video also touts that they offer tuition assistance [$3.1 million so far].

“I love that my management works around my school schedule. Being able to come in to work every day and not stress about a test …. is a really great thing,” another Hooters Girl said.

KTXS is actually following up on month-old reporting by ACU’s student newspaper The Optimist, which claims without attribution that Hooters is “known for sexualizing its servers.”

The story appears to be little more than proactive propaganda for the administration. The Optimist says it asked the administration for comment on the new Hooters, with no indication that the university expressed any view before The Optimist asked.

The newspaper informs its student readers that they agreed to the unbounded discretion of administrators over all parts of their lives – backed by Vice President for Student Life Chris Riley’s guilt-trip language “followers of Jesus” – when they enrolled at ACU.

MORE: Abilene Christian gives thumbs-up to president divorcing his wife

Riley says the school’s view is backed up by a 2004 federal court decision from Orlando that found “the Hooters Girl’s predominant function is to provide vicarious sexual recreation.”

Hooters had filed a lawsuit against another restaurant chain alleging that it infringed Hooters’ “trade dress,” a form of intellectual property:

[W]ithout the Hooters Girl, there would be no Hooters. And what distinguishes the Hooters Girl from other sports bar and grill servers is her distinctive uniform, consisting of a white tank top shirt prominently featuring the Hooters name and “owl” logo across her chest, and orange nylon running shorts.

But these servers are “primarily functional,” so their uniforms can’t be legally protected:

Rather, Hooters has admitted that the Hooters Girl’s predominant function is to provide vicarious sexual recreation, to titillate, entice, and arouse male customers’ fantasies [no citation given]. …

Even if the Hooters Girl were not primarily functional, her status as trade dress derives
from her distinctive orange and white uniform. Hooters simply cannot prevent a competitor from using a server outfit as different as a black tank top and black running shorts.

It appears The Optimist reprinted this strange justification by the administration – one out-of-state, out-of-circuit court ruling about the reach of Hooters’ intellectual property – to counter the city’s justification for giving the restaurant a permit, which is that its servers are “fully clothed.”

No matter for VP Riley, who claims that by working at Hooters, students affirm the chain’s employees are “products” rather than people.

You could make the same claim about Abilene Christian, which sees its students as revenue-generating products with no agency of their own.

Read the KTXS story and Optimist report.

MORE: Abilene Christian has one of the highest average debt loads

h/t Inside Higher Ed

IMAGE: fitzcrittle/Shutterstock

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About the Author
Associate Editor
Greg spent several years as a technology policy reporter and editor for Warren Communications News in Washington, D.C., and guest host on C-SPAN’s “The Communicators.” Previously he led media and public relations at Seattle’s Discovery Institute, a free-market think tank. Greg is developing a Web series about a college newspaper, COPY, whose pilot episode was a semifinalist in the TV category for the Scriptapalooza competition in 2012. He graduated in 2001 with a B.A. from Seattle Pacific University, where he co-founded the alternative newspaper PUNCH and served as a reporter, editor and columnist for The Falcon.

Add to the Discussion

  • David Clark

    Jesus would have been excoriated by these hypocrites for talking to the woman at the well, standing up for the woman about to be stoned for adultery, inviting tax collectors to dine with him, etc. In fact, I’ll bet they would want to crucify him.

    • WM1

      Clearly, you don’t know Jesus! Neither do you understand the meaning of the word ‘hypocrite.’

      Where, in this article, is there the slightest suggestion that those who issued this directive frequent this establishment? Nowhere.

      A ‘little bit of Bible knowledge’ as it relates to you and your post ‘can be a very dangerous thing.’

      Nowhere (and I repeat nowhere) nor at any time did Jesus ever promote, suggest or even infer that sin (especially sexual sin such as lust) be committed by anyone!

      Should you suggest otherwise, identify the scripture.

      His presence, among sinners, was to compassionately call them to repentance not participation!

      • Ephraiyim

        “Nowhere (and I repeat nowhere) nor at any time did Jesus ever promote, suggest or even infer that sin (especially sexual sin such as lust) be committed by anyone!”

        Agreed but he was called, by the religious establishment, a friend of sinners and a wine bibber. Many scholars believe that that accusation implies that Jesus hung out in the places those who were sinners and wine bibbers did. Thus the accusation.
        My question is, if an institution, by it’s stated beliefs is about spreading the gospel of Jesus why would they forbid their students from going to such places?
        Perhaps they could state that a student by themselves should not but if two or more went that certainly could provide accountability.
        BTW one does not need to go to such establishments to lust. It is more than obvious through the revelation of sexual sin exposed among Christian leaders in recent yrs that lust happens even in the supposed “safe” environment of church.
        We do not need to teach young people how to avoid temptation. What the church needs is to encourage a love relationship of purity with the Father through Jesus by the Holy Spirit.
        If I am so in love with him that nothing else matters to me temptation will not be a problem.
        Keeping our eyes on Jesus the author and finisher of our faith is the only solution for sin, not man made law.
        Oh foolish Galatians…

        • WM1

          Jesus was, indeed, ‘smeared’ with the label because He was (and is) the ‘friend of sinners.’ Otherwise, no one would be saved.

          God in human flesh (Jesus) was able to congregate with sinners continually without being spiritually-weakened, compromised, defiled or led astray.

          And, again, His presence among sinners was for the purpose of calling them to repentance. Not to sanction nor make them comfortable in their sins.

          Since this university is not only about ‘spreading the gospel’ but nurturing young souls to serve in the Kingdom, teaching them them to avoid ‘even the appearance of evil’ and to ‘flee fornication’ as well as ‘guard against anything that defiles’ theirs is a noble and laudable demand (particularly in an age of loose morals).

          Each student read and agreed to abide by strict codes of moral conduct based upon biblical commands upon enrollment. So any discussion that you, I or anyone else might engage in regarding what they should, or should not, do in that regard is irrelevant.

          ‘We do not need to teach young people how to avoid temptation.’ Really?
          In what universe?

          In this universe, 1 John 2: 15-16 says otherwise. There is constant conflict between our old and new nature (if we are saved).

          While keeping our eyes upon Christ is, indeed, the best advice you gave to avoid yielding to temptation, I’ve offered several other biblical admonitions for your consideration as well.

          Perhaps most Christians are not nearly as spiritually-strong, mature or ‘holy’ as you are-to the extent they are immune to temptation. But I remember how my hormones were jumping around when I was in college-and I only wish I was held accountable for my conduct as these students are!

          Besides, the rest of us battle temptation of all sorts and kinds daily.

          The fact that some preachers/pastors fail and fall is all the more reason why teenage and young adult college students should heed the wise counsel of Scripture as well as the high standard of responsible schools such as this one: Commendable in that they require holy living among their attendees which is so rare these days.

          Temptation is always a problem for everyone (except, perhaps, yourself).

          But for the rest, who know Christ, here are just a few scriptures that are crystal clear about the subject: 1 Corinthians 6: 9-11, 18-20, Colossians 3: 1-7, Ephesians 5: 5-21, 1 Thessalonians 4: 1-8 and James 4: 7-8

          God bless.

  • T100C1970

    They are a private school. They can do what they want and that includes tell students to stay out of brothels, mosques, strip clubs, and, yes, stay out of Hooters. And yes its fine with me if Oberlin tells its students that they can’t join the NRA (of which I’m a Benefactor level Life Member). If you don’t like their stupid rules don’t pay money to go there!

    • Jamie Wilson

      What a pointless comment. The author in no way suggested that ACU didn’t have the right to impose the rule about Hooters. The issue is whether the “stupid rule” is right. Also, it should be noted that even a private, religious college is bound by contract law, and that includes a duty of good faith. If it arbitrarily or vindictively applied its standards of conduct to deprive a student of the benefits for which he paid, it might well be unlawful.

      • T100C1970

        I believe in FREEDOM. Consequently I refrain from judging whether or not a rule that I perceive to by “stupid” is “right”. And in the infamous words of GWB who is the “decider” when it comes to what is “right”

        I do agree that the rule if applied to students who enrolled before the rule was established could be challenged in the legal system, though even that can be a slippery slope.

        For example if the U. of Mohammed in Dearborn, MI, declares that students shall not patronize nor work at places where women are immodestly dressed , that surely includes strip clubs, probably includes Hooters, and might well include Pizza Hut.

        Consequently it would probably be argued in court that the ACU “rule” was merely a clarification of general standards regarding what the college considered moral behavior. The Hooters rule would be particulary hard to attack if students who accepted admittance signed an agreement that they would “agree to abiide by conduct standards the details of which may change during your enrollment”.

    • Juana

      Goo-g-le is p-a-ying $97 per hour,w-i-th weekly pay-o-uts.Y-o-u can also avail t-h-is.
      O-n tuesday I got a brand new Land R-o-ver Range Rover from having earned $11752 this last four weeks..w-i-th-out any do-u-bt it’s the most-comfortable job I have ever done .. It s-o-unds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t c-h-eck it
      >>>> http://GoogleBoxFinanceReportsOnline/online/easytasks ♥♥♥Z♥♥♥I♥♥♥I♥♥♥C♥♥♥S♥♥♥P♥♥♥U♥♥♥I♥♥♥U♥♥♥F♥♥♥F♥♥♥P♥♥♥M♥♥♥P♥♥♥F♥♥♥O♥♥♥X:::::!gc158lhuhu

  • Chilly8

    They could still find out if you ate or worked there, by hacking into the right databases.

    The database backend is the most vulnerable part of the system because it has to be exposed to the Internet, so the programs that need it to run access it.

    Also, network databases, like Oracle and MySQL, do not any logging, so someone could snoop around in there and not be detected

    So ACU could break in to the corporate database of Hooters, and see if any of their students work there, and the network admins at Hooters will never know they were there.

  • Loogie7

    Abilene Christian University = lactose intolerant (hehehe)…

  • Strider73

    Just gotta re-post what someone else blogged on this subject:

    ACU prohibits students from having sex standing up: it might lead to dancing.

  • Generic Avatar

    I’m surprised ‘Progressive’ college campuses haven’t already used this tactic against students eating or working at Chick-fil-A.

  • Plowboy87

    A few years ago I bought a six pack of beer in a town that recently went “wet”, as I stood in line an older fellow behind me said “I never thought I would see beer sold here even though I know the Jews do not recognize Jesus as the son of God, the Baptists do not recognise the Pope as the head of the church, and those Church of Christ folks do not recognize each other in the liquor store.”

  • Will

    Nanny state garbage from the sex hating feminists.