I can see the back door of Tennessee Temple University from my front porch. This month the university began installing a ginormous fence around the entire campus. I’ve >written about fences< before (a lifetime and a whole different girl ago) and the message they can sometimes send. I’ve been looking through my internet, but all I can find is this one >very tiny mention< of the project on the TTU website. A few ironies I’d like to point out:
1. Tennessee Temple’s tagline is “Training to Transform.” I get it, I get it. But I just can’t help but wonder how this fence plays into the scheme on a symbolic level. I imagine in such training sessions, the real-world simulations might not include an 8-foot tall metal fence topped with spikes, and I fear its presence will overall negatively affect students’ possible effectiveness in post-graduation transforming missions when there is no literal fence to protect them. Also, it’s gonna be hard to “think outside the box” when you’ve been trained in one. I could go all day on the symbolism of this thing.
2. This official press release is titled “TTU Committed to Highland Park.” Honestly, I’ve not been around too long, but I get the impression that when you build big fences, it’s a way of either trying to keep something OUT, or a way of keeping something IN. I’m not certain which of those is the goal here, as our neighborhood is riddled with crime and Temple does have a history of psychotic control over its students. So maybe both. Either way, the message I am getting from this fence is anything but a commitment to the neighborhood. I see this as more of an insulation from the neighborhood.
3. Nowhere in this press release does it mention how said gargantuan fence will affect the drug traffic for current students. Additionally, what will become of campus safety, creatively named “Eagle Force One”?
OK, so in complete fairness I have not talked about the fence with anyone from TTU except our neighbor, and I doubt the powers-that-be discuss their campus decisions with the groundskeeper. His overall impression, however, is that TTU is attempting to boost enrollment by showing students and their parents just how safe campus is. It is in this light that I propose that Tennessee Temple University should come up with a new tagline. Something catchy, with as much alliteration as “Training to Transform,” that can more accurately reflect the mission–and snazzy new look–of the school. This week, as those construction workers and their giant cement mixer inch their way closer to my home, I’ve been working on my list of possible taglines, and I’d like to share it now.
1. Enclosure of Evangelicalism
2. Stronghold (poss. Stockade) against Secularism
3. Penitentiary for Punitive Christianity
4. Compound of Conservatism
5. Fortress of Fundamentalism
6. Bastion of Baptists who don’t wear pants
That last one’s a little iffy. They’ve since changed the laws around campus, so you see girls in those awful short pants all the time. But, since it’s part of their history, I thought it’d be a nice throwback. If they don’t like it I could always change it to Bastion of Biblical Literalism.
Gosh, I just re-read that, and I sound kind of cranky. But I’m not! I definitely giggled my way through writing all of that. (Honestly, my real concerns are only two-fold: dammit, now I’m gonna have to drive an extra block around this nonsense to the Post Office, and this better not affect my property value.)