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Wheaton College lifts its ban on dancing

WHEATON, Ill. (AP) — Wheaton College, a Christian evangelical school, has lifted its rules against on-campus dancing and has decided to allow faculty and staff to drink alcohol and smoke off campus.

No liquor or tobacco will be allowed on Wheaton property and at college events, and undergraduates remain barred from drinking. However, students can have on-campus dances if they avoid behavior "which may be immodest, sinfully erotic or harmfully violent."

Only square dancing had been allowed before the college released the new policy last week in a document called "Community Covenant."

In his statement announcing the changes, President Duane Litfin explained that the policy hadn't been revised for three decades and needed a review in light of cultural changes on Christian campuses and new laws.

He noted that a 1991 Illinois statute bars employers from discriminating against a worker because of use of lawful products, such as alcohol, outside of the workplace.

A subcommittee of the board of trustees decided to relax the rules after a year of study.

Faculty, staff and graduate students have been directed to use "careful and loving discretion in any use of alcohol" and refrain from drinking in front of undergraduates.

The school of 2,800 students, which counts the Rev. Billy Graham among its alumni, was not expecting a rush of partying.

"There are certain students who will abuse this privilege and go to a club in Chicago and use forms of dancing that aren't necessarily uplifting," said Tanya Oxley, vice president of the student body. "But the majority of people on campus won't be those kind of people. This campus is full of people with a lot of morals and ethics and integrity."