Posted on 29 March 2012.
Campus Police removed a male student from the Chapel Auditorium on Indiana Wesleyan University’s Marion campus March 28, after he attended a chapel designated for women only.
Male and female students met separately for chapel services, and in the 10 a.m. service, Matt McAndrews (so) entered the service reserved for female students. McAndrews, coming from Center Hall, said he didn’t want to walk across campus to attend the male chapel.
Witnesses reported that chapel staff first asked McAndrews to leave before Campus Police was called to have an officer escort him out of the auditorium.
“There was a chapel attendant standing behind him, and I think that she asked him to leave because it’s obviously their job to not let guys in,” said Bethany Livengood (so). “But he wasn’t leaving.”
According to McAndrews, after a student chapel scanner told him he was not permitted to attend this chapel service, Cindy Ruder, assistant to the dean of the chapel, approached him and asked him to leave.
“And I said, ‘No thanks. I’d rather stay,’” said McAndrews Wednesday evening.
“Eventually one of the Campus Police officers showed up, and he asked me to leave, and I told him the same thing: ‘No thanks. I’d rather stay,’” said McAndrews.
Other students in the women’s chapel service said the interaction between McAndrews and university personnel lasted 8-10 minutes.
“The guy wouldn’t get up, so the security guard picked his book bag up,” said Emily Wyse (sr). “The guy pulled it back down, and so the security guard grabbed his arm and pulled the guy up.”
“I heard a one-word grunt. I looked back and he was out of his chair, being escorted by his arm,” said Julie Sanders (so). “And the police officer was basically pushing him out of the auditorium.”
Mario Rangel, Campus Police coordinator at IWU, confirmed that Campus Police responded to the incident and said that no laws were violated, citing the issue as a matter not of law enforcement but of student discipline.
McAndrews said he was taken to the lobby by Campus Police, where he was met by Ruder and other administrators.
“The cop put me up against the desk and had me, like, spread them and frisked me and found my ID and wrote down my name and number, and then the dean of student conduct wrote down my name and number as well,” said McAndrews.
Andrew Parker, dean of student conduct at IWU, said he and Michael Moffitt, vice president of student development, were also called to the chapel.
“From what I understand, the chapel staff directed the individual to leave multiple times,” said Parker. “That was refused. They called Campus Police. Campus Police directed the individual to remove themselves voluntarily, still refused. That was when my office was called.”
According to Parker, no action was taken by officers to remove the student until after he arrived.
“Prior to me coming, I don’t think any force other than words were used,” said Parker. “When I got there, that was when I witnessed the only force that was used.”
Parker explained that the student was in violation of the student code of conduct, according to the IWU student handbook.
“Any time a student fails to comply with a reasonable request of an institutional staff or faculty member, they would be in violation of one of our community standards, which is compliance with university personnel and policies,” said Parker.
The student’s refusal to comply with the guidelines established by the Dean of the Chapel’s Office falls under that rule, according to Parker.
Ruder declined to comment on the situation but did say Dr. Jim Lo, dean of the chapel. was behind the decision to hold separate chapel services for the sexes. Ruder also said the request for the student to remove himself was a reasonable request, as was the request via email for male students to report to an alternate chapel venue.
Parker said no disciplinary decisions have been made. McAndrews said he is currently waiting for Parker to set up a meeting to discuss the incident further.