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Chapel change prompts tightened campus security

Indiana Wesleyan University’s switch to a unified chapel service affected more than just class schedules and the sense of spiritual oneness at the school; it affected how the university’s Campus Police Department does its job.

When Director of Campus Police Mario Rangel heard of IWU’s plan to combine the chapel services, he knew there had to be a change.

Photo by Becka Roth

Photo by Becka Roth

“It was common sense that we upped the security a little bit, when you have that many people congregated in one area,” Rangel said.

Last school year, there was only one Campus Police officer in each of the two services. Rangel said he now has two officers patrolling the service. There are also two student officers, both criminal justice majors, who assist the main officers. Two more officers watch over the area outside the Chapel Auditorium and the Barnes Student Center during the students’ exit from the service, which Rangel calls the “cattle drive.”

The chapel change also prompted Campus Police to tighten security at other campus functions. Now, Rangel said he has an officer at “all the events” on campus. These officers are prepared to react to a variety of crimes.

“When you look at how things have turned since Columbine and Virginia Tech [school shootings], it’s not just the active shooters anymore,” said Rangel. “I think if you’re planning for just one thing, you’re making a big mistake.”

Another potential change for Campus Police is the implementation of a program called IWU Safe Ride. In this program, student ticket writers will drive around in a van labeled “IWU Safe Ride” and pick up students at nighttime when they don’t feel comfortable walking back to their residence hall or wherever they are headed.

“Whether it’s eight, nine, 10 o’clock at night, students can call this criminal justice major, who has gone through background checks, and is out there writing tickets and patrolling the lots,” said Rangel.

The program is still in the works but could start next semester, Rangel said.

Rangel also stressed the importance of students taking responsibility for their own safety. He offered three tips for students to follow in order to stay safe.
The first tip is simple: just lock up your things.

“We’ve had about three or four cars at IWU with items stolen from them since the beginning of the semester,” Rangel said. “People are walking by and checking the door handles, and if your handle is the one that’s open, that makes it easier for the criminal.”

Rangel also said it’s never a good idea to walk or jog alone, even in the daytime. But if you do choose to go out by yourself, he said to be sure to notify someone else where you are going and approximately when you will get back.

The last suggestion Rangel had was to download the Circle of 6 application for smartphone or tablet. The app allows the user to select six people as emergency contacts and contact them quickly for a variety of circumstances.

“If you concentrate on those things, you’ve done me a huge favor,” Rangel said.

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IWU business helps prevent trafficking

Two summers ago, Brittany Hobson (sr) trained Indian women in jewelry and craft making through the Kolkata City Mission. This summer, she went back and brought home 600 pieces of jewelry, made by three women over the course of a year.

Hobson is now “testing the markets” at New Under the Son, the Barnes Student Center’s newest business, located next to Wildcutz. The business sells crafts from around the world, giving students hands-on business experience as well as supporting international artists.

One of Brittany Hobson's trainees shows her jewelry-making skills. She was one of three women who made the 600 crafts Hobson brought home.

One of Brittany Hobson’s trainees shows her jewelry-making skills. She was one of three women who made the 600 crafts Hobson brought home. // Photo provided by Brittany Hobson

“The ultimate objective is for us to be able to have goods in there that are helping people get out of human trafficking,” Dr. Harriet Rojas, Division of Business chair, said.

When Hobson returned to campus, some of her friends in Rojas’ small business management class told her about New Under the Son, initiating a partnership between them.

KCM, where Hobson worked, is a Christian organization that helps prevent Indian women from entering the sex trafficking industry. By selling the 600 pieces of jewelry Hobson received, she hopes to get the three artists working full-time in the jewelry business.

“They’re itching for more work, and they need more money,” Hobson said. “If [this partnership] continues, that would be awesome because then we know that we have constant money coming in.”

This is New Under the Son’s first year of operation, replacing The HUBexchange. It is a “completely different” type of store, Rojas said, partnering with other entities at Indiana Wesleyan University, like the Bastian Center for the Study of Human Trafficking.

New Under the Son collects most of its goods from students and faculty traveling abroad. In some cases, the business department supplies students with money to buy crafts and bring them back for the store.

It already features items from India, Nepal, Peru, Ecuador, Haiti, China, Kenya, Vietnam and Mexico.

“We have purposefully tried to buy things that are not high-end because we know that most of the student clientele would not be able to pay for those things,” Rojas said.

After paying the supplier for the goods, there is a “very, very minuscule” markup to cover business costs, Rojas said.

Student manager Kassie Watts (sr) said the goal now is to find more items that men would buy, since most of the crafts are jewelry.

Watts, a business administration major, gets practicum and internship credit for managing New Under the Son. The business’s staff consists of the 30 students in Rojas’ small business management class.

For these students, New Under the Son, as well as Wildcutz and IWU Mart, are lab experiences.

“Every entity on campus, every major, has some kind of a lab experience [where] they allow their students to have that practical work,” Rojas said. “That’s the same thing that we’re doing with the stores.”

Five businesses have operated in the location next to Wildcutz since it opened in 2006. The benefit of New Under the Son, Rojas said, is that with the word “new,” the products can adapt in years to come.

The businesses have done well in the past, Rojas said. They have even generated enough money to produce scholarships for business students for the first time this year.

According to Rojas, New Under the Son made $100 within the first week of sales.

“Obviously, we want [the students] to be successful,” Rojas said, “but … if perchance they happen to lose money one year, they’re not going to have to declare bankruptcy.”

Aside from teaching management and financial skills, these business “labs” teach students how they can be successful and still maintain their faith—a key concept in Rojas’ classes.

“You don’t have to wonder about whether or not your faith can be lived out,” Rojas said. “You can be called to be a business person, just like you can be called to anything else in terms of Christian service.”

Faith Neidig (alumna '14), back left, and Brittany Hobson, back right, pose with three of women they trained in jewelry-making. // Photo provided by Brittany Hobson

Faith Neidig (alumna ’14), back left, and Brittany Hobson, back right, pose with three of the women they trained in jewelry-making. // Photo provided by Brittany Hobson

New Under the Son serves as an example of integrating business and faith, Rojas said, since students run a business and support trafficking victims at the same time.

“[It’s] a God thing that we can all be connected,” Hobson said about business students and students traveling abroad partnering together. “All of our gifts are being used.”

Rojas hopes to post pictures and stories about the artists next to their items so that students know who they are helping when they buy something.

New Under the Son hopes to establish concrete hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Rojas encouraged students to contact her if they know of any international organizations who do similar work and could possibly partner with New Under the Son.

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Gungor goes on at IWU, despite near cancellation due to Biblical views

Controversy over the near cancellation of Christian music group Gungor has prompted Vice President Dr. Keith Newman to establish a new committee, which would decide whom Indiana Wesleyan University should host in future events.

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Michael Gungor’s blog post on his website: Gungormusic.com

Recently, lead singer Michael Gungor found himself in the middle of controversy with some blog posts expressing his belief that the early Genesis stories shouldn’t be taken literally. The Christian Post interpreted those posts as Gungor undermining God’s Word.

Many churches and organizations have refused to host Gungor as a result of these posts. IWU needed to make a decision whether it was going to allow them to come.

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Michael Gungor’s tweets reacting to what all of the articles were saying about his faith.

Q90 FM, a radio station in Wisconsin, pulled out of covering a concert on air because Gungor was scheduled to perform. According to the station, it “cannot support a concert venue by lending our name and giving free air time to promote such a blasphemous stumbling block to our young people.”

Peter Khosla, former IWU student body president, approached current Student Body President Tim Scurlock this summer about having Gungor perform at IWU, to which Scurlock immediately said yes. Khosla has been a music promoter and has ties with Gungor.

“I thought it would be a good idea because Gungor is super popular now,” Scurlock said. “There seems to be a genuine student interest there.”

Scurlock and other Student Government Association members continued to work out the logistics for hosting this event, such as lighting and location.

Director of Conference Services Keith Brakel suggested they get the approval from Dr. Jim Lo, dean of the chapel, to allow Gungor to perform at IWU.

When Lo reached out to faculty, staff and students, he received negative feedback because of the articles regarding Gungor’s blog. This led him to think maybe IWU should not host Gungor. Scurlock, who disagreed, contacted IWU President Dr. David Wright and Newman.

Articles that claim Gungor doesn’t believe in Scripture don’t understand “the broader and philosophical issue that Gungor is trying to address,” Scurlock said, which is that Scripture can be interpreted in different ways.

After Scurlock and the residential cabinet spoke with Wright and Newman, Newman made the final decision to allow Gungor to perform on campus. Newman thinks IWU can be more open to other theological interpretations.

Michael Gungor and his band performing at Indiana Wesleyan University Sept. 21.

Michael Gungor and his band performing at Indiana Wesleyan University Sept. 21. // Photo by Becka Roth

If people still criticize IWU’s decision to host Gungor, Lo now says they have the research to back up their thoughts on the situation.

“Christian colleges and universities need to be places where you can hear a dissenting voice or where you can hear somebody speak,” Newman said. “That may not be in complete harmony of what the Wesleyan church believes.”

Because of this situation, Newman plans to create a committee of about six to seven people that will examine “those rare occasions” when the school isn’t sure about hosting someone. The members and name of the committee have not yet been decided.

 Newman said he did not want people to look at Lo negatively because of his thoughts on this situation.

“Dr. Lo wasn’t blocking this. … I would hate for him to be characterized in this manner,” Newman said. “In the past we have asked Dr. Lo for an opinion because he is the dean of the chapel, and he is somebody we look to for direction and value his advice.”

“The whole description of my job is that I am kind of the theological gatekeeper for this campus,” Lo explained. “My job is to come along and raise concerns saying, ‘This is something you have to be concerned about,’ because if you invite [Gungor] on campus … you have to worry about what the constituency would say.”

Lo hopes that people do not think of him as a “mean ogre” because of his hesitation on this event.

Newman said he was the one who reviewed the articles Lo gave him and had a discussion with the residential cabinet.

“The truth is … if there are people to be upset, then I am the one to be upset at,” he said.

Newman is glad this happened because he thinks that, as a staff, it will be better at “figuring this stuff out in the future.”

“What Gungor did for us was help us realize that we have put the Dean of the Chapel in a really awkward position,” Newman explains. “Because if he becomes the one who says yes or no, he’s either got people that love him or he’s got people that hate him.”

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“The Guys” of Grant County honored

Thirteen years ago, journalist Anne Nelson, now teaching at Columbia University, sat down with a New York City fire captain to help him write the eulogies of eight firefighters who died in 9/11, according to an article on the Columbia News webpage.

After hearing their stories, Nelson was extremely moved. Just a few weeks later, on a chance meeting with Jim Simpson, artistic director of the Flea Theatre, Nelson proposed the idea of a play based on her experience with the fire captain.

Eight days later, she’d written her first play, and two days after that, Simpson had scheduled it to be performed. Simpson’s wife, actress Sigourney Weaver, expressed interest in performing it and asked her friend actor Bill Murray (yes, the Bill Murray) to play the other role. Within a week, meetings for rehearsal had begun, according to the Flea Theatre website.

On Sept. 25, the Indiana Wesleyan University Theatre Guild will put on a free performance of Nelson’s play, “The Guys,” for the firemen of Grant County to honor and thank them for their work, some of whom actually went out to New York to help during 9/11.  

The following day, Sept. 26, the play will be open to the public.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Joan, played by Ashley Nossett (sr), interviews fire captain Nick, played by Seth Lawrence (sr), about the men he lost on 9/11. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Director Sharla Ball (sr) chose the play for her senior project as “a chance to share a story that I knew most of the audience had been a part of, … and I knew everybody would remember it.” She described it as less of a historical play and more of “a memory play.”

With an uncle who was a career firefighter and a grandpa who was a volunteer firefighter, Ball is most excited for the performances for the fire station. They will also be touring the play, getting another chance on Oct. 10 to perform for Hendricks County fire departments.

The show was cast in May, with Ashley Nossett (sr) portraying Joan, based off Nelson herself, and Seth Lawrence (sr), portraying Nick, the fire captain. They also met with Fire Chief Paul David and Captain Paul Thompson in May in order to start communicating about the performance for the fire station.

To begin their research for the play, Ball and Nossett got the chance to go to New York City during May term and tour a fire department that was just a block away from Ground Zero, right across the street from the towers, and hear one of the fireman’s stories. They saw the plaques on the wall of the station for the men that died in 9/11. They also saw the 9/11 Memorial. They also got to see a show at the Flea Theatre, where “The Guys” was originally performed.

To prepare for the role as fire captain, Lawrence shadowed the firemen of Grant County for a day. Getting up at six in the morning to be at the fire station for roll call, he got to hang out with the firemen, hear their stories, see how the fire truck worked and understand what their daily routine was like. 

“After time, things become diluted,” Ball said. She hopes that the play will be a good way “to remember what it was like back when it happened.” 

“Most of our generation has been living in a society where we’ve been in war since then,” Ball said. “People don’t realize that we’re still living in this era where we’re not at peace.”

Ball said the play is a chance to see what the world was like before 2001, before 9/11 changed everything.

Doing the Tango. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Nick teaches Joan how to dance. Photo by Hannah Whelchel.

Thirteen years after 9/11, “The Guys” has touched people in multiple ways.

Nelson referred to a Cambodian student who once spoke to her of the performance. The student said, “I just lost my best friend to cancer. This play is about me.”

“Some take it very literally,” Nelson said, “as a piece of history; some take it as a piece about mourning; some about finding friendship. I think where a person is at in life affects how they hear it.”

At the beginning of the play, Joan delivers a monologue about how different people have different degrees of distance from an event, like the ripples of being affected. 

“Everyone’s trying to find their own relationship to the event,” Nelson said.

The play will run Sept. 26-27 and Oct. 3-4 at 7:30 p.m. Saturdays will also have a 2 p.m. matinee. Tickets are $7 for students, $10 for IWU employees and $12 for adults, according to the IWU Theatre Guild website.

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