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A tricky holiday

“As a Christian community, IWU is careful not to celebrate the pagan holiday called Halloween, with its emphasis on the occult, witches, the dead, ghosts, and rituals. For this reason students should avoid dressing in costumes or otherwise promoting Halloween during this time of year. Therefore, any event or activity on or near Halloween which may include costumes must be approved by Student Development in advance of the promotion and marketing of the event.”

This is Indiana Wesleyan University’s policy on Halloween as it appears in the Student Handbook. Any student who lives on campus, however, knows the rule is not so black and white. In the past, there has been some amount of freedom granted when it comes to this policy.

It is not uncommon to see students in costume around this time of year. Many decorate their dorm rooms and even McConn workers wear the occasional fairy wings and tiara as they work.

“In my opinion, the university has gone with the spirit of the law, rather than the letter,” said Vice President for Student Development Andrew Parker. “I think it’s important to remember the university is more looking at what’s the intent, what is it promoting, things like that.”

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McConn workers dressed up every day the week of Halloween despite the holiday’s controversial origins. Photo courtesy of Hannah Whelchel.

Parker said the policy is about not promoting things that go against the values of IWU, no matter what time of the year, but especially around Halloween because of its association with the occult.

“However, I don’t think the university has cracked down on that if a student is dressed up as a cowboy going to class,” Parker said. “I would hesitate to say it’s a hard-fast stance against costumes. That’s why the university allows for that [permission from student development] exception.”

When students tried to have a Halloween party in their town house in October 2012, Parker said Student Development was willing to work with them, as long as the kinds of costumes were monitored and the name “Halloween” was kept out of it.

The party did not happen, but this was because of policies besides the Halloween one.

Associate Vice President for Residence Life Bronson Pasko said that within ResLife, they try to use the university policy as the standard, but policies like this “will always be open to some interpretation.”

“Sometimes it can be hard. … This year half of our resident directors are new,” said Pasko in reference to informing new Resident Directors about all of the policies and expectations of the school.

He said ResLife tries to be consistent, but sometimes policies are treated differently in different dorms. These issues are dealt with as they come up.

“I would prefer to have something that allows us some space to have some discretion rather than something that has every single … [little] item that is allowed and isn’t,” said Pasko.

According to Parker, this is not a policy that has come up much in the past, and Student Development has not received many complaints from students. If students want to initiate conversations about the policy, Parker said he would be open to discuss it.

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Ebola: Take a chill pill

There is one topic everyone is talking about since the beginning of the school year: Ebola. It seems to be what anyone is talking about now: on the news, in the classroom, with friends at lunch. But what exactly is it and what should you know?

 First identified in 1976 in Africa, Ebola hemorrhagic fever is a disease caused by one of five different Ebola viruses. Four of the strains can cause severe illness in humans and animals while the fifth causes illness in some animals but not humans, according to a CNN article.

The disease first came to the United States in September from a man who traveled from Liberia to Dallas, TX. He is the only man who has died in the U.S. from that disease.

 Symptoms of Ebola include fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain and unexplained hemorrhage. The disease can appear anywhere from two to 21 days after exposure. It spreads through direct contact with blood or body fluids, objects such as needles and syringes and infected apes and monkeys, according to the CDC.

World Ebola Map

The areas shaded in orange represent the countries with confirmed Ebola cases. Graphic courtesy of Kelly Reed.

 If students worry about contracting Ebola, keep in mind: only one person has died from this disease in the U.S., as opposed to a yearly average of 23,607 deaths from 1976-2007 of influenza.

An article on Vox.com says the only way to get the disease is if one touches the saliva, blood, urine or feces of someone who has the disease.

 “The risk of Ebola to students at IWU is so close to zero, I would say it is zero,” Dr. Philip Renfroe, assistant professor of health sciences and physician at the health center, said.

 “Don’t panic,” Denise Brehmer, assistant professor of nursing, said. “If anyone is exhibiting what they think might be [Ebola], they need to go get checked out further.”

 Though it’s rare students will contract Ebola, they can use this as a reminder to stay healthy so they don’t contract other sicknesses that are more common this upcoming winter.

 “One basic rule … if you have a fever, stay [in your dorm room],” Renfroe said. “Don’t [go out] for the sake of other students. [You] should seek medical attention.”

 Renfroe challenged students not to fear this outbreak but to pray for the ones who are sick.

 “I think because of IWU’s unique commitment to being a faith-based community, this is an opportunity for us to engage in significant prayer,” Renfroe said. “We can read in the Bible when there have been times where plagues have struck humanity. In the midst of those plagues, its been the role of the church to be the means of providing compassionate humanitarian care.”

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IWU Students for Life: A big beginning and continuing

In its third year as a group, and under the direction of President Jessie Moore (jr) and Resource Coordinator Rachel Eldridge (sr), Indiana Wesleyan University Students for Life has made its presence known.

From the Oct. 2 National Pro-Life Chalk Day to the Oct. 21 National Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity, the group has worked to bring awareness to campus. Their next event will be a Pro-Life Apologetics Workshop 7-8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, in the Piazza Terrace.

 The Pro-Life Apologetics Workshop will feature R.J. McVeigh, Students for Life of America Great Lakes Regional Coordinator. According to the Facebook event page, McVeigh will be presenting a workshop on how to be an ambassador for the pro-life view, teaching how to respond to the hard questions about abortion and how to correctly articulate the pro-life stance.

 In November, the group will host an Adoption Awareness Panel. The panel includes faculty and staff who have adopted, are adopted or are connected in some way to adoption, as well as a pregnancy counselor from Bethany Christian Services.

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Jessie Moore (jr) participates in National Pro-Life Chalk Day. Courtesy Photo.

In the spring semester, Students for Life will attend the Jan. 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C.  Also on this trip, they will attend the Jan. 23 Students for Life of America East Coast National Conference, the largest pro-life college conference in the world, according to the Students for Life of America website. Though the group has been to the March for Life the past two years, this is the first year they’ll be attending the Conference.

 The group started out the year with a bang, with the Oct. 2 National Pro-Life Chalk Day. Getting their chalking done earlier, on the evening of Sept. 28, the group embraced the recommendation on the National Pro-Life Chalk Day website to “Draw [3,300] baby feet or hearts and chalk ‘Abortion Stops [3,300] Hearts Every Day.’”

In addition, they put their group’s name, their Facebook link, their Twitter handle and the Pregnancy Help Center’s number. They also put “Adoption is the loving option.”

 This is the first year the group has been approved to participate in the National Pro-Life Chalk Day. In previous years, the administration had not answered their request to participate, according to Moore and Eldridge.

 However, the group did not expect some students’ harsh reactions:

 Josh Ormord (fr) said in a Facebook status, “Why? Why do we feel the need to emotionally guilt people into doing ‘the right thing’ instead of just spreading love and kindness[?] I mean if I had the choice, I would not choose abortion, but at the same time I understand why girls would. And honestly, it’s their choice. And it can be very difficult and cause a lot of emotional damage, so when they see things like that, it just brings back all of the hurt and pain. Instead of telling people what they’re doing wrong, let’s start telling them what they’re doing right and loving them despite their choices.”

 “I felt like it ostracizes the three percent of campus who is pro-choice,” Vinny Kurtz (so) said.

 “I felt that it was unnecessary,” Chelsea Philips (so) said.

 Moore and Eldridge said their intentions were not to offend people.

“I don’t know how to say anything to them to un-offend them, I guess,” Moore said, “because everything [written in chalk] was a fact.”

 “We weren’t trying to call people out,” Eldridge said.

 “Our overall stance as a group, I know, is that we believe that abortion is forgivable,” Moore said. “God redeems all kinds of situations, and He does redeem that. … We don’t ever look at someone who has had an abortion as a murderer or as someone to be looked down upon, and I personally don’t think it came off in our chalk drawing that that’s what we stood for.”

 “I would say, to people who were disturbed … and they were offended by that, and I would say, that’s good that you were offended by that because it is offensive and it is disturbing that abortion is stopping that many hearts every day,” Eldridge said, “and I think that when you are disturbed by that, it’s a time to look by and say, ‘Hey, why am I disturbed?’ I’m disturbed because this injustice is happening, not because they drew these hearts. … Abortion is offensive, and we just want to make sure that the messengers, like us, and the way that we’re delivering are messages, are coming from a position of grace and love.”

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Students react in different ways to a “free speech board” placed in the mallway by Students for Life. Photo courtesy of Navar Watson.

 Next semester, the group hopes to create a “Cemetery of the Innocents Display,” Moore said in an email.

According to the Students for Life of America website, this is a cemetery-like composition of small crosses, tombstones, flags or baby shoes on a lawn somewhere on campus, representing the number of babies killed by abortion each day.

 “I just want to reiterate that we are a peaceful, non-violent group, and we seek to share the truth in a graceful and loving way, and I hope that people would think that we are approachable and that if they do want to talk about something, that they can come to us and they can talk about, whether you are pro-choice or pro-life or you don’t know what you are. I hope that they would be able to feel comfortable enough to do that, to receive answers that they might be looking for,” Moore said. “I don’t know all the answers, but I can point you to someone who does.”

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Diversity mapping

Story by Kayla Thomas, Staff Writer

Indiana Wesleyan University has entered its second phase of Diversity Mapping, a series of steps intended to help increase the school’s level of diversity.

Halualani and Associates (H&A), known as diversity and inclusion associates, is joining forces with the school to analyze and study the diversity present throughout campus.

The Diversity Mapping process began in August when Rona Halualani, managing principal and founder, met with President David Wright and Diane McDaniel, vice president of multicultural enrichment and employee development, to discuss the six month process.

H&A began by web scraping everything IWU has done in regards to diversity in the past four years, which gathers 80 percent of the information needed to complete the mapping. Once H&A conducts Internet research, it will begin constructing diversity maps that represent all of the diversity attempts IWU has conducted, as well as the places IWU fall short.

“We don’t come with a predefined definition of what each campus’ diversity should look like,” Halualani said.  “We focus on how you already use diversity and then help you maximize your potential.”

The diversity maps are used to create a baseline, which H&A will bring back to the university in February to show how, when, and where diversity expansion efforts were made. Many see diversity as just differences in ethnicity, but H&A wants to expand that definition.

“Diversity is a broad term. It includes race, ethnicity, gender, disabilities, age, religion, worldviews, nationalities, regional origin, education level and even military status,” Halualani says. “Everyone is different, and differences are beautiful; this process helps unify those differences.”

The diversity maps include 25 analytical layers based on events, courses offered, programs, division-sponsored organizations and extracurricular activities.

One of the major goals of this process is to begin incorporating diversity in the curriculum as well as in out of class activities. H&A focuses on how many university efforts are program-driven versus university-wide. Program-driven efforts are efforts put on by a specific division, usually headed by a single person or a small group of people.

The problem with these types of efforts is if jobs are reassigned or the stress becomes too great, the diversity effort will weaken, according to Halualani. University-wide efforts become the responsibility of the entire campus, making their success rate much higher than program-driven diversity efforts.

“We want Diversity Mapping to be a process that triggers meaningful change for this campus. We want this to help lead to action,” Halualani says.

H&A is asking for the help of faculty, students, and staff by submitting any known efforts by the university that they would like to be included in the maps.

“This is an amazing way for students to be a part of changing their institution,” Halualani says.  “Your input helps us accurately represent your university.”

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