Archive | Editorials

Editorial: What are the ethics behind swiping and leaving chapel?

The new chapel swipe system has been a topic of conversation since the beginning of the 2014-2015 school year, begging the question: is it okay for students to swipe and leave?

This question has been argued from both sides. Indiana Wesleyan University has had chapel as a requirement since its founding, more recently with the option to use up to six chapel skips a semester.

This is the first year the integrity of students has been in question in regards to chapel.


Students face a decision every time they swipe into chapel.

Chapel, which is held at 10:05 a.m., allows students to swipe their ID for chapel credit from 9:45 to 10:15. Over three different chapel days, I stood between two doors and counted how many people swiped their ID and left between 9:50 and 10:05. Over the three observed days, an average of approximately 187 people swiped and left each day. Keep in mind, this number only includes a percentage of the students that left chapel because only two doors were involved in the observation.

So how does The Office of the Dean of the Chapel feel about the number of students choosing not to stay for the chapel services?

“We decided to go with the one-swipe [system] because we wanted to show that we trusted our students,” Dean of Chapel Jim Lo says. “We went to the administration and then on to the cabinet and I presented that I believe that most of our students really are trustworthy individuals, so we wanted to give them more freedom.”

The major point Lo is trying to make is that the one-swipe system was not put in place because it was easier, faster or cheaper. While all of these things might be true, the one-swipe system was put in place to grant the students more responsibility, trust and freedom. I think that, as a student body, we are so focused on the thrill of getting away with something, that we have chosen to throw away the newfound trust and responsibility we have been entrusted with by the university.

The argument on one side is that swiping and leaving is a lie. You are not correctly representing Christ because you are allowing someone to believe something that is not true.

“We are a Christ-centered university, therefore we should strive to be more like Christ.” Timothy Loney (fr) said. “By intentionally deciding to not be at chapel, and yet swiping into chapel, you are not living up to the call of this university and more importantly, the call of Christ.”

The counter argument is, “What if I have homework? Or a big test? Can’t I praise God through excellence in my school work?” This is a valid argument, but we must remember to be respectful of the speakers who have given up their time to come share God’s word, as well as the students who want to hear it.

“This is an integrity issue, I have spoken to guest speakers, the thing that distracts many of them is when they see the students getting up and walking out,” Lo said. “It’s been very painful for them to see that because a message is already being given.”

While swiping and leaving can be viewed as an integrity issue, we must remember that we are still one body in Christ, even though attending chapel is now a personal decision, that does not give us the right to judge those who chose not to attend.

“Those who choose to stay for chapel shouldn’t look down on those who choose not to go. Just because we have chosen not to go does not mean that we are less of a Christian than they are,” Hannah Guerin (so) says. “Those who look down on others for doing what only they think is wrong might be the ones who need to be at chapel the most.”

While the actual percentage of students leaving chapel services is relatively low, it is important to keep the issue of integrity at the forefront of our minds. Skipping chapel might give us a “thrill”, but while we are missing out on chapel, we just might be missing out on God.

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Letter from the editor: Chapel isn’t about you

Read that title again. And then read it once more the next time you walk into the Chapel-Auditorium. Whether you think chapel attendance should be mandatory or voluntary or if you prefer traditional or modern worship, those details aren’t why you should go.

Chapel isn’t about singing songs you like or hearing messages that feel good to you. It’s not about agreeing with everything that’s said and done on stage and tweeting about what you don’t like. And it’s certainly not about doing homework during the service and standing up to leave during the benediction.

Quite simply, it’s about praising God.

One could also argue it’s about respect. No matter how you feel about any aspect of chapel, the concept as a whole is a matter of respect toward God and should be treated as such.

I’m not saying we should eliminate all discussions regarding chapel and how to make it better. However, those conversations should be constructive and not based solely on personal preferences. I understand and appreciate the desire to improve the chapel experience and I can think of at least three or four specific services that left many students, including myself, scratching our heads.

But I believe our God is intricate; the same One who brought us all to Indiana Wesleyan University for a specific purpose. Couldn’t this God who obviously plans far ahead use a chapel I thought was pointless to touch the life of someone who needed to hear it at that moment?

You bet.

Chapel is always a hot-button issue, and with good reason. On a campus representing many majors, socioeconomic statuses and (believe it or not) ethnic backgrounds, chapel is one of only a few experiences nearly all IWU students have in common. All the more reason we should treat it with the respect and courtesy it deserves, along with the students, staff and faculty who work hard to make it happen.

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Letter from the editor: Change is good

I’ve spent three wonderful years at Indiana Wesleyan University, and I’ve learned more than I can ever write in an academic paper or fill in an oval on a test. I believe this is because one of the things IWU does best is give students hands-on experience that prepares us for the real world, whatever that is. In order to continue preparing students this well, practices at this school need to stay up to date with what students will experience upon graduation.

Simply put, as the “real world” changes, IWU has to change with it.

More than anything else, The Sojourn is about teaching students how to excel in their trade. This is the same way clinicals teach nursing students how to care for patients and IWU Biz teaches business students how to manage a company.

But nursing students wouldn’t practice an old procedure, and business students wouldn’t employ an outdated model, so why would The Sojourn do the journalistic equivalent?

Unfortunately, we feel like that’s what we’ve been doing recently. But this year, in a time of new leadership and transition, is the right year to change the way we operate with the future in mind.

That’s why The Sojourn is excited to shift our focus in a way we believe follows where the industry is going, so we can better train students.

Effective immediately, we’re switching to an online-first mentality. The physical paper that we’ve come to know and love isn’t going away, but it will be published on an every-other-Thursday basis as we devote more time to fast and accurate journalism online.

We want to be clear in our reasons for this change. It has nothing to do with budget issues. It has everything to do with keeping up with the times and meeting people where they’re at.

News in 2013 isn’t broken when someone picks up a newspaper; people get their headlines immediately on Twitter and Facebook, and that’s where we’re dedicating our efforts. We’ll work hard to bring you the most newsworthy stories from IWU’s campus and beyond as they happen.

So let’s talk. I’m always open to feedback about the paper or just to meet over coffee at McConn. If you and I haven’t met yet, let’s change that.

After three great years at IWU, I’m excited for one more and all the opportunities, challenges, and adventures I know it will bring. And I’m particularly excited for one last chance to serve the community I love through The Sojourn.

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An open letter to Aaron Morrison regarding ‘Occupy Wildcat’

Dear Mr. Morrison: 

It has come to our attention that you are the listed creator of an event page on Facebook called “Occupy Wildcat.” We understand that this is a peaceful protest against “the rising Pioneer prices, particularly in Wildcat,” scheduled to take place Wednesday, Nov. 2 from 12 noon until 5 p.m.

As members of the media, we value the basic human right to express oneself freely. As students, we are engaged in the ongoing discussion of how we can make Indiana Wesleyan University a better place for everyone. But we are writing you now to express our concern and hope that you will reconsider plans to proceed with “Occupy Wildcat” for the following reasons:

1. Your position as acting president of the Student Government Association is a representative role and is, therefore, indivisible from your personal life. Political activism outside SGA’s formal functioning should be seen as unitary with your work as president.

2. It is unacceptable to promote that which is “not an official SGA event” on official SGA media platforms, as you did on the SGA blog, providing a link to the “Occupy Wildcat” Facebook page.

3. You have not cohesively articulated a specific list of complaints.

4. You have not completely exhausted less spectacular means of communicating with Pioneer College Caterers and Indiana Wesleyan University personnel.

5. Branding your protest “Occupy Wildcat” is unfortunate, in light of recent world events. Other protests in the “Occupy” movement have resulted in injury, loss of life, political unrest and property damage worldwide. “Occupy Wildcat” seems petty in comparison to the movement at large.

We, the undersigned, take “Occupy Wildcat” very seriously and hope you will reconsider your organizational role in its execution.

Lauren Sawyer, Editor in Chief of The Sojourn
Molly Meyer, Managing Editor of The Sojourn
Steven Porter, News Editor of The Sojourn
Jeremy Sharp, Sports Editor of The Sojourn
Rachel Pyle, Features/A&E Editor of The Sojourn

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