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Comic written and illustrated by Danae Keener (sr)

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“Early Fridays” balance academic calendar

Thursday, Oct. 16, marks the third consecutive year when Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes have replaced the standard Tuesday/Thursday classes the day before fall break.

This adjustment began three years ago when a faculty task force, set up by Dr. Darlene Bressler to examine the academic calendar, noticed TTh course sections had “significantly greater” contact time, or class meeting hours, than MWF sections according to Don Sprowl, assistant provost for institutional research and accreditation.

This posed a challenge for faculty who teach the same course on TTH and MWF, since one class would have more instruction time than the other.

“Clearly, this was an issue we needed to fix,” Sprowl said in an email to The Sojourn.

The solution was to start classes on Labor Day — a Monday — and add an extra meeting time for MWF the Thursday before fall break, known as “Early Friday.”

This, in turn, provided two extra days for MWF classes and subtracted a day for TTH classes. The arrangement allows for “the closest possible match” between MWF contact time at 2,310 minutes to TTh contact time at 2,320 minutes, Sprowl said.

Indiana Wesleyan University applied the change during the 2012/13 school year, and it has continued ever since.

Do you think this is a good trade off? Reply in the comments below.

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Yik Yak app gains popularity and infamy on campus

“For fun, I sit in McConn with headphones that are playing nothing and listen to people’s conversations. Priceless!” yakked an anonymous student recently.

Actually, there’s no way to know if the user is an Indiana Wesleyan University student because of the complete anonymity afforded by the newest fad mobile app: Yik Yak.

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Yik Yak is the newest social app used by many students on IWU’s campus.

Yik Yak is a social media app that, according to their website, allows users to “get a live feed of what everyone’s saying around you.” Like an anonymous twitter, users post 200-character “yaks,” which are then upvoted or downvoted by other readers.

Five downvotes removes the yak entirely, while upvotes will increase visibility on the app’s “hot” page. The complete lack of usernames or profiles means one cannot follow or unfollow people. Messages show up from every user in your location, approximately a mile radius.

“I think it started out harmless,” Connor Neel (jr) said. “I didn’t see a problem with it. I liked it at first.”

Neel has been using the app for about three weeks but less lately.

“At first, maybe I just didn’t notice as many of the bad yaks, but now, some of them are getting very out-of-hand,” he said.

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People feel free to post whatever is on their mind since they will be anonymous.

Jossy Carder (fr) also has been involved with Yik Yak since it started gaining popularity.

“You didn’t really connect with students, but you were talking to other students so it kind of felt like you were part of IWU,” Carder said.

Due to the inappropriate nature of some of the yaks, students have questioned whether the administration will get involved.

“I think Yik Yak is still in the stages where most people don’t know about it, its just still making its way to us,” IWU Social Media Manager Jay Filson said. “I think they [the administration] are still trying to figure out what it is.”

Yik Yak does allow for communities to self-monitor, Filson added, encouraging students to “band together” and downvote yaks that are detrimental to the IWU community.

However, Cindy Coats (sr) decided to simply delete the app.

“I saw it and I wasn’t going to sit there and read it,” Coats said. “It doesn’t build up IWU at all. It makes us look bad. We’re supposed to be a set-apart school for Jesus; we really are. We aren’t living a beyond-reproach status, in my opinion.”

Neel is also concerned about how this makes IWU look as a school. He does not believe that our feed is a true representation of our student body.

“If someone were visiting and were to look at our Yik Yak, it might give them the wrong idea about how the people are,” Neel said.

Carder has seen the positive side of the student body through Yik Yak.

“If someone posts something about feeling down, there are some people on there that will say, ‘It’s okay, God will help you through this,’ but then there’s other representations of people too,” Carder said.

If Yik Yak continues to grow in popularity and in inappropriate qualities, the anonymity of the app makes it difficult to monitor. At this point, he doesn’t feel there is a reason to get involved, but admits it could be a problem in the future.Screen Shot 2014-10-15 at 12.53.15 PM

“There’s a couple college campuses [Norwich University, University of Iowa] that have already banned it. I don’t know if theres a way that we could regulate it without banning it, or if we would even want to,” Filson said.  “We don’t want to have to step in, but if it got to a point where students are being harassed or bullied or really hurtful things are being said, then I think its probably something we would look into.”

This has already been part of Carder’s experience.

“I’ve already been targeted twice with Yik Yak. Someone said, ‘The annoying girl in Hodson, please get out,’ and that made me really upset,” Carder said. “There was another time when they said, ‘I don’t know why Jossy’s so mad, if we all know she’s a slut.’”

Yik Yak is also full of Yaks complaining about roommates, teachers and classes.

“Quiet hours clearly mean nothing to my suitmate [sic] who is currently blasting ‘smack that’ while she’s showering,” a user posted.

Still, many other Yaks have a more positive nature.

“It’s crazy how spending 5 minutes in the presence of God can change my attitude completely #iloveJesus,” another user posted.

“What we would really hope, as a university, is that our students would be mature enough and would be conscious enough about the things that they say that we don’t have to worry about it,” Filson said.

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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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