Tag Archive | "chapel"

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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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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Students respond to return of cold weather, classes

Despite subzero temperatures, Indiana Wesleyan University students and faculty trudged against wind and snow to classes. Some students had a more lighthearted and humorous opinion on the lack of class cancellation.

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“I am literally going to cry thinking about walking in -25 degree temperatures tomorrow morning. #cruel ‪#iwu” said Twitter user @larsenkaylaa last night.

“I can’t worship under these conditions. #IWUCANCELLATIONS #IWU,” quipped user @Nathan_Hudson.

“Good thing Jesus has experience putting ears back on, because mine just froze off #freezing #iwu” joked user @toricrofford.

Other students didn’t find walking in the freezing temperatures quite as funny.

“It’s not too late to still cancel the rest of classes.. It will be too late after multiple asthma attacks, falls, and car accidents.” said user @elumston.

@heyyyitsAlaine posted a screenshot of the weather report, with the post, “Something like this tells me we shouldn’t have school today or tomorrow.”

While students raised concerns about everything from the extremely low temperatures to unsafe travel conditions, not all minded going to class.

Lydia Flynn (so) was amongst the students who understood the university’s decision.

“I can understand why, because we are behind in some of our classes. But if it hadn’t been for the recent snow days, they probably would have canceled,” said Flynn (so) “But I don’t think I would have made the same decision.”

Students are already buzzing about tomorrow’s negative temperatures, high wind speeds and wind chill effects. With tundra-inspired temperatures on the horizon, they’ll continue to wonder why classes aren’t canceled tomorrow.

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The skinny on chapel skips


Thinking about skipping chapel? Second semester seniors at Indiana Wesleyan University do not face a penalty for missing more than the six allotted chapel skips. The only seniors who could run into trouble are those in leadership positions or students considering IWU’s grad school.

Micah Walls (alumnus ‘13) discovered this after missing multiple chapels toward the end of his final semester, but still receiving his diploma following graduation last spring.

Assistant Dean of the Chapel Cindy Ruder supervises student chapel attendants and student office workers in the chapel. She also makes sure students follow the attendance policies and procedures.

According to Ruder, the Registrar does not withhold student transcripts following the student’s final semester for missing chapel.

“As long as chapel is not completed for academic credit, such as making it a pass/fail course, we do not hold on to the students transcripts,” said Ruder. “The policy is primarily in place for students only interested in returning to the university.”

Ruder said she does send an email to students notifying them they have a hold on their account, even if they graduated. The email also informs students not making up missed chapels could affect them getting into the school’s graduate program.

While students may not plan to get their masters degree at IWU, they should still be cautious. For Walls, he didn’t anticipate attending IWU’s graduate program until after graduation. Following his application to seminary, Walls was notified he would have to make-up the chapels he failed to attend.

“Don’t skip chapel,” Walls said. “I really respect it, I just got lazy my last semester, and almost a year later I have to make them up.”

In a Facebook status, Walls joked about being able to potentially pay off chapel skips. When presented with this alternative suggestion Ruder was quick to turn it down by saying, “No, there is not a monetary option attached to chapel.”

Some Christian colleges such as Anderson University and Biola University have stricter policies than IWU, and issue fines to students who don’t follow chapel restrictions.

At Anderson, multiple chapel offenses can lead to students paying fines ranging from $75 for minor offenses to $150 for extreme offenses per semester.

What’s unique about Biola, is they do not require seniors to attend chapel their final semester. All other students, however, could receive a hefty fine of $375 if they don’t attend 30 chapels or meet make-up requirements.

At Huntington University, students are required to attend only 30 chapel services out of about 75 opportunities per semester. For seniors who fail to reach that mark, they are still able to walk at graduation, but the school will not release their diploma until they either pay a $150 fine or complete community service hours.

If an IWU student misses more than the six allotted skips, they must complete chapel “make-ups.” What students may not know is they can be penalized for missing too much chapel. First time offenses typically result in registration and housing holds for the following semester. After the fourth offense however, exceeding chapel absences can ultimately lead to dismissal from the university.

Students who fail to meet chapel attendance standards meet with Ruder to discuss ways the student can fulfill their chapel requirements.

“The policy is, you can do up to 50 percent of chapel make ups through community service,” Ruder said. “The other half you can do through listening to chapel recordings, or you can do all of them through chapel recordings, it’s really the student’s choice.”

Seniors who hold leadership positions on campus will risk termination depending on the contracts of the organization they are associated with if missing excessive chapels.

Ruder will still send an email to the academic advisers notifying them of the situation, but if the student is not intending to attend graduate school at IWU, he will receive his diploma following graduation.

For seniors interested in working at the university following graduation, Human Resources does not pay attention to the number of chapels skipped.

Human Resource Associate Diana Delph explained how she views the hiring process.

“Missing chapel is not a criminal offense,” she said. “That’s not something we follow up on when considering candidates from the university, that’s between you and the Lord.”

Ruder hopes seniors have come to appreciate chapel during their duration at the university, and also hope they take advantage of the multiple opportunities they have to worship.

“My prayer is that as students grow through chapel their freshman, sophomore and junior year, by their senior year they will appreciate what chapel has to offer,” Ruder said.

“Unless you’re going into ministry, you will quickly learn that the secular workplace doesn’t offer chapel,” Ruder stated. “Hopefully students will keep that in mind.”

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