Freshman Parents Reflect on Move-in

Throwback Thursday to a great kick off to Bethel University’s school year

Marissa Gamache | News Editor

Freshman Megan Olson embarked on a 20 mile journey from her home in Maple Grove to transition to life at Bethel. Megan Olson’s parents weren’t surprised by all of the help, but the enthusiasm and energy of the move-in crew caught them off guard.

“It was awesome,” Olson’s mother said of the Welcome Week move-in. “We had heard about it but had no idea it would be like this.” Olson is an only child and the change for her parents sending their only child off to college was made easier knowing she will be at a Christ centered campus.

Bethel welcomed all of the 2019 class to campus last Thursday with the Welcome Week staff, Bethel Student Government, Pray First and Shift moving the students into their dorms. For parents, the burden of moving their child into their room was lifted with the many hands that pitched in to make the day a success.

JJ Anderson’s sister graduated from Bethel last spring, but Anderson’s mom said was she was just as impressed with the move-in process the second time.

“You kind of forget after four years what it is really like,” she said. “It’s great.”

The Welcome Week crew arrived early to plan a weekend full of activities, but for many, the highlight of the role is moving new students in on Wednesday and Thursday. Sophomore Courtney Peterson experienced Welcome Week from the staff-side for the first time this year.

“Everyone was encouraging everyone else to keep moving, we kept boosting each other up,” She said. The constant encouragement from one another allowed them to move over 700 students, and their stuff, in over two days. “I also think that all the friends I made through the experience really helped and was encouraging.”

It was no small task Peterson pointed out the struggle of being so busy throughout the week. “Being tired and exhausted a was a challenge,” she said. “I would go to bed at 1:00 a.m. and would have to be up as early as 6:00 a.m. the same day.

“I am not nervous for him because I believe God has a plan for him at Bethel,” Samuel Krueger’s mom said, echoing the wishes of the new vice president for student life, William Washington. In a speech to the Welcome Week staff prior to move-in, Washington implored the Welcome Week students to usher in the new class of students with enthusiasm and the love of God.

“As you go out and you welcome people to their new home,” Washington said, “here’s your mission: to touch lives, to greet people, to help people and to help them recognize this is the place where God has called them to be.”

Women in Ministry

Female professors in the biblical and theological studies department face challenges and celebrate progress.

By Cherie Suonvieri

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.30.42 PMKaren McKinney was sitting at her desk grading papers when she heard a knock at her office door. A student came in, sat down and delivered what he believed to be a message from God — that McKinney should not be teaching in the Bible department because she is a woman.

This scene was familiar to McKinney. She had interactions with students like this every year, — and some times every semester — since she first came in 1996. Over the last few years, McKinney said, these occurrences have decreased.

McKinney is one of three full-time female faculty members in the department of biblical and theological studies. The other nine are male. While women are the minority, the BTS department as a whole holds an egalitarian stance when it comes to women in leadership.

“We are committed and have been committed — at least since I’ve been here for the past 10 years — to fully supporting women in ministry and fully supporting our female col- leagues in the classroom,” said Christian Collins Winn, department chair. “And that goes for both full-time and adjunct [faculty].”

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.30.50 PMExperiences of women in the department vary, and the environment has changed over time. Pamela Erwin worked in the BTS department for 10 years and served as the first — and only — female chair.

“Because we live in a world where there are opposing views on women in church leadership, being female is a difficult road to navigate,” Erwin said. “When you show up in the classroom, some colleagues and some students — both male and female — will question your perspective and whether you have a right to be there.”

In 2009, while she was still a professor, Erwin taught a student who did just that.

“I had a student sit in my class for an entire semester,” Erwin said. “He did no work, and his comment was, ‘I can’t learn anything from a woman.'”

Erwin said the incident was extreme, and she has seen improvement during her 13 years at Bethel.

In 2012, Erwin moved from BTS to Academic Affairs, which brought her three-year term as chair to a close.

Collins Winn said during his time as chair, he hasn’t had any full-time faculty come to him with gender-related issues in the classroom, but he has had several adjuncts do so.

“Whenever they have an issue in which they perceive that gender is part of the issue, our number one adage is that we have their back,” Collins Winn said.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.31.32 PMIn 2009, Deanna Conrad began an internship in the BTS department and then moved to teaching as an adjunct professor in 2010.

“I’ve never had a male student who has disrespected me,” Conrad said. “I watch, just because I won’t let it continue if it starts. I think that says something about the students who are here.”

Conrad teaches Biblical Theology of Justice and Introduction to the Bible courses.

Donna Reiter has worked at Bethel as an adjunct professor since 2005 and said she’s had nothing but positive experiences, as well.

“I’ve never had a student come in and challenge me . . . I’ve never ever seen any discrimination because I am a woman,” Reiter said.

Though Conrad and Reiter said they feel supported in teaching at Bethel, neither has been shielded from criticism throughout their academic careers.

Conrad said she encountered pushback at Bethel Seminary while working on her Master of Divinity from 2005 to 2010.

“It wasn’t leadership or professors. It was a few students,” Conrad said. “You just get some really passionate people standing up for what they think is the truth.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.31.14 PMReiter, on the other hand, faced pushback during her undergraduate experience at Bethel. She was a biblical and theological studies student under the mentorship of a complementarian professor. Reiter recalled a conversation that occurred between the two of them during her senior year at a department event.

“He said, ‘You are more prepared for seminary than any of our graduates this year, but I don’t know why God put your mind in the body of a woman,’” Reiter said.

She added the disclaimer that he was young and only in his first or second year of teaching at Bethel.

“That was really his idea at the me. He wanted me to go to seminary, marry a pastor and write commentaries while the children played around my feet,” Reiter said.

Reiter said she wasn’t discouraged, though she did take what she called a 25-year hiatus, which consisted of raising kids, church-planting and doing ministry with high school students before coming to teach adults at Bethel.

While gender-related issues in the classroom might not be as explicit as they have been in the past, challenges exist in other forms.

“There’s an expectation that women will be softer, easier and probably show more compassion . . . that they will be less confrontational or assertive in the classroom, and that’s not me,” McKinney said. “I’m assertive, but my assertiveness is interpreted as aggressiveness.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.31.21 PMThe BTS department is continuing to make strides toward gender equality. McKinney said the trajectory looks promising, but the department needs to continue to diversify.

“The department is open to women and committed to women in leadership, in part because Bethel is two-thirds women,” she said. “We need women in those roles.”

Collins Winn echoed McKinney’s thoughts.

“We have 12 full-time faculty, and only three are women. That doesn’t mirror society, and it doesn’t mirror the Christian body,” he said.

In the department’s most recent search for a new faculty member, there were 50 applicants, two of whom were women. The search committee comprised three women and two men, and all were committed to trying to bring a female professor on board, according to Collins Winn. As the male-to-female ratio of applications may foreshadow, the candidate chosen was a man.

“We all feel really good [about the person who was hired], but the commitment of the department is to wanting to diversify…” Collins Winn said. “The question is whether we’ll have the opportunity to do that.”

Financially speaking, hiring another full-time faculty member would be possible only if someone else left.

According to Conrad, who serves on the Board of Trustees in addition to working as an adjunct professor, it’s a work in progress.

“I would love to see half the faculty be women, but I’d also like to see more racial diversity . . . Those are initiatives at Bethel,” Conrad said. “There’s a broader picture, and we’re trying to do that from top leadership down.”

In order for an individual to be hired in the BTS department, Collins Winn said, he or she must be able to fully support women who feel called to any form of ministry.

While progress is evident, Erwin acknowledged that complacency is a vice to be avoided.

“In the past 15 years, the department chairs and the majority of the BTS faculty have had a commitment to supporting women in ministry and in the classroom,” she said. “But commitment is one thing. Living it out is another. There’s still a lot of work to be done.”

5 Lies Christians Believe About Dating

Jenny Hudalla | Editor-in-Chief

Published in Issue 12 of The Clarion 2014 – 2015

When it comes to dating, today’s young people are hit with a hurricane of well- intentioned advice. Besides fielding endless questions about relationship goals, post- graduation on plans and marriage, college couples have to sort through a stack of pointers that will supposedly help them achieve roman c success. But some of these pearls of wisdom are not jewels at all — in fact, some of the so-called truths that have been imparted to me and my boyfriend of six years during our time at a Christian college have been unhealthy, untrue and outright dangerous. Here are just a few pieces of advice we’ve learned to stay away from:

You should complete each other.

In a culture that glorifies grand romantic gestures, it’s no surprise that the phrase “you complete me” makes most of us swoon. While it might be nice to think each of us has an “other half,” this fuzzy notion comes with a dangerous implication: that we are not whole to begin with. Despite what an endless parade of rom-coms would have us believe, we must learn to see ourselves as independent, fully functioning human beings if we hope to have anything more than a parasitic relationship. Remember, it’s one thing to let someone fill the empty space between your fingers — it’s another to let them fill the empty space in your heart.

Long-term relationships are doomed for sexual immorality. 

Imagine the anxiety that comes with entering a revolving door. Just as you’ve stepped into your chosen compartment, the people around you quicken their pace. The back of your compartment pushes you forward at an uncomfortable speed, but it seems your only op on is to keep moving. This sensation is not unlike the one that many Christian couples feel after being warned of the challenges that come with lengthy relationships. But rather than charge into a hasty marriage, we should examine the damaging assumption on which this lie is based: that humans, especially males, are ultimately incapable of controlling their carnal desires. We spend our entire lives resisting emotional sins like greed, worry and resentment, but we seem thoroughly uncomfortable with the idea of asking God to protect us from the physical sin of sexual immorality. The next me you want to trade your purity ring for an engagement ring, remember that marriage should be more than a get-out-of-temptation free card.

Opposites Attract.

As much as we hate to admit it, relationships don’t work like magnets. When you and your significant other and yourselves on different poles, take a good look at your disagreements. If your biggest squabbles involve where to go out to eat or what to put on the TV, then feel free to bicker till the break of dawn. But if you can’t agree on where to live, when to have children or how to distribute power within the relationship, be careful. Those might just be the same things you cite as “irreconcilable differences” on your divorce papers years later.

A woman’s modesty controls a man’s sexuality.

If there’s one lie the church propagates that makes me want to put a hole in the wall, it’s this one. While I don’t refute modesty as a biblical value, Christians have grabbed ahold of the concept and twisted it to dehumanize men and women alike. To my brothers: I don’t care if your girlfriend’s skirt is short or her shirt is low — she is not in charge of your lust. You are. The idea that men are not responsible for sinful expressions of sexuality is the definition of rape culture. To my sisters: don’t buy into the lie that men are slaves to their carnal desires. The notion that men have only one thing on their minds day in and day out reduces them to simplistic animals instead of human beings.

If it’s meant to be, it will be.

While this lie is disguised as an idyllic belief in fate, it’s really a lame excuse to not try. Relationship success is just like academic, athletic and social success — you get out what you put in. If my boyfriend and I responded to our conflicting post-graduation plans (graduate school versus volunteering abroad) with a cavalier shrug of the shoulders, our six-year commitment to each other would likely crumble like a piece of stale bread. Be intentional about your actions and decision-making, and your relationship will move in the direction you steer it.

While this is by no means an exhaustive list, these lies are among the most prevalent we’ve heard during our years at college. If you’re navigating the waters of dating in a Chris an context, don’t be too quick to accept every piece of advice you receive — it turns out some myths have fooled the test of time.


Cultural Connections Center: Set to Open Next Fall

New space in Clausen Center aims to promote understanding, friendship and shalom.

Jenny Hudalla | Editor-in-Chief

Cherie Suonvieri | Managing Editor

Published April 16, 2015 in The Clarion.

When Hmong-American student Johnny Yang arrived on Bethel’s campus, it didn’t take long for him to realize something was missing: a safe place for him to process his identity as a student of color. Four years and many petitions later, Yang finally gets to see that dream become a reality.

On March 30, Bethel announced that a long-awaited Cultural Connections Center would open next fall. According to Leah Fulton, associate dean of intercultural student programs and services, the CCC is a Christ- centered community space created to promote understanding, friendship and shalom.

“It feels great to finally see this happen,” said Yang, who still carries memories of uneasiness and trauma during his time at Bethel. The community fostered by the CCC, he said, could facilitate the vulnerability and accountability that precedes the process of reconciliation.

While the CCC will serve as a gathering place for students of color as well as the “programming arm” of the Office of Intercultural Programs and Services, it is not, as CAS vice president and dean Deb Sullivan-Trainor said, a “student-of-color lounge.”

“We will not have succeeded if we get to the end of next year without having lots of different students from lots of different backgrounds in the CCC,” Sullivan-Trainor said. Located on the third floor of the Clausen Center, the CCC will be furnished and ready for use next fall.

Until then, a question box will be mounted on the wall outside of the hallway that houses the anthropology, sociology and reconciliation studies department for students to inquire about the space.

Funded by the Office of International Programs and Services and its partners, the CCC cost $12,000 to construct and will operate with a $20,000 yearly budget. It takes the place of the recently relocated Alumni and Parent Relations — a vacancy Sullivan-Trainor jumped on last spring.

“I went to the Retention of Students of Color Committee and said, ‘We have a chance,’” Sullivan-Trainor said. “I know the desire to have this space had been there for a long me.”

Indeed, the idea’s inception dates back to 2007, when Cecilia Williams, Fulton’s predecessor, proposed the creation of a safe space for students of color to a student retention task force convened by former faculty member Curtiss DeYoung. Now, eight years later, proponents of the room have gathered the support and resources necessary to make it happen.

While Fulton knows some are concerned about the room’s potential to create division, she said it will only highlight the barriers that already exist.

“For those who feel adamantly about the lack of need [for this room], do you really want to understand why students need it?” Fulton asked. “If there’s a genuine desire to understand, I would encourage [students] to talk with and learn from people who do see the need for the space.”

Nathan Day, a biracial Hispanic-American student, said the creation of the CCC affirms his value as a person of color on campus.

“It shows me that Bethel is striving to become a unified community where all cultures, races and ethnicities are celebrated and supported,” Day said.

Though Chief Diversity Officer Ruben Rivera said Bethel has always appreciated diversity from a faith perspective, it has only just begun to put collective muscle behind the push for con- crete programs and services for minority students.

Up to 80 percent of entering freshmen come from what Rivera called “local Minnesota communities.” The seven-county metro area is now 30 percent people of color, but Bethel is still a predominantly white institution, with less than 10 percent students of color. Additions like the CCC, Rivera said, are part of the university’s marketing and retention strategies.

Fulton added that diversity is more than race and color. She hopes the room will engage the gender studies program, the social work club, Disability Awareness Group and Bethel’s chapter of IJM, to name a few.

“This isn’t just for the 9-10 percent who are students of color,” Fulton said. “This has to do with people’s employability beyond college. Alumni surveys [and qualitative data] suggest Bethel graduates aren’t well-equipped to deal with diversity, and that’s not something people are going to be able to avoid when they leave here.”

But diversity at face value, according to Rivera, solves nothing. Students, faculty and staff must still learn to do the work of reconciliation.

“I know things like this can make people nervous,” Rivera said. “But that doesn’t mean we can’t treat each other like humans. Our faith should be able to help us live together and create understanding and compassion despite disagreements. If it can’t, I don’t know what we’re doing.”


Community discussion of race yields more questions than answers

Jenny Hudalla| Editor-In-Chief

Published in Issue 13 of The Clarion year 2014-2015

“We need more chairs.”

That’s what a Facilities Management worker said above the steady hum of conversation as hundreds of students piled into The Underground for Bethel’s #BlackLivesMatter event Tuesday night.

With more than 350 people in attendance, it was perhaps the most collaborative and intentional community discussion of race that Bethel has ever seen. Students, faculty and staff from seven departments and offices – including the Office of the President – contributed to the production of the event.

But what inspired such a far-reaching mobilization? According to UCB Director Zakiya Robinson, who spearheaded the event, the purpose of the #BlackLivesMatter discussion was fourfold: to contextualize historical incidents of police brutality; to discuss Christian engagement with social justice; to address the place of white students in the conversation; and to identify how Bethel can better pursue its core value of reconciliation.

“It was probably the biggest project I’ll be a part of at Bethel,” Robinson said. “I don’t think anything’s going to have that same kind of magnitude. People left feeling inspired.”

Throughout the night, those in the audience were invited to text in anonymous questions for the event’s four-person panel – which comprised two black students, one white student and one white professor – with the hopes of fostering a candid discussion about the racial turmoil occurring at both a national and local level.

According to reconciliation studies professor Christena Cleveland, who moderated the discussion, one of the most common questions texted in was: “Why are we talking about the importance of black lives? Shouldn’t #AllLivesMatter?”

Senior panelist Justin Giuliano did his best to answer that question during Tuesday night’s discussion, citing examples that ranged from Band-Aids to Barbies to book protagonists to illustrate the normalization of whiteness in mainstream society.

“Society is set up to affirm whiteness,” Giuliano said. “Look at our beauty standards. Look at Miss America . . . My black culture isn’t affirmed until it’s used or appropriated by white culture.”

According to panelist and theology professor Christian Collins Winn, questions like that indicated that a campus-wide discussion of race was long overdue.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 8.34.52 PM.png
Photo by Nathan Klok

“With all of the events going on nationally . . . it was high time that we as a community came together to talk about the various problems, injustices and challenges that we face in our country and on the Bethel campus,” he said.

The event itself was collectively deemed a success by those who organized it, running 10 minutes over its hour-and-a-half time slot and drawing more than 60 students to four ensuing processing sessions. It was the online backlash, Robinson said, that was troubling.

Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 8.36.52 PM
Photo by Nathan Klok

Though students were given the opportunity to engage in the panel’s discussion Tuesday night, some chose to express themselves on Yik Yak, an anonymous social media app. While several Yaks condemned the event as a devaluation of white lives or a form of reverse racism, one post in particular proved that racial tension is still a reality in the Bethel community.

“Someone dress up like a respectable guy in a white hood and robe,” the Yak read. “Show up to underground with cone under white hood. #CrossCulturalExperience.”

When Robinson saw it, she burst into tears.

“It’s a scary thing to know that people still think like that,” she said. “It makes me feel like my work is in vain.”Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 8.37.15 PM.png

“You have to be a pretty broken person to make fun of an event like that,” Cleveland added. “It says a lot about what is and isn’t okay in this community.”

According to Collins Winn, it is especially important for students and faculty to identify racism as a theological issue, because our image of God informs the way we understand and acknowledge others.

“Racial division in the church and on our campus – among many other things – should be a clue that we have a rather radically distorted understanding of who God is and what it means to be God’s creature,” Collins Winn said.

One of the ongoing problems, Robinson said, is that white students don’t have a safe platform from which they can ask questions about race, culture and identity. Questions like “Am I racist?” “What is white culture?” and “How do I make friends of color?” can be overwhelming and even intimidating.

“Those are the questions we need to answer for white students,” Robinson said. “If we can’t engage that part of the community, the momentum will stop because the resources aren’t there.”

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While Robinson said the #BlackLivesMatter event was a good way to initiate campus conversation about race, it wasn’t enough to fuel lasting change. That, she said, will happen when white students adopt a genuine interest in racial reconciliation and actively work to dismantle systemic oppression.

“Bethel as a community is still on the way,” Collins Winn said. “There are still many more miles to go, and we are not there by a long shot. But I do think the event was one more step in the right direction, one more attempt to untie the knot of one of America’s original sins.”

But until that knot is untied, said sophomore panelist Kiersti Phenow, God’s vision of reconciliation will remain unrealized on campus.

“I hate to break it to you, but the Kingdom does not look like Bethel University,” Phenow said to the captivated crowd on Tuesday night. “And I’m glad it doesn’t.”Screen Shot 2016-04-17 at 8.37.04 PM

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Bethel Cultivates World Changers Through Study Abroad

Students develop global knowledge through nationally ranked programs.

Jenny Hudalla 

Published March 26, 2015 in The Clarion.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 9.20.35 PMBirds skittered across the cobblestone streets, picking seeds and remnants of last night’s tapas from the stony crevices. Brushing a few drops of dew from her sneakers, Allison Yaeger allowed a brief smile to flit across her face as she passed her favorite landmark on her morning run.

Towering far above her head was the 800-year-old castle where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain commissioned Christopher Columbus’ voyage to the Americas. Although three years have passed since Yaeger first beheld its rugged battlements and deep blue parapets, she still remembers the feelings of awe and giddiness they elicited.

Now a 2013 Bethel graduate, Yaeger is part of the 65 percent of Bethel students who have given their resumes an extra shine by living overseas during the course of their undergraduate careers.

“Living in another country forces you out of your comfort zone in beautiful ways,” Yaeger said. “I was able to form amazing relationships with my host family, listen to different perspectives on major issues, live life in another language and travel around Europe.”

But Yaeger and her peers have come back with more than a souvenir-filled suitcase and increased job marketability – they’ve come back with a desire to change the world.

According to the 2013-14 senior survey, students who studied abroad during their time at Bethel reportedly experienced more personal development of the seven core values than students who did not study abroad.

In either case, learner and truth-seeker led the pack, and reconciler and salt and light consistently fell near the bottom. Only one value showed a significant disparity in ranking: world changer.

Forty-one percent of study abroad students strongly agreed that Bethel had prepared them to be world changers, rating it the third most developed value over the course of their undergraduate careers. Only 16 percent of those who didn’t study abroad said the same, however, rating it dead last.

“The purpose of putting the core values in the survey is to get a gage on how we’re doing in those areas,” said psychology professor Joel Frederickson, who administered the survey. “If we say they’re values, we need to show accreditors that we meet these seven core values.”

The spike in the world changer value among students who studied abroad is of particular interest, as it has typically received low survey ratings since its installment. For Yaeger, however, the increased identification with the value was no surprise.

“Participating in Bethel study abroad definitely enhanced my development of the core values,” Yaeger said. “It stretches and challenges you in all ways and leads to significant personal growth. Once you get a taste of the world, you can’t help but start to desire more.”

Indeed, it was Yaeger’s initial study abroad experience that spurred her decision to work overseas after graduation. She served as an assistant on-site director for Bethel’s Spain Term from September through early December and then spent the holidays at home before hopping on a Honduras-bound plane in January.

There, she taught two sections of ninth-grade English at a small missions school in the rural village of Rio Viejo. While she returned to the U.S. in early April, Yaeger already misses the perks of being a global citizen.

“There is so much more to be gained by going abroad than whatever you might lose by deciding to leave home for a while,” Yaeger said. “The relationships, confidence and level of trust in God that I developed are priceless, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.”

Indeed, Yaeger cultivated a lifetime’s worth of memories during the time she spent beyond U.S. borders, and it didn’t take long for her to grasp the vastness of the world around her. She celebrated New Year’s Eve in a Spanish plaza, got caught in a blizzard in Switzerland, ate her weight in gelato in Italy and tested her boundaries by trying iguana soup in Honduras.

“It seems like the world should shrink as you travel and become familiar with other countries and cultures,” Yaeger said. “However, I believe the more places you see and people you meet, the more the world expands and reveals the depth and diversity of life God has created.”

Even though Yaeger was one of approximately 1,800 Bethel students to study abroad in 2011, she still counts herself one of the lucky few to have global experience on her resume.

Less than 10 percent of U.S. undergraduate students studied abroad during the 2012-13 academic year, according to the Institute of International Education. Bethel’s study abroad rate is six times as high, and it often ranks in the top 15 nationally.

According to Melanie Eslinger, assistant director of international studies, finances often tip the scale when it comes to deciding whether to study abroad.


Will security give your vehicle “the boot?”

Cherie Suonvieri | Managing Editor

Published in The Clarion 2014 – 2015

Nearly everyone on Bethel’s campus has seen one — a car plastered with parking violation slips, immobilized by a yellow contraption on the wheel. This yellow contraption, known by most as a boot, is removable only by the supervising officers of Campus Security and Safety. The answer to what warrants immobilization of a vehicle is, in short — it depends.

According to Chief of Campus Security and Safety Andrew Luchsinger, a vehicle will be immobilized any time an officer needs to follow up directly with a driver. These circumstances could include instances of reckless driving or multiple accounts of violation attached to the vehicle.

Contrary to popular opinion, there is no fine associated with the immobilization itself, so supervising officers are authorized to do so at their discretion. To date, there have been 103 immobilizations this academic year, Luchsinger said. In addition, of the 1,525 citations written, 67 percent have been warnings.

Putting to rest what he considers another common misconception, Luchsinger explained that the revenue collected from issued fines is deposited into a general account for Bethel — not for Security. Money from this fund is put toward scholarships and grants for students, among other things.

“I am very pleased this is the case, as it greatly reduces any financial motivation for our department to issue citations since those funds are not for our use,” Luchsinger said.

During the 2014-15 academic year alone, $11,945 in security- issued fines has been placed in this account.

The current graduated fine system was implemented in 2012 in an effort to bring the focus on repeat offenders. Under this system, most offenses are met with warnings for first time violations and increasing fines for any repeat violations.

The fine schedule is largely automated, so when an officer enters a violation, he or she is unaware of the fine amount. A complete fine schedule can be found online.

There are times, however, that the fine schedule is not used. During the “Share the Love” campaign over the week of Valentine’s Day, Security issued 55 citations — all of them warnings.

“It was one way of trying to spread some happiness and joy throughout the community,” Luchsinger said.

Controversial Swirls Around Faculty Compensation

Salary freezes and retirement cuts become source of contention

Jenny Hudalla | Editor-in-Chief

Cherie Suonvieri | Managing Editor

Published in The Clarion November 6, 2014

Nothing causes a stir like a community-wide financial crisis, and there’s no denying that last year’s budget cuts hit Bethel hard. Administration shaved $7 million from the university’s operating expenses over three years, engulfing Bethel in a storm of academic and personnel cuts.

Though the dust has now settled, some faculty and staff aren’t sure they like what they see. After receiving salary freezes for three of the last seven years and stomaching a 7 per- cent reduction in retirement contributions as part of last year’s budget cuts, many employees are upset that they still haven’t been given a raise for the 2014-2015 school year.

“People aren’t sure what we can do, but the status quo can’t stay the same,” said philosophy professor Sara Shady, who has been at Bethel for more than 13 years. “It’s starting to affect the way people see their jobs, and it’s starting to affect the spirit of collaboration that has historically existed between faculty and administration.”

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According to Shady, it’s not that there isn’t any money – it’s that the administration chooses to spend it in areas other than faculty compensation. In the last few years alone, Bethel has purchased a $5.7 million property at 2 Pine Tree Drive and invested in the operational costs of the new Wellness Center.

“I think faculty are tired of hearing the administration say, ‘We get it, we’re sorry,’” said English professor Marion Larson. “I would rather have them say [faculty compensation] isn’t even a priority. It would be like I never returned graded papers but always said, ‘It’s my number one priority to give students feedback on their work.’”

In response to faculty’s frustration over the administration’s alleged lack of follow through, Chief Financial Officer Patrick Brooke offered words of empathy.

“I understand,” Brooke said. “We are going to do what we can to prove [faculty compensation] is a priority… I know things that are going on that haven’t been settled yet — some proposals we’re kicking back and forth. We want to make sure anything we do is sustainable.”

According to business professor Bruce Olsen, much of the revenue generated by tuition is given back to students in the form of financial aid. As the cost of running the institution increases and revenue stagnates, Olsen said budget cuts become an unfortunate necessity.

“[President Jay Barnes] really wanted us to find some dollars last year for increases, but so much is dictated by enrollment and financial aid that he really couldn’t give out any more,” Olsen said.

After last year’s budget cuts, Barnes created a budget committee comprising five administrators and four faculty members who drafted a proposed budget to submit to the President’s Cabinet, according to Provost Deb Harless. When the budget was approved by the Cabinet, it was submitted to the Board of Trustees for final approval.

Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 8.54.14 PMBusiness Department Chair Chuck Hannema was part of the committee that prioritized this year’s budget. He said it would have cost $500,000 to give faculty and staff a one percent raise — half a percent of Bethel’s $100 million budget. Although he was a vocal supporter of the salary increase, Hannema wasn’t able to sway the final outcome.

“I think professors are able to weather the storm because most of us are willing to make further sacrifices to do what we do,” Hannema said. “But I think the administration is able to benefit from that at our expense.”

While Olsen certainly shares in faculty frustration, his experience as Faculty Senate president and previous acting associate dean has enabled him to see both sides of the issue in a softer light.

“It weighs on faculty when we spend money on things like baseball field repairs and classroom construction,” Olsen said. “It doesn’t seem fair. At the same time, there are some things you just have to spend money on. We need to reorient our thinking in the budgeting process.”

According to Harless, the budget committee is still seeking ways to o er salary increases to faculty and staff this year.

“It is a tremendous challenge to allocate money for raises, but we know that we must provide raises to care for our employees and to keep Bethel strong,” Harless said.

That, at least, is something on which administration, faculty and staff agree: salary increases are needed, and they are needed soon.

“The difference faculty and staff make in students’ lives is significant,” Hannema said. “If faculty are dissatisfied, they won’t stay. If we don’t have competitive structures to recruit new faculty, the Bethel experience will suffer.”

Ebola Outbreak

Fighting an invisible enemy an ocean away

Jenny Hudalla | Editor-in-Chief

Taylor McElree | Staff Writer

Published in The Clarion 2014 – 2015

Inside Ebola: Bethel Students Speak Out

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.53.24 AMHamida Pabai

Senior psychology student Hamida Pabai was 9 years old when she left her home in Freetown, a major port city along the coast of Sierra Leone. Ravaged by civil war, the West African country was in shambles by the time Pabai and her family were admitted into the U.S.

Though the war has long since ended, Sierra Leone is battling a new, invisible enemy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an estimated 593 citizens of Sierra Leone have died from Ebola so far. With three siblings, three nieces and an uncle still there, Pabai has had no shortage of worries since the outbreak began.

“It’s been really stressful, constantly having to call and make sure everyone is okay,” she said. “No one is working because they’re afraid to go out, so we have to send money home for them to survive. I’m always praying that my family isn’t a victim and that it’s all over soon.”

Pabai’s brother, who serves in Sierra Leone’s military, was deployed to Somalia on a peacemaking assignment before Ebola struck. Although his service term ended in June, he hasn’t been able to return to his family because the country closed its borders.

“It’s chaos there,” Pabai said. “People don’t trust the government. They think doctors are infecting patients. They’re crying out for help, and they’re looking at us.”

While the West African countries affected by Ebola need supplies and aid, Pabai believes education is most important of all. Even if outside nations could provide Ebola- ridden areas with necessary medication, Pabai said, it would do no good without knowledge of the virus and precautionary steps.

“If you know someone from these countries, just ask them if there’s anything you can do to help,” said Pabai, who has already made sacrifices to support her family in Sierra Leone. “Our people need help. It is overwhelming, but it feels good to know that there are other people who care.”

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.53.53 AMGorpu Sumo

Having emigrated from her native Liberia in 2007, senior social work and reconciliation studies student Gorpu Sumo has had to watch her country suffer from an ocean away.

Though Sumo is now an American citizen, much of her family — including her older brother, three younger sisters and most of her first cousins — still lives in Liberia.

“It’s really scary, having to watch this virus tear through the country,” Sumo said. “All you can do is call people and tell them to be safe. But when you’re not there, it’s hard to understand the circumstances. Someone could sweat on a chair, and someone else could sit down and get Ebola, just like that.”

Though Sumo first heard about Ebola when it spread across the Democratic Republic of the Congo several years ago, she never thought it would affect her so intimately. About three months after the outbreak began, Sumo found out that her sister-in-law – a nurse in one of Liberia’s care centers – had contracted the virus.

“My brother sat in a clinic for hours before he found out she had died,” Sumo said. “She was lonely. She had no one. We don’t even know where she’s buried. And now her son has to live without a mother. That’s the part that gets me.”

Though the virus has killed an estimated 1,578 Liberians according to the CDC, little progress has been made in terms of containment. According to Sumo, the rate at which Ebola has spread has overwhelmed health- care professionals.

“People are being turned away [from hospitals] because there isn’t any space,” Sumo said. “They can wait for someone else to die and take that person’s bed, or they can go home and die there. They just don’t have the resources. There’s not enough aid. It’s a helpless situation.”

While the outbreak is limited to West Africa right now, Sumo said Americans would do well to educate themselves about Ebola and join in the effort to defeat it.

“It might seem like it’s far away at the moment,” she said. “But I never thought Ebola would come to Liberia, let alone take away a family member. It travels quickly, and right now is the me for us to come together and put a stop to it.”

Global Implications

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 10.53.39 AMDr. Samuel Zalanga

According to anthropology and sociology professor Samuel Zalanga, who hails from Nigeria, it is paramount for the Bethel community to recognize that there must be more than just a short term solution to the problems plaguing Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

While people are ready and willing to combat the virus itself, Zalanga said, they are often not as enthusiastic about putting an end to the issues that allowed the Ebola epidemic to happen in the first place. Zalanga cites not only lapses in the West African health care system but also the absence of education in these countries, their distrust of their governments and their lack of economic relevance on a global scale as permanent contributors to the origin and continuation of the outbreak.

“You cannot talk about health care without considering many other factors when discussing developing countries,” Zalanga said.

Among these factors is the evidence suggesting pharmaceutical companies do not adequately research the diseases that affect poorer countries because there is little economic incentive to do so. Drug manufacturers don’t want to devote precious me and energy into something that will have no financial return. According to Zalanga, almost half of the African population makes less than $1.50 per day. This means that in the global economy, these people are considered surplus.

“If they die,” Zalanga said, “it makes no impact.”

Until issues like these are eradicated, the developing countries of West Africa are susceptible to massive tragedies like the Ebola outbreak plaguing them now.

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