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Pg. 7 Rope a Wildcat: See a photospread profiling the ACU Rodeo

Thursday, April 9, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 48 :: 1 section, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Pg. 4

Hail to the Chief: Navajo president visits alma mater Monday

Pg. 8

Student artwork to be on display Downtown

French athlete makes ACU history at Texas Relays

Design, construction plans cause ad kiosk delays By Sondra Rodriguez

they have not forgotten their promise to provide a place where students can advertise campus events. Nearly five months have passed since the university announced its plan to build

Page 2 Editor

An ad kiosk between the Campus Center and the Brown Library is coming soon – and university administrators say

an ad kiosk after enforcing a policy prohibiting students from advertising on campus. Design and construction plans caused the delay, said Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, Vice President and Dean for Stu-

dent Life. He confirmed Monday that parts were ordered for the kiosk, and he said he hopes to break ground in the next couple weeks. In response to the ad policy, SA Congress passed a resolu-

tion in March stating students should be allowed to advertise on campus. Thompson said alternative means of advertising were offered during the meeting, all of which SA Congress candidates have utilized for

campaigning. These include venues such as myACU and the screens in Chapel. Daniel Burgner, junior political science major from See

Kiosk page 8

Gaines gains SA Presidency

Challenge deadline postponed for Easter By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

The registration deadline for this year’s SpringBoard Ideas Challenge has been postponed to Monday. This delay gives entrants additional time to register in light of this weekend’s Easter holiday, said Jim Porter, Entrepreneur-in-Residence for the College of Business Administration. The competition first took place last year, and is meant to encourage local entrepreneurship. It requires participants to submit a 10-page mini-business plan detailing an idea for a new business. Porter said the goal of the competition is to provide an outlet for and reward local creativity and innovation. “It’s a way to encourage students to formulate their ideas and to give strong consideration to taking their ideas and building businesses from them,” Porter said. See

SpringBoard page 8

Disc golf course gliding soon to ACU campus

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Newly elected Students’ Association President-elect Charles Gaines, junior criminal justice major from Cedar Hill, delivers his campaign speech in Moody Coliseum on Wednesday. In his speech, Gaines promised the focus of his administration would be to make SA a “Christ-centered” organization.

Godfrey wins VP race, Cochran new treasurer

By Katie Gager Student Reporter

By Michael Freeman

The Department of Exercise Science and Health will celebrate the grand opening of the ACU Wildcat Disc Golf Course at 3 p.m. on April 28 at the Sherrod Park property. The course will be the third disc golf course located in the Abilene area. The other courses in town are at Cal Young and Will Hair parks. Project director and manager Deonna Shake, instructor of exercise science and health, began work on the project in August 2008. For the last eight months, she has strived to raise funds and bring the community together to build the course. “It takes a village to make a park, and there have been a lot of people that have helped,” Shake said. “People have provided different sources of encouragement, whether it’s prayer, See

Presidential Race

Vice Presidential Race

Treasurer

Managing Editor

This year’s Students’ Association executive officers election, which featured the least voter participation in the past few years, also turned into one of the closest elections in recent history. Charles Gaines, junior criminal justice major from Cedar Hill, was elected as next year’s SA president Wednesday. He defeated Daniel Burgner, junior political science major from Yorba Linda, Calif., by a mere 11 votes. A total of 813 ballots were cast, which is 61 fewer votes than were cast last year. Gaines earned 411 votes, while Burgner

Course page 8

See

Elections page 8

Charles Gaines

411

Daniel Burgner

400

Luke Cochran

Scott Adrian

Tony Godfrey

790

325

475

acuoptimist.com: See a video of students describing why and who they voted for in the SA election

Students rope awards, good time at annual school-wide rodeo By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Tyler Allen might have resembled a rodeo veteran with his work gloves and dusty boots, but he actually

was a rodeo rookie. Allen, sophomore chemistry major from San Antonio, played the cowboy role with numerous other students Tuesday at the ACU Rodeo. For many students the annu-

al ACU Rodeo is an opportunity to shed the city slicker image, put on a pair of torn wranglers and cowboy boots and get in touch with their southern roots. The event also serves as a fundraiser for the Department of

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, allowing students from the department to attend service trips, conventions and competitions. “This is our one fundraiser for the year,” said Cason McIn-

turff, junior animal science major from Franklin, Tenn. “This is what allows us to do all of our [activities] and gives us a chance to promote our club See

Visit our Web site to see a slideshow and video profiling the ACU Rodeo

Rodeo page 8

ACU WEATHER Windy

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Online Poll :

a. Longer library hours. b. Openess with the student body. c. Christ-centered leadership. d. Nothing is going to happen.

60%

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Friday, October 17, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 17 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Students skip Chapel to dine at local barbecue restaurant

Provost retiring, moving West

Pg. 5 Savory Sushi: New restaurant diversifies Abilene eating scene

‘Jacob’s Dream’ documentary earns university Emmy nomination

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Showdown in Canyon: No. 3 ACU to play ranked rival WTAMU

Eyes on the Presidency Students gather, react to debate By Michael Freeman

By Daniel Johnson-Kim

Managing Editor

Editor in Chief

After almost 40 years of work in higher education, Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen is leaving college. VanRheenen, who served as the university’s Provost for 13 years, announced his plans to retire at the end of the fiscal year at a Faculty meeting Tuesday afternoon. The anVanRheenen nouncement came as a surprise to some faculty members, but VanRheenen, 64, said it was a decision he and his wife Joan carefully deliberated. Although he said he thoroughly enjoyed his tenure as ACU’s chief academic officer, he and his wife are eager to move to the West Coast, where their children and seven grandchildren live. “I’m sure I’ll stay very busy,” VanRheenen said. “We’ll be living close to Seattle on a little island out in the Puget Sound.” Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, wrote in an e-mail that he was working with the Faculty Senate to appoint a Search Committee to conduct a national search for VanRheenen’s replacement. Money wrote that the committee should be announced and functioning by early November. “During Dwayne’s tenure as Provost, the university has enjoyed significant gains in the academic area,” Money said in the e-mail. “My estimate is that he has overseen the hiring of about two-thirds of our current faculty.”’ Money added VanRheenen would still work as a consultant during the 2009-10 school year to help with the implementation of the new core curriculum and other “special projects.” VanRheenen received his bachelor’s degree from Harding University and earned his master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Missouri. VanRheenen said he worked in the Department of Communication at the University of Maine for 15 years; he was the Dean of Faculty for Seaver College at Pepperdine University for 11 years and has been ACU’s provost since 1996. While at ACU, VanRheenen’s colleagues said he played a large role in increasing the size and quality of the ACU faculty and curriculum, although VanRheenen humbly See

Retire page 7

Nearly three dozen students attended a presidential debatewatching party in The Grove apartment clubhouse Wednesday night, sparking student cheers and jeers, but few changed minds. As the final debate between Republican Sen. John McCain and Democratic Sen. Barack Obama got under way, the students intently watched while quietly eating pizza from Little Caesars, chips and cake, all of which were provided by The Grove and both the ACU College Democrats and ACU Young Republicans. “I was a little surprised with how many people were interested. It was a good turnout,” said Shannon Martin, senior family studies See

acuoptimist.com: Hear students’ thoughts on the third and final presidential debate

Debate page 7

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Donnovan Plummer, senior communication major from Mesquite, watches the final presidential debate between Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. John McCain at The Grove clubhouse Wednesday night.

Marijuana in Edwards lands student in jail By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

An ACU freshman from Austin was arrested and jailed Oct. 7 after the ACU Police Department found a small bag of marijuana and drug paraphernalia in the student’s room in Edwards Hall. ACU Police Chief Jimmy Ellison said ACUPD officers were called to the residence hall after several students and Kevin Claypool, Edwards Residence Director, reported a strong odor of marijuana coming from the student’s room on the first floor.

Ellison said two students were in the room, and ACUPD found drugs and several bongs and pipes. Only one student was found to be carrying drugs and was charged with possession of less than two ounces of marijuana, a class B misdemeanor. ACUPD arrested the student, whose name university officials would not release, around 7 p.m. He was taken to Taylor County Jail. “We found the drugs and placed him under arrest,” Ellison said. “It was a fairly open and shut incident.” If the freshman is convicted, he may face a fine not to

exceed $2,000 and confinement in jail for a term not to exceed 180 days, according to the Texas Penal Code. Ellison said the case already was filed with the Taylor County District Attorney’s office. In addition to facing criminal charges, the student could face university sanctions and even suspension from the university. According to the ACU Student Guide, using illegal drugs is a Category Three violation of the university policy. A Category Three violation can result in suspension from the university, an ac-

countability agreement, loss of privilege, a minimum fine of $100, loss or reduction of scholarships, eviction from university housing, delay or prohibition of registering for classes and denial or readmission without approval. Although Ellison said this incident did not produce a further investigation into drugs on campus, he said it shows these types of crimes occasionally occur on and around ACU’s campus. “There is no indication this incident was linked to any specific people or patterns,” Ellison said. “At the

same time I’m not so naïve to think this is the only incident that has occurred on campus. This is probably the one that somebody smelled and called.” Ellison added that this happens once or twice a semester, and he does not believe it is fair to assume because of these incidents there is a “drug problem” on campus. “Incidents such as this show ACU is not immune to people making poor choices,” Ellison said.

E-mail Johnson-Kim at: djj04a@acu.edu

Classrooms incorporate devices ‘Prairie Home’ brings

classic show to Moody

By Colter Hettich Features Editor

With most midterms behind students and faculty, the semester officially has reached the halfway mark. Freshmen received their iPhones 62 days ago, and one can hardly walk from building to building without spotting someone looking at or talking on a mobile device. The ACU community and the world have high expectations for the devices’ implementation in the classroom. In University Seminar classrooms, the iPhone plays an integral role. Ray Petitt, adjunct instructor of computer science, teaches a U100 for computer science majors. When he instructs his class to participate in a poll via iPhone, the room comes alive with laughter and dialogue. “This is looking painful, guys.” “Wait, I just submitted mine.” “Whoever’s voting more than once, stop it.” One student calls out, “Who misspelled Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer tasty?” Laughing, an anonymous voice John Royse, freshman computer science major from San Antonio, completes a survey about college life See iPhone page 7 with his iPhone during his U100 class.

aCU WEaTHER

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By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Radio Classic

A Prairie Home Companion, a public radio program with a national audience of more than 4 million listeners, will broadcast live from Moody Coliseum Saturday at 5 p.m. “It’s the biggest thing to ever happen to KACU,” said Terri Peterson, KACU-FM membership director and business manager. “This is the most listened program in public radio.” Based in St. Paul, Minn., the show, known for comedic segments such as “The News from Lake Wobegon” and “Guy Noir, Private Eye”, tours the country, making about 10-15 stops every year.

A Prairie Home Companion will broadcast live from Moody Coliseum Saturday at 5 p.m. The show, which has more than 4 million listeners, has broadcast from around the United States and world, including: n Canada n Ireland n Scotland n England n Germany n Iceland

After more than a two-year endeavor of bringing the radio program to campus, ACU See

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team, in addition to videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Prairie page 7

If you could vote today, who would you vote for?

a. Sen. John McCain b. Sen. Barack Obama c. Other candidate d. Sen. Hillary Clinton

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Pg. 8 Halting History: Wildcats’ loss ends historical season

Wednesday, December 3, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 27 :: 1 sections, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Pg 4

Fresh Bite: Jack in the Box opens near ACU’s campus

Pg 5

The Campus Store partnership with Staples may improve supply quality

A Holiday Secret: Students share discoveries of Santa Claus myth

ACU remembers former trustee’s leadership, influence

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

In my opinion, he was the most effective, all-around minister I’ve ever known… he could do it all. :: Dr. Royce Money, president of the university

Officials happy with fall Chapel program

Meador

Whenever Dr. Prentice Meador Jr. would call his longtime friend Dr. Royce Money after going through the switchboard to reach the president of the university, he would not begin the conversa-

and the Batsell Barrett Baxter Chair of Preaching at Lipscomb University, died Nov. 25 in Nashville after a brief illness. He was 70. But many will remember him for more than his sense of humor; they will remember his influences at ACU and on Churches of Christ.

Student Reporter

After another semester of forums, guest speakers, small groups and special presentations, Spiritual Life is wrapping up Chapel programs for the semester and taking student feedback into consideration in planning for changes in the spring. “We are blessed to be in a very positive environment where [students and faculty] are supportive of Chapel,” said Mark Lewis, assistant dean for Spiritual Life and Chapel Programs. Lewis said the Spiritual Life office has been pleased with the overall results of this semester’s campus conversations, small group and Chapels in Moody Coliseum, and most of these programs have been well received. “I felt like many aspects of Chapel improved this year,” said Beki Hamilton, sophomore integrated marketing communication major from Katy. “Tuesday Chapel was always good, and the speakers were interesting and relevant.” Despite minor glitches with the new card readers, Lewis said they have succeeded in making Chapel traffic flow more smoothly. To improve the orderly exit, the installation of additional card readers in sections G, E and M are being planned. This also will

A

CU made multiple appearances in local and national media during the fall 2008 semester — some positive, some less than positive. The launch of ACU’s iPhone Initiative attracted attention from all over the world. As the initiative nears the end of its first semester, ACU’s community and onlookers around the world want to know one thing: is it working? Dr. Bill Rankin, associate professor of English and director of ACU’s iPhone educational research team, has played a key role in the initiative from its inception. Rankin and other initiative leaders designated the first semester to familiarity.

See

Meador page 7

By Linda Bailey Student Reporter

Mobile Learning Initiative’s first semester lays foundation for future expansion By Colter Hettich Features Editor

“In my opinion, he was the most effective, all-around minister I’ve ever known,” Money said. “He could do it all. And he was a professor so he had the heart of teacher. But he had the voice of a prophet, of a public proclaimer of the

Students commit to clean up Galveston over break

Half Full

By Elizabeth Spano

See

tion by stating his name. “He would not say, ‘Hi, this is Prentice;’ he would start by saying, ‘There was this salesman…’ And he would start out with this long rambling joke,” Money said. “He loved to laugh. He was very fun-loving.” Meador, a former ACU board of trustee member

The capability this device offers is the platform for opportunity. :: George Saltsman, director of Educational Technology in the Adams Center for Teaching Excellence

“Because it’s experimental, we wanted to set the bar low,” Rankin said. “We wanted to get [iPhones] in the hands of the faculty, get people to get comfortable with the functions.” About half the faculty, 169, received their choice of iPhone or iPod touch. In addition to covering the costs of their service

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer

plan, iPhone-bearing faculty were required to attend two training sessions offered throughout the semester. By not requiring that professors use the iPhone in class, initiative leaders hoped they would use this time to acquaint themselves with the device and, See

Initiative page 3

Chapel page 7

A group of students, faculty and staff plans to spend a week during winter break, cleaning hurricane-damaged Galveston. The group will leave Dec. 14 and return Dec. 19. They will spend the week with the Clear Lake Church of Christ in an effort to rebuild damaged houses in Galveston, said Emily Garrison in the Volunteer and Service-Learning Center. “These trips are just another opportunity for students to live out their Christian call to love and serve others,” Garrison said in an e-mail. Garrison said she was not sure exactly what they would be doing in Galveston, but it probably would be similar to the first relief trip during fall break. During this trip the group spent two days gutting and clearing waterdamaged houses. Kate Huggins, sophomore biochemistry major from Abilene, went on the first trip and plans to return during winter break. “I think disaster relief is a really good eye-opener for college kids,” Huggins said. She said she thinks many people have forgotten about See

Service page 7

Graduates to take stage in December By Lezlee Gutierrez Student Reporter

With the end of the fall semester near, many students are preparing for much more than finals and Christmas break. Two hundred twenty-five students are expected to graduate next week at the 2008 December Commencement and enjoy the bittersweet ending of their college journey. The ceremony will be at Moody Coliseum Dec. 12 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the journalism and mass communication department, will be the featured speaker.

“It was hard to leave home to move here and it will definitely be hard to move again and start the next chapter of my life away from ACU,” said Abbey Carthel, senior communication science and disorders major from Amarillo. “I feel the Lord has used ACU and the entire Abilene community to transform my life in such a great way, and it’s been a wonderful experience.” Abbey has been attending ACU for three and a half years and will be getting married next semester. She also will be working in College Station in the Spring and begin graduate school in the fall.

aCU WeatHer

Although fewer students tend to graduate in December compared to May, the ceremony is just as special and important for students. Factors such as credits and students finishing earlier than expected play a role in the need for a December graduation. Many proud parents and families will be expected to visit ACU and enjoy a less-crowded Moody Coliseum as they watch their loved ones graduate and reach an important milestone in their lives. See

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More than 200 students will walk across the stage in Moody Coliseum to receive their various degrees at the December Commencement. n What: December Commencement n When: Dec. 12 (7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.) n Where: Moody Coliseum n Who: Dr. Cheryl Bacon, chair of the journalism and mass communication department, will be the featured speaker.

Graduates page 7

More from the

Wednesday

Winter Walk

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Tim Simon, senior youth and family ministry major from Lockhart, plans to graduate in December and tells about his time at ACU during Chapel Tuesday.

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube. com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

After one semester, was the Mobile Learning Initiative effective?

a. Yes. ACU has done a great job. b. Yes. This is only the beginning. c. No. Students are not using them. d. Yes. Hand out iPhones to everyone.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 44 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Pg. 5

On Call: Group of students volunteer to fight fires

Pg. 8 Softball team sweeps weekend, jumps to No. 1 in division

Local cookie company provides opportunities for unemployed refugees

Pg. 7

Gang violence text message proves to be false warning

Former student convicted of capital murder By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Former ACU student Brandon Dale Woodruff was convicted Friday of capital murder in the deaths of his parents and was sentenced to life in prison without parole. Twelve days after it began, the trial concluded when

the jury in the 354th District Court in Hunt County returned a guilty verdict after five hours of deliberations. Woodruff, 22, was stunned by the decision, said defense attorney Katherine Ferguson. Ferguson said she already has filed a notice of appeal with the 5th Court of Appeals in Dallas.

Woodruff was arrested on Oct. 24, 2005, six days after a family friend discovered the bodies of his parents, Dennis, 43, and Norma, 42, on the couch in their home near Royse City. Autopsy results determined Dennis was shot once in the head and stabbed nine times, while Norma was shot as many as five times

Trial Timeline

from bullets fired from either a .44 caliber or .45 caliber gun. Woodruff pleaded not guilty to the murders. Adrienne McFarland and Raphael Guerrero, prosecutors assigned to the case by the Texas Attorney General’s Office, made the argument See

Murder page 4

Woodruff

Oct. 16, 2005: Dennis and Norma Woodruff murdered in their home near Royce City Oct. 18, 2005: Bodies discovered by family friend Oct. 24, 2005: Brandon Woodruff arrested after his testimony proves inconsistent March 5, 2009: Capital murder trial begins in the 354th District Court in Hunt County March 20, 2009: Jury rules Woodruff is guilty of his parents’ deaths. He is sentenced to life in prison without parole.

President outlines budget changes in speech

Chinese endeavor will bring students By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Several international cultures have found a niche at ACU. Annual, sold-out shows that demonstrate aspects of those cultures testify to the community’s openness and receptivity. ACU’s reputation for diversity continues to spread, most recently to the People’s Republic of China. At least a few Chinese students will attend ACU next semester, launching an effort to draw See

China page 4

Judges feed ‘Hunger’ with awards By Lydia Melby Arts Editor

By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

A university server containing students’ password and personal information was hacked, prompting Information Technology to urge students to change their myACU account passwords. Although someone was able to illegally access the server, the evidence does not reveal that sensitive information was taken, said Kevin

Hacker page 4

Editor in Chief

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer Above: Cody Veteto, junior electronic media major from Tulsa, Okla.; Breanna Wilkins, sophomore exercise science major from Clyde; and Kim Lewis, junior English education major from Abilene, celebrate on the stage at the Paramount Theatre after their film The Hunger was named Best Picture. Below: Travis Zahodnik, junior management major from San Antonio, smiles on stage after winning the Best Producer FilmFest award.

Hacker threatens myACU security

See

By Daniel Johnson-Kim

The results are in for FilmFest 2009 “Anonymous.” The fifth annual short film competition featured awards in 14 different categories, screenings of seven of the 10 short films entered in the competition and four different musical performances. Co-hosts Byron Martin, senior psychology major from Mesquite, and Jamie Lyn Spires, senior communication major from Arlington, introduced each new category, performance and film screening, as well as provided entertainment between segments. “I was surprised at how many films were entered,” said James Vokes, junior art

FilmFest ’09 Winners

major from Atlanta. “I had only heard of two or three other people doing it, so I didn’t know there were 10.” Short film The Hunger swept the awards ceremony, taking six of the 14 awards: Best Picture, Best Drama, Best Director for Cody Veteto, Best Writer for Blake Penfield, Best Actress for Breanna Wilkins and Best Technical Director for Brian Escochea. The idea for the film was one Penfield and director Cody Veteto had come up with and written two years prior, but they had not been able to produce the film until this year, said Penfield, senior political science major from San Antonio. See

FilmFest page 4

Best Picture: The Hunger Best Director: Cody Veteto, junior electronic media major from Tulsa, Okla., for The Hunger Best Actor: Joshua Jones, senior theater major from Ranchita, Calif., for North South Best Actress: Breanna Wilkins, sophomore exercise science major for The Hunger Best Producer: Travis Zahodnik, sophomore management major from San Antonio, for Rootless Tree

acuoptimist.com See the complete list of FilmFest winners, a video and photos from the competition Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer

The uncertain economy and its effect on ACU was the central theme of the State of the University address delivered by Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, to the faculty and staff Tuesday. M o n e y declared although ACU’s endowment, which is partMoney ly invested in an array of stocks and bonds, dropped more than $55 million since reaching an all-time high of $280 million in 2008, the effect of the economy on ACU is minor compared to other universities throughout the country. In addition to a 7 percent tuition increase approved by the Board of Trustees in February, Money said the university will apply several measures in reaction to the sagging economy. ACU plans to reduce its operational budget by more than $6 million, freeze salary increases during the fiscal year of 2010 and reduce the amount the university contributes to its employees’ retirement plans from 8 percent of what faculty and staff put away for retirement to 6 percent. Money said See

Changes page 3

Filmmakers discuss issues with students By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Craig Detweiller and John Marks answer questions from students Monday after screening their film Purple State of Mind in Hart Auditorium.

As John Marks and Craig Detweiler sat in front of the Campus Center for their book signing, Detweiler pulled out a bag of chips to complement his Quizno’s sandwich. Before Detweiler had a chance to take a bite, his longtime friend and former college roommate John Marks fired off

a question, “Do you really think those chips are better for you than my delicious fries?” For Detweiler and Marks, their differences go beyond their lunch decisions. Detweiler and Marks are authors from different backgrounds; in college Detweiler began his journey into Christianity, while Marks decided to discontinue his. Although the men, who shared their thoughts

in a myriad of events on campus Monday and Tuesday, have different religious perspectives, they are still friends and both collaborated on the film Purple State of Mind. The men spoke at a special arts Chapel and had a one-hour discussion regarding faith, art and the business world Monday. This discussion was followed by another one-hour conversation that encompassed

ACU WEATHER

the filmmakers’ views on gender and sexuality. Finally 8 p.m. arrived, and the two friends screened their film Purple State of Mind in front of a crowded room in Hart Auditorium. The two friends shared a fondness for John Wayne and Bruce Springsteen that gradually transformed into a long-lasting friendship. See

Online Poll :

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High: 83 Low: 47

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Videos :: Podcasts :: Slideshows Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ::

Abilene Christian University

Did you change your myACU password?

a. Yes, I’m paranoid. b. No, I trust my information is safe. c. I couldn’t think of another password. d. Why should I change it again?

50%

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Issues page 7

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Pg. 8 Jumping up: Wildcats move to No. 3 in the nation

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 41 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Pg. 5

ACU professors collaborate on commentary of Bible

Pg. 8

Theologian’s journey: professor moves from fishing village to fishing souls

Tourney time: women’s basketball team begins postseason play

Former student on trial for murder

Connected Collaboration

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

The capital murder trial of a former ACU student will begin this week in the 354th District Court north of Dallas. Brandon Dale Woodruff, 22, has been in the Hunt County Jail ever since October 2005, following his arrest six days after a Woodruff family friend discovered Woodruff’s parents, Dennis and Norma, dead in their home near Royse City. Woodruff, who attended ACU in 2005, pleaded not guilty to the murders. He will See

University hires new Alumni Relations director

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer John Regan, vice president of Government and Education group for AT&T, gives his thoughts on mobile learning as a keynote speaker at ACU’s ConnectED Summit on Friday.

Schools, corporations discuss mobile learning acuoptimist.com

By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

Koen Daeren’s journey from Belgium to ACU for the ConnectED Summit was anything but short. The senior research engineer for the global communications company Alcatel Lucent traveled by train from Brussels, Belgium, to Paris, hopped on a more than 10-hour flight from the City of Light to Dallas and finished with a less than 40-minute flight to Abilene. But Daeren said the transatlantic trek was worth the

jet lag; the attendees ConnectED — faculty, Summit was IT profesthe perfect ensionals, devironment to velopers and See a myriad of pictures, stories and show off his administravideos on the JMC Network blog covering company’s lattors from a ACU’s ConnectED Summit est software myriad of projects and universities find possible for the ConnectED Summit, a and schools partners in the higher educa- two-day conference built for — listened to speeches, partion arena. collaboration between corpo- ticipated in workshops and “It was the smallest plane I rations and educational rep- attended sessions all focused ever took,” Daeren said about resentatives and organized on using mobile devices in an the jet he sat on to Abilene. for ACU to share its experi- educational environment. More than 400 people ence in establishing a mobile ACU faculty, staff, adminfrom four continents, eight learning initiative. istrators and students also countries and more than 30 While on campus Thurs- shared and fielded quesU.S. states convened at ACU day and Friday, conference tions about how ACU’s Mo-

bile Learning Initiative took shape and the logistics of implementing and maintaining the initiative. “The one thing we heard over and over was that it’s so great that ACU has been willing to be so open and share this,” said George Saltsman, director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning. Saltsman said the ConnectEd Summit would not have been possible without the effort of several ACU staff members and the people who worked under them. He said See

Trial page 4

By Lezlee Gutierrez Student Reporter

ACU welcomed Larry Musick (’84) as its new director of Alumni Relations on Monday. Musick recently moved with his family from Tennessee, where he was the senior director of marketing at Lipscomb University, a Christian university in Nashville. “We are very excited to be working with Mr. Musick,” said Samantha Adkins, coordinator

ConnectED page 3

See

New Hire page 4

ACU alumnus takes part in ‘Extreme’ project Two chosen as final By Chelsea Hackney Student Reporter

One ACU alumnus recently had the opportunity to demonstrate her artistic talent on the reality television show Extreme Home Makeover, an Emmy Award winning series that provides home renovations to deserving families. Rebecca Hull (’05) landed a position on the show partly because her cousin is on the crew of Makeover. “About a year ago, I mentioned to my cousin that I would love to work on the show if it ever came to Dallas,” Hull said. When the design team

headed to Keller in December, he told her he would pass along her information. He did; she heard nothing. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday went by. Hull waited on a phone call that never came. Finally, she said she gave up worrying. “If God wants me to do this, they’ll call,” Hull said. While sitting in a Taco Bell drive-thru, Hull received a call on her cell phone from Ann Cummings, the show’s producer. “She just asked, ‘How soon can you get here?’” Hull said. She rushed home, grabbed her paint and some clothes and drove straight to Keller, just outside of Fort Worth.

I wanted the opportunity and the experience of working with this caliber of designers…I would love to do it again. :: Rebecca Hull, ACU alumnus (’05)

“I blew in and got right to work,” Hull said. She was responsible for completing a faux finish, which involves using paint to create the illusion of another material such as marble or plaster. She also helped another muralist with some stenciling work. What seemed like an easy task turned out to be more than she expected.

options for Provost

“I didn’t finish until 1 a.m.,” Hull said. “I had to be there early the next day, so I just slept in my truck.” But in spite of the cold and the stress, Hull was glad she chose to go. “I wanted the opportunity and the experience of working with this caliber of designers,” See

Makeover page 4

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

The Provost Search Committee narrowed the search for a new university Provost down to two, according to an e-mail Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, sent Monday. Dr. Rob Stewart, Interim Vice Provost at Texas Tech University, and Dr. Jeanine Varner, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, are the two finalists the Provost Search Committee recommended after several weeks of interviews and deliberations.

ACU WEATHER

Both candidates will meet with faculty and various groups on campus during the week after spring break. “As we move toward a decision, I ask for your prayers that God will bless the candidates, the discernment of the search committee and the future of ACU,” Money said in the e-mail. The hunt for a new Provost began after the current provost, Dr. Dwayne VanRheenan, announced his plans to retire in October. E-mail Freeman at: mxf04b@acu.edu

Online Poll :

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a. I hope I live through them.. b. I don’t have any hard exams. c. I’m stuck in the Brown Library. d. I’m just ready for spring break.

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Friday, November 21, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 26 :: 2 sections, 12 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 4A

Pg 6A

Local running club sponsors Turkey Day 5K race

Pg. 5A: A ‘Wedding’ to Remember: Play addresses racial issues

Championship merchandise sparks spike in The Campus Store sales

Pg 7A

Bring Your Own Bean: Tailgate party scheduled for Friday

ACU officials still determining fate of Bean Sprout By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

As traffic drastically declined in the Bean Sprout Grill and Café this semester, rumors circulated among students that the eatery on the bottom floor of the Campus

Center soon will close. However, those are just rumors. ACU Dining Services along with ARAMARK and a focus group comprised of about 20 students have been meeting and researching viable options for the future of oncampus eateries, such as

the Bean Sprout, for the last three weeks. No final decision for those eateries has been reached, said Anthony Williams, director of Retail and Campus Stores Manager. “We are firmly committed to creating a premiere dining experience on this campus,”

Williams said. “No final decision has been made. We’ve just had some conversations on what to do.” Over the last two years, ACU has conducted a comprehensive study of the dining on campus with the objective of providing its users

improvements. Other food locations around campus, such as the Bagel Wagon in the Hardin Administration Building, the Connections Café in the Mabee Business Building, the Fatted Café in the Biblical

the best dining experience. Last year, the Hilton Food Court, which features Quizno’s, Pizza Hut and Chickfil-A restaurants, opened in the Campus Center. On Aug. 9, the “World Famous Bean” re-opened after a summer of extensive renovations and

See

Sprout page 7A

Prices To Be Thankful For

Wildcat disc golf course to be built on campus By Sondra Rodriguez Student Reporter

ACU students can expect a professionally designed nine-hole disc golf course to open on the Sherrod Residential Park in the spring. Deonna Shake, professor and Wildcat Disc Golf Project Director, said the course, currently under construction, was designed by Professional Disc Golf Association member Jay Redding and will feature cement tee pads, picnic areas, benches and tee signs. It will be free to use and available to students and community members. Campus groups and social clubs were asked to donate $500 to sponsor a hole or $250 to split a hole with another donor. These donations will cover the estimated installation fee of $1,000 per hole, and sponsors will have their logos printed on tee signs throughout the course. Social clubs such as Sub-T 16, Alpha Kai Omega and GATA have contributed, as well as The Campus Store, athletic department and the Campus Activities Board. “I think it’s a great opportunity to get a club’s name on something that is permanent,” Shake said. The course also will have picnic tables, benches and a kiosk. Shake said $13,000 was raised so far for the entire course. Amy Finn, social director for GATA, said GATA was one of the first clubs to accept sponsorship of a hole. “It’s another way to have our name out on campus,” she said. “A lot of people who aren’t in club will be playing on them, so it gets our name out.” Women of the club had a three-day bake sale in the Campus Center to raise the $500. Finn said because of the upcoming construction to Gibson, gym availability will lessen, and students will look for another sport to play. “It’s another open field to add a sport to,” Finn said. “It will be fun to have a new sport on campus.” Planning the disc golf course began this summer when Shake learned she had to teach the first disc golf class in the fall. “It was my job to get familiar with the sport and be able to teach it,” she said. “It’s free, you don’t need much equipment to See

Disc page 7A

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer

Gas prices across the state and nation dipped below $2. At this Shell station on South 1st Street, regular gasoline was selling for $1.75 a gallon Wednesday evening.

Gas prices drop dramatically in Texas, across nation By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

With Thanksgiving a few days away, many students will make the long drive home. Gas prices have dropped to under $2, and while filling up their vehicles’ tanks may cause an economic blow for some travelers, the prices might have fallen just enough to ease the economic bruising. Some gas prices were as high as $2.67 a gallon but now have dropped to about $1.88 a gallon, according to www.texasgasprices.com. This may place some people into a traveler’s limbo, not knowing whether or not they should take the journey home by plane or automobile. Many travelers consider early arrival, security checks and possible lost luggage as opposed to an on-road excursion filled with three or more pit stops to refuel a car. Student traveler Luke Pinson, senior accounting major from Cookeville, Tenn., was faced

The best part is just the fact that people are ice skating outside in West Texas.

:: Karen Mendoza, event coordinator for the Ice House skating rink

AcU WeATHeR Saturday

Sunday

High: 50 Low: 35

High: 64 Low: 49

High: 72 Low: 45

Rising Prices Although gas prices dropped in past months, the average price per gallon since the beginning of the decade has increased. Date Nov. 19, 2000 Nov. 18, 2002 Nov. 22, 2004 Nov. 20, 2006 Nov. 17, 2008

U.S. $1.44 $1.37 $1.90 $2.21 $2.02

Texas $1.40 $1.33 $1.82 $2.12 $1.94

Source: Energy Information Administration

$1.75 and $1.72 if the consumer used a WalMart credit or shopping card, and the Fina next to I-20 was $1.75 as well. To enjoy Thanksgiving with his family, Ryan Rampton, senior youth and family ministries See

Drop page 7A

Ice House skating rink returns to Abilene By Zak Zeinert Chief Photographer

The Ice House skating rink is returning Friday for its third year of winter fun and festivities. Despite weather-related prob-

More from the

Friday

with this dilemma. Pinson drives a Ford Escape, and for Thanksgiving he is traveling with his brother to Tennessee. While on the road, they usually stop three times in order to refuel, not including the first tank of gas they buy before they even begin the gas-guzzling trek. “I drive home every year. No matter what the gas prices were, we were going home regardless,” Pinson said. “It is a comfort to know that we don’t have to pay as much. I was pretty excited when I saw that the prices had dropped; I put in $20, and the tank was pretty full.” Pinson also said that before they travel he and his brother locate the cheapest gas destinations by using www.GasBuddy.com, a Web site that points out the cheaper gas stations on traveling route. Stations around Abilene listed prices less than $1.80. The Shell on Judge Ely was $1.79, while the Fina and Allsup’s station next to it was $1.75. The Murphy USA next to Wal-Mart was

lems in its first year, the skating rink is back once again to provide joy to the community. Located at Nelson Park Festival Gardens, the skating rink is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity and will benefit the

nonprofit organization, as well as the Dyess We Care team. Karen Mendoza, event coordinator, said the skating rink was a big hit in the last few years. “It really has. It’s been great for the community and

it’s family-fun entertainment,” Mendoza said. The park will open at 6 p.m. Friday and will remain open every day of the week, See

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Ice page 7A

What are you doing for Thanksgiving?

a. Stuck in Abilene. b. Heading home. c. Road trip! d. Doing homework.

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Pg. 8: Nine down, one to go: Cats positioned to win LSC title

Wednesday, November 5, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 19 :: 1 sections, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 3

Pg 4

Part of the club: Social club pledging process comes to end

ACU for IRC sponsors weeklong donation drive to aid refugees

Pg 5

A fine tuned story: Abilene piano tuner devotes life to craft

Obama triumphs in historic race Taylor County backs McCain Staff Report JMC Network

Barack Hussein Obama did not win Texas or Taylor County, but the 47year-old Illinois senator collected the electoral votes necessary to secure his position as the nation’s 44th president and first black president. Obama, 47, defeated Sen. John McCain after accumulating substantially more than the 270 electoral votes necessary to win the presidential office. McCain won Texas’ 34 electoral votes 55 percent to Obama’s 44 percent, but after securing several swing states early in the night, it became evident that Obama would be the victor. The Illinois senator lagged far behind John McCain in Taylor County with McCain securing 72.36 percent of the vote compared to Obama’s 26.73 percent. With an Obama figurine and mask on a shelf, a large white flag emblazoned with the Democratic donkey and a similarly styled cake waiting to be cut in the kitchen, a dozen or so people gathered around the TV, watching the election results on the screen between two life-sized posters, one of a smiling Obama and one of a saxophone-playing Bill Clinton. The atmosphere was marked by relaxed attentiveness; individuals carried on soft conversations with one another. Several wore patriotic red, white and blue garb, others T-shirts colored with the smiling face of Obama. With each state called blue, the crowd burst into joyous shouts and hi-fived each other. As CNN declared the new president See

Obama page 3

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Dakwaun Hampton, sophomore business major from Waco, cheers with other Barack Obama supporters at an election watching party in the Campus Center Living Room when the Democratic nominee was named president elect of the United States. Obama will be the first black president in the history of the United States.

acuoptimist.com: See a video profiling Election Day in Abilene.

Students react with excitement, shock By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

When Charlie Gibson of ABC News announced Sen. Barack Obama (D – Ill.) would be the 44th president of the United States of America shortly after 10 p.m. Tuesday, nearly 20 ACU students erupted in

cheers, applause and exhilaration at the Rock the Vote Election Watch Party in the Campus Center Living Room. “This is monumental, baby!” one student yelled. “This is past historical!” another shouted. The students, most of See

2008 Election Results U.S. Presidency

U.S. Senate

U.S. Representative

Winner: Barack Obama (D)

Winner: John Cornyn (R)

Winner: Randy Neugebauer (R)

Electoral College Obama (338 votes) McCain (156 votes)

Texas Cornyn (53%) Rick Noriega (44%)

U.S. District 19 Neugebauer (72%) Fullinghim (24%) Peterson (2%)

Popular Vote Obama (52%) McCain (47%) Texas McCain (53%) Obama (45%)

Obama

Taylor County Cornyn (73.28%), Noriega (24.43%)

Cornyn

Taylor County McCain (34,265), Obama (12,658)

Opinion Page Editor

In response to rumors that the Campus Center’s bowling alley will be converted into offices, bands The Rockin’ Extensions and Swing the Lead will perform a concert to promote the bowling alley

at 6:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Living Room. A petition for students to sign may be circulated at the concert, said Tim Thyne, junior finance major from Chicago and bass player for The Rockin’ Extensions. At See

Winner: Susan King (R) Texas District 71 King (88 %) Walton (11 %)

Taylor County Sheriff

Winner: Les Bruce (R) Neugebauer

Bruce (32,573 votes) Casarez (13,508 votes)

*Results as of 12:30 a.m. Tuesday evening

Reaction page 7

Bands play to save ACU bowling alley By Laura Acuff

Taylor County Neugebauer (71.43%) Fullinghim (25.77%) Peterson (2.8%)

State Representative

Bands page 7

ACU WEATHER

Panel debates, discusses ’08 presidential election By Zak Zeinert Chief Photographer

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Kristina Campos, assistant professor of communication, gives her opinion, while panel members listen at Wednesday’s political forum and debate.

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More than 100 students gathered in Hart Auditorium Wednesday to watch as Republicans and Democrats debated amongst themselves over the political candidates. The Students’ Association and the JMC Network spon-

sored the event, titled “We the People,” to help better inform students on where each candidate stands on key issues. Panelists were asked questions from a moderator and also took questions from the audience. Neal Coates, professor of political science and a panelist See

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Debate page 7

Do you think Barack Obama will be a successful president?

a. Yes, he is ready to lead. b. No, I’m waiting for 2012. c. He won’t make any difference. d. Only history will tell.

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 16 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 3

Award recognizes ACU student’s research in microwave chemistry

Pg 5

Pg. 8 Waiting game: Cats cruise past Rams, prepare for WTAMU Pg 8

One God, many languages: International church offers cosmopolitan atmosphere

Volleyball team loses to Angelo State for first time since ’02

Missions, dedication to students defines life

Purple and White Flight

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Casper Hove-Mcghee, sophomore at Cooper High School, lifts a white tarp, sending purple and white balloons into the air at the third annual TRiO balloon release in the mall area Monday.

Balloon release aims to promote programs By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Flashes of purple and white briefly dotted Monday afternoon’s gray overcast sky as ACU TRiO members released more than 700 balloons into the air. The purple and white balloons took flight as part of the third annual Columbus Day balloon release in front of Moody Coliseum, which was meant to endorse TRiO and its theme for this year “Discovery of the New World of Education.”

“We do this to promote the concept of TRiO students to those folks who may not know us,” said Mark Upton, director of the Talent Search Program. “And to continually keep our name in front of people, helping them understand how we help the students in Abilene and how we help the students on campus. It’s also a nice way to promote ACU for our high school students.” ACU TRiO programs, which include the Educational Talent Search Program,

Upward Bound, the Alpha Scholars Program and the McNair Scholars Program, cater to middle school, high school and college students by helping low-income, first-generation college and disabled students with counseling, tutoring, test preparation, research techniques and internships. “By hosting those four grants, [students] are able to start in the sixth grade here in Abilene, and we can assist them all the way through their PhD,” Upton said. Six high school soph-

omore students from Abilene High School and Cooper High School attended the balloon release as well as Monday’s Chapel and toured campus before returning to school. More than 1,000 students in the Abilene area currently are enrolled in one of TRiO’s four programs. The Department of Education supports the programs, all of which are grant-funded by the government. Members from TRiO began inflating balloons at 8 a.m. Monday. When Chapel

ended, more than 700 balloons had been prepared. After the balloon release, students partook of the about 1,000 soft drinks TRiO offered. “Today’s balloon release was a ‘Discovery of the New World’ as we discover the new world of education for our students,” Upton said. “The balloons represent that the sky is the limit.”

Known for his scrupulous teaching style and passion for medical mission work, Dr. John C. Little, professor emeritus of biology, played an integral part in shaping and guiding students’ lives during his 35 years at ACU. Little passed away Oct. 7 in Little Abilene after a long battle with leukemia. He was 71. “He was interested in helping people,” said Dr. Perry Reeves, professor of chemistry and premedical adviser at ACU. “He was an excellent teacher but a pretty challenging teacher. His goal was to be sure students were prepared for the challenges they’d meet when they went to medical and dental school.” Little served as a professor, premedical adviser, chair of the Health Professions Advisory Committee and chair of the Department of Biology, all while helping more than 200 ACU students get into medical schools and more than 100 into dental schools. His attention to detail aided in students’ endeavors for life after ACU. “One of the things that I was really impressed with him about was how well he knew course numbers across this campus,” said Dr. Jim Nichols, chair of the Department of Biology. “Like you could say ‘English 365,’ and he knew what it was. He was a really good person to help students plan out their schedules.” Little began his teaching career at ACU in 1961 after earning an associate’s degree from Florida Christian College in 1956 and a bachelor’s See

E-mail Freeman at: mxf04b@acu.edu

Little page 4

ACU joins national effort to survey young voters

Asian fashion show to aid cancer fight

By Zak Zeinert

The Office of Multicultural Enrichment and the Ajisai Team combined to produce “Ajisai: Four Seasons Fashion Show,” scheduled to take place in the Teague Special Events Center Friday. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show begins at 7:30 p.m. “Ajisai,” Japanese for Asian fashion, adeptly titles the production, which features traditional and modern Asian dress, free food, vocal and instrumental performances and a performance by ACU’s SHADES, said Whitney Puckett, a show

Chief Photographer

Round Three

Two professors conducted surveys among students to ascertain how debates change voter perception at ACU. Cindy Roper, associate professor of communication, and Kristina Campos, professor of communication, passed out surveys before and after presidential debates as part of a study done by Uvote2008. The next survey is at the final presidential

The third and final Presidential debate will be 8 p.m. Wednesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. The debate will be moderated by CBS’s Bob Schieffer. Several stations will broadcast the debate.

See

n ABC, *Channel 4 n NBC, *Channel 5 n FOX, *Channel 6 n CNN, *Channel 54 n MSNBC, *Channel 63 n FOX NEWS, *Channel 44 *ACU cable channels

Debate page 4

ACu WeATheR

By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

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Asian Fashion The Office of Multicultural Enrichment will sponsor the “Ajisai: Four Seasons Fashion Show” n When: Friday, 7 p.m. n Where: Teague Special

I think it was just very important to them that Asians get represented in a way…that’s not just cherry blossoms and kimonos and dragons… :: Whitney Puckett, sophomore interior design major from Melbourne, Fla.

organizer and sophomore interior design major from Melbourne, Fla. Ideas for the Asian-themed fashion show began forming after last semester’s fashion show, “Exposed: A Fashion Story,” Puckett said, starting with four or five Asian students wanting to share their

unique, culturally-shaped sense of fashion with the Abilene community. “I think it was just very important to them that Asians get represented in a way that was more modern and a way that’s not just cherry blossoms and kimonos and dragons and things like that Americans can

typically put in a stereotype for them,” Puckett said. “They wanted to be represented and they wanted to show what they’ve got.” The production benefits the National Breast Cancer Foundation, which will See

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Fashion page 4

Are you going to watch the final presidential debate?

a. Yes, I still haven’t made my choice. b. Yes, [Insert candidate] will win. c. No, I’m tired of election coverage. d. Maybe if I didn’t have a midterm.

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Wednesday, March 18, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 42 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Multicultural Enrichment office presents one-man show

Pg. 5

Pg. 8 Nationally ranked Wildcats split weekend series Pg. 8

The most altruistic meal of the day: Breakfast ministry helps homeless

ACU athlete wins NCAA heptathalon national title

Cabinet members say SA moving past impeachment By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

New Students’ Association President Sarah Pulis said the SA Congress is focused on looking forward and moving past the impeachment of her predecessor Daniel Paul Watkins, which rose after

long-lasting issues among the Cabinet members. In her first interview since she became SA President, Pulis, senior political science major from Longview, argued the impeachment was a legitimate process that was a final solution to resolve issues of unethical behavior, deception and

divisive actions by Watkins, senior political science major from Fredericksburg, Va. “I think that the impeachment was the right decision, not only for our Cabinet, but our student body,” Pulis said. The Students’ Association Congress voted 25-5-2 to impeach Watkins on March

4. In the impeachment hearing, which was closed to the public, Chief Financial Officer Luke Cochran charged Watkins with failure “to lead the Students’ Association in a positive manner,” accused him of “disrespect for the Abilene Christian University community” and said he did

not “adhere to the ethical standards of conduct as noted in the Abilene Christian University Campus Policies.” Cochran said Watkins also damaged a chair worth more than $250 and damaged a framed picture in the SA Congress office that would have cost more than $200 to re-

place. Cochran said rather than spend students’ money on replacing the frame, the Cabinet members chose to purchase a cheaper frame. Watkins refuted the charges and declared the impeachment was unconstitutional See

SA page 4

‘A Question of When’ By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Courtesy of Tittle Luther Architecture

Possible features of the ACU Student Recreation and Wellness Center

Early plans for the ACU Student Recreation and Wellness Center include a rock climbing wall that would be available for students to use.

More than 9,000 square feet in the SRWC will be reserved to house weight lifting equipment that students can use on a regular basis.

A “sunning area” will give students a place to work on their tan. The area will be built next to the new leisure swimming pool adjacent to the existing pool.

10,000 square feet of new aerobic space will be built on the second floor of the SRWC to meet a student demand for treadmills and other aerobic machines.

At least one new “multifunctional” gym will be built for a total of 21,402 square feet of gymnasium space equipped for basketball and other sports and activities.

The existing swimming pool in the Gibson Health and P.E. Center will be remodeled and a 5,000 square-foot leisure pool will be built in the SRWC.

Rec Center takes top spot in implementation of vision

S

ome first year students fear weight gain, but ACU has a facility in mind that could make the “freshman fifteen” a thing of the past. The ACU Student Recreation and Wellness Center, SRWC, will cover 100,000 square feet of two stories. The eastern section of the Gibson Health and P.E. Center, including the double gym, single gym and racquetball courts, will be demolished or remodeled. Sixteen parking spaces between the Amphitheatre and tennis courts will be removed to make room for the new center. “We’re looking at the gaps in the total student experience, and there are some gaps,” said Phil Boone, assistant vice president for development. “[The SRWC] is the No. 1 priority of the 21st Century Vision.” At its core, the Student Recreation and Wellness Center is a tool the university thinks will attract, recruit and retain students, Boone said. He said many incoming and enrolled students expect access to a place on campus where they can workout

or play pick-up games of various sports; the minds behind ACU’s SRWC tailored the facility to student needs. “Student use is the No. 1 driving factor in these decisions, and the two things students said the most were free time and court space and ample use of cardiovascular equipment,” Boone said. “Basically, you walk in and always have a machine available. That really is the goal.” Recreation centers that students enjoy today evolved over decades. In Trends in Collegiate Recreational Sports Facilities, Craig T. Bogar examined the evolution process. The University of Michigan constructed an Intramural Sports Building on campus in 1928. The $743,000 facility featured 13 squash courts, 14 handball courts and 3,000 lockers. The Intramural Sports Building is one of the earliest examples of an on-campus building dedicated to recreational sports. Similar structures began popping up all over the country. In 1972, Title IX of the Education See

Rec Center page 4

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Christina Cortinez, freshman elementary education major from Abilene, and other students exercise in the south exercise room in Gibson Health and P.E. Center. ACU is raising funds to build a new recreation and wellness center.

ACU students testify in Woodruff murder trial

Malagasy president resigns after coup

By Michael Freeman

Marc Ravalomanana, president of Madagascar, resigned Tuesday, a day after soldiers overtook a presidential palace and the central bank in Antananarivo, Madagascar, and an opposition leader commanded the army to arrest the island country’s president.

Managing Editor

Testimony in the capital murder trial of former ACU student Brandon Dale Woodruff continued Tuesday in the 354th District Court in Hunt County after testimonies from current and former ACU students.

Staff Report

Prosecutors have alleged Woodruff killed his parents in October 2005; he has pleaded not guilty. After nine days into the trial, Texas Ranger Jeff Collins, the lead investigator; Dr. Lynn Salzberger, medical examiner See

Trial page 4

Ravalomanana, who visited ACU’s campus twice and spoke at the May 2008 Commencement, announced he was dissolving the country’s government and handing power over to the military, which stormed the gates of the unoccupied palace Monday with several tanks and armored vehicles, according to the Associated Press.

Randy Rajoelina, the former mayor of the capital city, has led weeks of protests against Ravalomanana. Rajoelina, a former disc jockey, accused Ravalomanana of corruption and running a dictatorship. Rajoelina declared himself the leader of a transitional government during the weekend and

ACU WEATHER

said no public elections will take place in two years, according to the AP. According to the Times of London, the majority of the country’s army was behind opposition leader Rajoelina, but several military personnel still were supporting the president. See

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High: 85 Low: 51

High: 67 Low: 49

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Abilene Christian University

How do you feel about the ACU Student Recreation and Wellness Center?

a. It’s about time. b. What a waste of money. c. If they build it, students will come. d. When does construction begin?

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Page 10: Scott, Knox drafted into NFL; Malone earns try-out with Bills

Wednesday, April 29, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 53 :: 1 sections, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Student wins SpringBoard contest with football-inspired business plan

Pg. 3

University to offer new peace and social justice minor

Pg. 6-7

West Texas Flames: An in-depth look at grass fires in the area

Library open late for final push By Lezlee Gutierrez Student Reporter

The pressure of the end of the semester and finals week may be on students’ minds, but the Brown Library is offering some extra help. The library will extend its hours of operation during the last two weeks of the semester to assist students

as they prepare for final exams. The new extended hours began Sunday and will conclude May 7. The library will be open Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. until 3 a.m., including Wednesday evenings from 6-8:30 p.m. It also will be open Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 3 a.m. and Sundays from 1:30 p.m. until 3 a.m., including 5 -7 p.m. on

Sunday evenings. The library will close May 8, the last day of finals week, at 5 p.m. “The most important aspect of this idea is to provide a response to the request for additional hours at the library from the students,” said Dr. Mark McCallon, assistant director of the Brown Library and associate professor of library science.

The addition of the extended hours initiated as a request from the 2007-08 Students’ Association Congress for the library to offer more hours for students to study and use the computers in the facility during finals week. The library then began offering more hours See

Library page 5

Dick Schissler :: staff photographer Lora Courtney, senior interior design major from Auburn, CA.; Casey Cope, graduate student from Coppell; and Angela Darden, graduate student from Midland study in the Brown library on Monday.

The Faithless Few

Christian

Slice of student body pledges no allegiance to Christian beliefs

Christian Other

By Camille Vandendriessche Assistant Copy Editor Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, throws a disc at the Disc Golf Demo outside of Moody Coliseum on Tuesday. The demo was offered in conjunction with the grand opening of the Wildcat Disc Golf Course at Sherrod Park.

Disc golf pros help roll out campus course By Shelby Holt Student Reporter

What is 650 feet long and can be found in Sherrod Park? Hole five at the new Wildcat Disc Golf Course. Not only does ACU have the bragging rights to the longest disc golf hole in Abilene, it also has a one-of-a-kind course created by disc golf professional and world champion, Jay Reading. Reading, who attended the University of Northern Iowa, played football and blocked for NFL quarterback Kurt Warner; but to relax, he and his friends turned to disc golf. Now Reading and his wife, Des, are world champion disc golf professionals See

Course page 5

Christian

W

hen he is home, Thomas Robinson lives with his parents at the top of a church. He attends every Sunday service and knows most of the faces at Manhattan Church of Christ, where his father is a senior minister. However, Robinson does not believe in God. Robinson, senior English major from New York City, said he used to be Christian but now is atheist. “It’s hard to say when it happened,” Robinson said. “It’s not one thing that kicked me off. I just had to be honest with myself. Admitting was a hard thing; it felt like I was betraying an old friend.” Like Robinson, about 5-10 percent of the student body is not Christian, according to the office According to the office of of Admissions and Enrollment Admissions and Enrollment Management. The proportion of non-Christians is greater among international students, the office said. Steven Gist, international students’ recruiter, said the majority of students from East Asia are not Christian, with the exception of Malaysians and Koreans. In Japan, less than 1 percent of the population is Christian, Gist said. “I have no hard data, but 50-50 is what it feels like to me,” Gist said, relying on his conversations with international students and to the “preference” box students check on application forms. Laura Blake, coordinator of International Students Services, said she thinks the ratio of Christians to non-Christians among international students is a little higher, “maybe 6040,” because most African and Latin American students at ACU are Christians. Blake said international students come from diverse cultures and include Muslims, Buddhists and non-believers, but most feel welcome and fit easily into ACU’s student body.

Five to 10 percent of the student body is not Christian.

Christian “Some students struggle in Bible classes,” Blake said. “[Bible classes] are one of the most challenging parts of being a non-Christian student at ACU. It might help these students to talk to Christian friends who could help explain what is being discussed in the Bible classes.” Dan McVey, professor of Islamic studies and world religion and a former missions coordinator in Africa, lived in Ghana for 23 years and knows what it feels like to have a different faith than the majority. McVey lived in Accra, the capital of Ghana, for most of the time and also spent five years in Yendi, where Islam is dominant. McVey said one of the difficulties for non-Christian students at ACU is dealing with classes that are colored with the perspective of a conservative, American Christian culture. He also said non-Christian students often feel a sense of condescension from many of the other students and even faculty. However, McVey said international students are eager to adjust and make the most of their educational experiences, and he is pleased with the steps the university has taken toward greater diversity in Chapel programs and the way classes are taught. Patrick Wei, a Chinese exchange student from Shanghai, said he came to ACU to learn about communication and Christian culture. He said he is interested in learning how the Christian culture contributes to the social stability and has enjoyed the hospitality of Christians in Abilene. See

Non-Christian page 4

Students tackle Outdoor Club Challenge By Shelby Holt Student Reporter

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Nick Martinez, graduate student from San Antonio, and Jacob Luedecke, sophomore psychology major from San Antonio, paddle hard during the canoe section of the Red Dirt Adventure Challenge on Saturday.

The Red Dirt Adventure Challenge on Saturday proved successful, reaching its fundraising goal and involving more than 30 teams. The Outdoor Club organized the marathon event, which included running, bike riding and canoeing. “The turnout was good; we had 72 participants and about 30 volunteers,” said Alex Wann, president of the Outdoor Club and junior environmental science major from Torrington, Wyo.

The turnout was good; we had 72 participants and about 30 volunteers.

:: Alex Wann, president of the Outdoor Club and junior environmental science major from Torrington, Wyo.

Although this year’s involvement numbers declined from prior years, no one’s spirits dropped, said Colter Lane, codirector of the Red Dirt Adventure Challenge and junior physics major from Kalispell, Mont. “Due to the date of the event — it’s toward the end of the semester — and the amount of other events going on,

we’re happy with the outcome,” Lane said. Extending the marathon’s registration deadline to Saturday proved a success because the Outdoor Club had five teams sign up on the morning of the race, Lane said. Even with the relative success of the event, some details went awry.

ACU WEATHER

“We had a miscommunication between staff members and a few course difficulties, but everything worked out in the end,” Lane said. One ACU student was injured in a biking accident that called for paramedics, he said. “The student was bandaged by the paramedic and insisted on finishing the race with his partner,” Wann said. The marathon began with a running section, and then continued through the canoeing section. The weather Saturday was See

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Thursday

Friday

High: 79 Low: 65

High: 84 Low: 66

High: 82 Low: 58

Videos :: Podcasts :: Slideshows Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ::

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Is ACU welcoming to students who are not Christians?

a. No. They are mistreated. b. I don’t know. I have not met one. c. No. They should leave. d. Everyone is welcome at ACU.

40% Wednesday

Outdoor page 5

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Pg. 8 Another for the win column: ACU extends streak to three

Wednesday, January 28, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 31 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 3

Pg 4

Alumnus to take 19th century clock on ‘Antique Roadshow’

Pg 10

Free campus food a text message away for ACU community

Dino-Fight: Jurassic statue causes stir in Downtown Abilene

Wintry weather shuts down ACU Staff Report It was a slippery, frigid and icy Tuesday for the ACU community after a sudden sweep of cold weather, sleet, freezing rain and ice on Abilene’s roads caused university officials to close down the campus for the first time in more than two years. An Arctic cold front came through the area Monday, causing temperatures in Abilene to drop below freezing and stay in

the mid-20s. The freezing temperatures mixed with moisture that originated from the Gulf of Mexico and created the sleet and freezing rain that caused the day’s hazardous and slippery conditions. “You just don’t see this very often,” said Patrick McCullough, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in San Angelo. “We only get a little bit of ice and snow every year, but it doesn’t take much ice to create some real travel issues.”

The last time ACU closed down its campus because of snow and ice was on Nov. 30, 2006, when a snow storm prompted university officials to cancel the school day and close all campus offices. McCullough said more than one-fourth of an inch of ice covered Abilene’s roads Tuesday, and up to onefourth of an inch of ice and sleet is expected to fall from the sky Tuesday evening. The ice should thaw by Wednes-

acuoptimist.com See photos and a video of the wintry weather that blanketed Abilene and ACU Tuesday.

day afternoon, when temperatures are expected to reach as high as 50 degrees. See

Freeze page 7

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Trent Dietz, freshman physics major from Longmont, Colo., scrapes ice from the windshield of a car parked by Nelson Hall on Tuesday afternoon.

RA spots marijuana in McKinzie trash can By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Students fill the Learning Commons in the Brown Library Monday evening. Despite a demand for longer library hours, officials say it is logistically impossible.

Time Dispute

Library unable to meet student demand for longer hours By Zak Zeinert Chief Photographer

F

rom Nov. 30 through Dec. 12 Brown Library extended its hours of operation from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Monday through Friday. The extension was intended to give students the opportunity to spend more time studying for finals. However, many students believe this extension should be the normal schedule. Some find it irritating they cannot stay in the library past midnight, and others dislike the random times such as Wednesday nights when the library closes for an hour and a half at 6 p.m. Zach Cook, junior business management and finance major from Carrollton, said he thinks the current library hours could use some amending. “They’re horrible. For one, they close down

for church and religious services. I think that a university that claims that you don’t have to be a Christian to go here shouldn’t close down stuff for religious reasons,” Cook said. Mark Tucker, dean of Library and Information Resources, said the library hours barely have changed since he first began working at ACU. “We have made some modest changes. We started opening at 1:30 p.m. on Sundays instead of 1 p.m. to allow workers to have lunch after church,” Tucker said. He said requests have been made to open the library all day, every day, but logistically speaking, it is not something he can handle. “That is very expensive, and we’re not funded to do that,” Tucker said. “That’s the best explanation I have.” Cook said he can understand the library being See

Library page 4

Brown Library Hours: Monday

7 a.m. - Midnight

Tuesday

7 a.m. - Midnight

Wednesday

7 a.m. - 6 p.m. 8:30 p.m. - Midnight

Thursday

7 a.m. - Midnight

Friday

7 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Saturday

9 a.m. - 6 p.m.

Sunday

Trace amounts of marijuana were found in a McKinzie Hall residence room Jan. 20, but the ACU Police Department did not press criminal charges because so little was found. A resident assistant discovered flakes of marijuana in a trash can while conducting a room check and subsequently filed a report to the ACU Police Department at 12:41 a.m. Officers investigated the scene and confiscated the marijuana, which totaled Ellison to less than one gram. The students living in the room were not present at the time of the investigation. Because the evidence was not a usable amount and nobody could be affirmatively linked to the marijuana, no criminal charges were filed; however, the Office of Judicial Affairs is conducting an investigation to see if a policy violation was committed. “While it may not be a criminal offense that can be filed because of the residual amounts and no one being present, it’s still conceivably a policy violation that the university would pursue,” said Jimmy Ellison, chief of the ACU Police Department. “The presence of any amount of drugs or contraband on campus is still a policy violation.” Violations of the university drug policy qualify as category three violations, according the drug policy in the 2008-09 Student Handbook. Disciplinary responses to category three violations may include eviction from university housing, loss of scholarships or suspension from the university. The university philosophy of discipline outlined in the 2008-09 Student Handbook states that the “members of our community are called to a high standard of behavior in

1:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. 7 p.m. - Midnight

See

Marijuana page 7

Fourteen Sing Song acts continue practice, preparation for show By Lydia Melby Arts Editor

The stakes are getting higher and practices more intense as ACU gears up for what is perhaps its biggest event of the year: Sing Song. This year, the 53rd annual event is called

“Believe,” and its preparations are just as intense as in the years preceding it. Although Sing Song 2009 may be as traditional as always, it also will have some new features to offer. Along with the usual host and hostess performers, fourteen dif-

ACU WEATHER

ferent acts will participate. These acts showcase most of the men and women’s social clubs on campus, four class acts for each year/classification and the IEH multicultural act comprised of three separate clubs—the International Students Association,

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Essence of Ebony and Hispanos Unidos. Anna Peters, senior children and family ministry major from Houston, is one of the co-directors for the IEH act and said, “The three groups are having the time of their life. IEH this year wants

to give to Sing Song a taste of cultural competency and how the movement of choreography and music can bring us all together under one roof.” The IEH act is not the only group reporting significant progress. Hannah Anderson, senior elementary education

major from Waco and director of the Sigma Theta Chi act, said her club also is moving right along in its practices. “We’re just in the stage of perfecting it and polishing up our act. We’ve learned all the See

Sing Song page 7

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube. com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

How did you spend Tuesday’s icy break?

a. Sliding on the ice around campus. b. Off the roads and indoors. c. Catching up on homework. d. Thanking God for the extra sleep.

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Pg. 8 Hitting Regionals: Men win spots, women to compete Friday

Friday, October 3, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 13 :: 1 section, 8 pages ::

Inside This Issue:

Pg 2

Pg 3

‘World Famous Bean,’ The Den ammend hours of operation

Essence of Ebony promotes voter registration at Rock the Vote event

ACU police report drop in crime during ’07

By Elizabeth Coffee Student Reporter

The ACU Police Department has released its 2007 Crime Statistics Report to the public in accordance with the Jeanne Cleary Act; crime as a whole has dropped from previous years in most of the documented categories. Ellison “Fighting crime is a community effort,” said ACU police chief Jimmy Ellison. The report covers 11 different kinds of incidents: murder, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, motor vehicle theft, arson, forcible sex offenses, non-forcible sex offenses, liquor law violations, drug law violations and illegal weapons charges and possessions.

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

ACU raised eyebrows last February when the university announced it would distribute iPhones and iPod touches to its incoming class of freshmen. In fact, it raised eyebrows from every continent in the world with the exception of Antarctica. More than 350 magazines, trade publications, newspapers, blogs, television stations and news Web sites have published articles about ACU’s Mobile Learning Initiative. “It’s just unbelievable the

2006 2007 9

Vehicle Theft:

6

1

Arson:

1

0

Sex Offenses:

3

1

Liquor Violations: 3

1

Drug Violations:

3

1

Illegal Weapons: 1

1

Initiative brings attention

Crime comparison

21

There’s not a week that goes by when the phone rings or an e-mail says, ‘Hey, I’m so-and-so from such-andsuch school and I’m really interested in what you’re doing. :: George Saltsman, director of the Adams Center for Teaching and Learning.

Crime page 4

Burglaries:

Sub T-16 pledge Clint Holmes was admitted to Abilene Regional Hospital at 9 p.m. Sept. 19 after his kidneys started to fail during a pledging activity. Holmes, sophomore youth and family ministry major from Dallas, was driven to the Holmes emergency room by Sub T-16 member Brad Blanks, senior accounting and finance major from Haskell. When Holmes was 15 years old, he was diagnosed with high blood pressure. Doctors determined through tests that it was a hereditary condition, and he was put on medication. After quitting his high school football team because of his condition, he has not had any problems until now. “I figured I’d be fine on medicine and I could handle it,” Holmes said. Holmes was released from the hospital Sept. 25. Doctors said his muscle breakdown was blocking his kidneys, and they were functioning at onethird of what they should have been. The blockage prevented his kidneys from filtering properly. If he had not gone to the hospital when he did, he would have collapsed. Dr. Jeff Arrington, associate dean of Student Life, said he investigated the incident and found no university policies were broken. “There was no sense in which inappropriate action contributed to that situation,” Arrington said. Holmes said he had men-

Globe watching iACU

Videographer

Crime

Faustian Feature: Writer reviews devilish ACU performance

Sub T-16 pledge sent to hospital

By Brandon Tripp

See

Pg 5

amount of publicity we’ve gotten from this,” said Lynne Bruton, director of public relations. “Now saying that, it’s not all positive. There are some negative pieces. But really, we’re getting our name out there. And the more you get your name out there, even though people are saying negative things, we’re still being perceived by our peer institutions as a leader in mobile technology.” Some of the national news organizations that have reported on the initiative include See

Globe page 4

To see the complete report, visit www.acu.edu/ campusoffices/acu_police

tioned his condition on his health form for pledging but never to any of the Sub T-16 members. “Going into something like this, he should have made us aware,” said Quinn Powers, Sub T-16 member and sophomore education major from Eula. Holmes did not want his condition to prevent his participation. “Letting them know could have helped before it got worse, but I was too stubborn to let anybody tell me that I couldn’t do it,” Holmes said. Powers said he thought nothing could have prevented the incident. “If he had been doing any pledge activity for any club it could have happened; our members did as much as they could as soon as they could,” Powers said. Sub T-16 President Derrick Bibb, along with other members, visited Holmes every day at the hospital. “If anybody wanted to see the true character of Sub T-16, then they should have been in the hospital room as members sat and prayed for me,” Holmes said. “People don’t give them half the credit they deserve for being the men of God that they are.” Bibb, senior animal science major from Abilene, said this year’s pledge class has done a good job of rallying behind Holmes. Instead of tearing them apart, the incident has brought them together, Bibb said. “The whole situation and how it was handled personifies what Sub T is about,” Bibb said. “We don’t leave a man behind. This gives this pledge class the idea of what we are about.”

E-mail Coffee at: jmcnetwork@acu.edu

SA decides to help fund student trip

Pledges plunge into second phase

By Daniel Johnson-Kim

For almost two weeks, social clubs have tested their pledges by enforcing many rules pledges are required to follow. As pledging intensifies, pledges may struggle to balance the rigors of club and the academic challenges of school. Matching outfits, pledge pins, binders, baskets, red mirrors, chain links and other objects carried by pledges make them easy to spot around campus. Pledges of Ko Jo Kai also can be heard respecting Kojie Park by exclaiming, “I will respect Kojie Park!” each time they pass the two benches. “It doesn’t really embarrass me because I know everyone has to do it. I wasn’t the first one to do it and I won’t be the last one,” said Allie Souder,

Editor in Chief

The Students’ Association Congress voted to grant money to help a student organization attend a conference and appointed two new members to the Congress on Wednesday. After debating numbers for about an hour, SA voted to give more than $99 per member of the ACU student chapter of the Society for Human Resource Management to help pay for the group’s trip to the Human Resource Southwest Regional Conference in Fort Worth. The maximum SA voted it would provide was more than $1,100 if 12 people attended the conference,

which will be on Oct. 14-16. Congress decided on the dollar amount that would come from the Student Request fund—a sum of money set aside in SA’s budget to distribute among student groups—after voting each person on the trip should be required to spend $75 of their own money to attend the conference. The motion to allot the funds passed 31-2-5. Chris King, junior human resource management major from Houston and president of the ACU SHRM chapter, made the case for the student organization, laying out the expected costs of the conference and the amount he was requesting. See

SA page 4

aCU WeaTHer

By Linda Bailey Student Reporter

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Ko Jo Kai pledge and sophomore exercise science major from Arlington. Next week, the second phase of pledging begins. In the second phase, pledges will be involved in activities such as visiting and getting to know older members. Pledges could spend up to 15 hours per week doing activities, while in the first phase they only were allowed to spend 12 hours weekly. “It’s really about budgeting your time and keeping your priorities straight,” said Alpha Kai Omega pledge Abigail Sutphen, sophomore biology major from Houston. Michael Goodman, Gamma Sigma Phi pledge and mathematics major from Keller, said he utilizes time in between lunch and Chapel and after night activities to do homework.

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Ko Jo Kai pledges Kortney Reeves, sophomore nursing major from Abilene, and Breanna Anderson, sophomore undeclared major from Keller, scream “I will respect Kojie Park!” in unison Thursday afternoon.

“It’s non-stop action all day trying to get everything done,” Goodman said. Although pledging can be time consuming, pledges use

different means to keep from being overwhelmed. Souder said she planned her class schedule See

Pledges page 4

you feel safe Online Poll : onDoACU’s campus?

Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

a. Yes. The ACU police do a fine job. b. No. I stay indoors at night. c. Only when I carry my gun. d. Not if there are freshmen around.

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Pg. 5 Musical version of ‘Little Women’ sings inconsistencies

Friday, February 13, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 36 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 2

Pg. 3

Sour sales cause local businesses to shut down

Area churches provide array of options for Valentine’s Day

Pg. 8

Steady Streak: Wildcats extend winning streak to six games

NCAA punishes ACU teams for list of violations By Grant Abston Sports Editor

The NCAA penalized the ACU track and field and football programs for violations Tuesday after a yearlong investigation. The punishments for the violations imposed by the Division II Committee on Infractions include a two-year probation, recruiting restrictions, vacation of records, athletic scholarship reductions and a financial penalty. The NCAA penalized the two sports programs because of their extra benefits and paid visit violations and impermissi-

NCAA penalty flags

Our philosophy has been to self-report and self-correct, and that was our process when we discovered an infraction two years ago.

:: Dr. Royce Money, president of the university ble inducements violations, as well as the university and head track and field coach’s failure to monitor, according to the NCAA news release. “After initially self-reporting an infraction to the NCAA in 2007, Abilene Christian University has been cooperating with the NCAA during its investigation into some of our athletics

programs,” said ACU president Dr. Royce Money in a prepared statement. “Our philosophy has been to self-report and self-correct, and that was our process when we discovered an infraction two years ago.” Head track and field coach Don D. Hood provided impermissible inducements to two prospective student-athletes

by signing the guarantor line on their apartment leases and giving them free running shoes, according to the NCAA news release. Hood also organized and attended holiday parties where 15 enrolled international student-athletes received gifts from representatives of See

Violations page 4

The ACU track and field and football programs committed several NCAA violations, and both programs must adhere to self-imposed punishments and those issued by the NCAA.

Thomsen

Hood

Violations: n Failure to monitor by the university and head track and field coach Don Hood n Illegal gifts given to athletes by ACU representatives n Illegal academic assitance for athletes

Punishments: n Two years of probation beginning Tuesday n Football program must vacate wins from 2007 n Reduction in track and field scholarships n Limitations on recruting and number of paid visits

See the entire list of violations and the NCAA punishments imposed on the ACU Athlietics Department at www.acuoptimist.com

What’s age got to do with it?

SA Congress votes to close meeting to non-members By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

The Students’ Association Congress voted to close its weekly meeting to students and student media Wednesday based on a concern that private conversations were being recorded. Sophomore Sen. Tony Godfrey, sophomore political science and English major from Burleson, motioned to close the meeting after he said Congress members were worried that their privacy was being invaded by a recorder Optimist reporter Kelline Linton, senior journalism major from Spring, uses to back up her notes. “The thing that came up is the degree to which the recording was happening,” Godfrey said. Godfrey said during a recess, while members verified figures of a more See

Start of ’09 sees rise in drunk drivers on city streets

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer Dr. John Willis, professor of Bible, and his wife Evelyn Willis, reminisce about the first time they met on ACU’s campus in 1954. The couple have been married for 53 years.

Love still strong after five decades

Campus couples plan for holiday

By Katie Gager

By Hannah Barnes

Student Reporter

Student Reporter

John and Evelyn Willis cannot help but laugh when remembering their first date in October of 1954. “We attended the ACC bonfire, and it was extremely cold outside,” said Dr. John Willis, professor of Bible. “We then went inside to Sewell Auditorium, which was packed full with over 2,000 people, and it was boiling hot.” The next day Evelyn came down with the flu because of the quick change of temperatures that night. “We always say our first date made me sick,” said Evelyn Willis,73, with a grin. After 53 years of marriage, four children, 14 grandchildren and one great grandchild, the Willis’ still find humor in their marriage and life together. “You have to laugh about things and find things to laugh about,” Evelyn said. “You don’t

This Valentine’s Day could be a romantic holiday for ACU couples who just began their relationships, those waiting to be married or others who already have walked down the aisle. Daniel Paul Watkins, senior political science major from Fredericksburg, Va., said he has something special planned for his bride-to-be, Briana Ribble, senior education major from Arvada, Colo., for Valentine’s Day. Watkins and Ribble will be celebrating their second Valentine’s Day as a couple. Despite their recent engagement, Watkins said he does not consider this Valentine’s Day as special as Ribble might, but he said he thinks “getting engaged is the most romantic thing ever.” On the dating scene, Lauren Fjordbac, freshman computer science major from Grapevine, and boyfriend Jacob Knettel, freshman business finance major from Boerne, are planning a Valentine’s Day together. Dating for a mere two

See

Love page 3

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Naomi Walters, graduate student from Syracuse, N.Y., and her husband, Jamey Walters, graduate student from Dothan, Ala., enjoy each other’s company in the Biblical Studies Building Thursday.

ACU WeATHeR

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SA page 4

By Heather Leiphart Student Reporter

As of Wednesday morning, the Abilene Police Department has reported 80 intoxicated drivers on the streets since Jan. 1, an increase of 60 percent from the same period last year. The department expects total DWI investigations for 2009 to include at least 115 more incidents than last year, if the trend continues. “DWI is a growing problem locally,” said Jimmy Ellison, chief of the ACU Police Department. “Not only may drinking and driving be on the increase, but law enforcement efforts at DWI enforcement are also significantly increased.”

Couples page 7

See

DWI page 3

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube. com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Are the NCAA punishments on ACU too harsh?

a. No. ACU deserves what it got. b. Yes. They were over the top. c. No. They should be harsher. d. Yes. ACU did nothing wrong.

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Pg. 4A & 5A: See an array of photographs from Bid Night

Sunday, September 21, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 7 :: 2 sections, 16 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 3A

Pg 1B

Students to lead, contribute to Summit throughout event

Pg 5B

Former ACU quarterback Rex Lamberti and others are inducted in Hall of Fame

For Rent: Movies one might have overlooked and shouldn’t have

‘Radical’ to launch Theme Conversations Sunday By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

When Dr. Leroy Garrett takes the stage at the Summit opening Theme Conversation in Moody Coliseum Sunday, it may be a moment of vindication for the 89-year-old scholar who was known throughout his life as a radical in the Churches of Christ. “During the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s I would go to the Lecture-

ships back in those days and I was a skunk at the garden party,” Garrett said of involvement in past Lectureships. The former “stinker,” a renowned scholar, preacher and historian Garrett from the Stone Campbell movement, will begin the

Theme Conversations at 7 p.m. Sunday with a lesson titled “Righteousness of God Revealed through Faith and for Faith.” Garrett said he will discuss Paul’s message in Romans 1:817 and how God’s righteousness encompasses all people. “You are not OK because of our selfishness and pride, and I am not OK but that’s OK because of God’s grace,” Garrett said.

After Garrett begins the Theme Conversations Sunday, David Fleer, Kevin Murray, James Thompson, Randy Harris, Eric Wilson and Chris Seidman will each speak throughout the week on various passages of Romans, tying into the Summit theme of the “Righteousness of God.” Brady Bryce, director of Ministry Events, said each speaker brings an original style to the stage that will provide variety

for the Summit audience. “Everyone needs to be who they are,” Bryce said of the theme speakers. “If the person is a scholar they don’t need to be cracking jokes pretending to be who they are not, if someone is a great orator, let them be that.” In an effort to make this a conversation and to step away from the old style of simply See

Theme page 7A

Theme Speakers Seven men will speak in the Theme Conversations in Moody Coliseum. n Leroy Garret n David Fleer n Kevin Murray n James Thompson n Randy Harris n Eric Wilson n Chris Seidman

Environment, Islam on slate for speakers

No Pain, No Entry

By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

One new session for this year’s Summit will include three featured guest speakers of national and international acclaim. Brian McLaren, J. Matthew Sleeth and Sam Solomon will discuss issues ranging from environmentalism to radical Islam. “Maybe the more exciting change is the featured guest slot,” said Brady Bryce, director of ministry events. “It perfectly lines up with the academic calendar.” Each lecture will start at 3 p.m. in Moody Coliseum and last 45 minutes. Students can earn three Chapel credits for attending each lecture. McLaren will speak Monday. He is an acclaimed author and church planter and has appeared on broadcasts including Larry King Live and Nightline. In Time magazine’s Feb. 7, 2005, issue, McLaren was recognized as one of the “25 Most Influential Evangelicals in America.” He has written more than

10 books and is a leader in the “emerging church movement.” In Monday’s lecture, he will discuss how to reach Christians for Christ. “It sounds kind of strange,” Bryce said. “A lot of us assume that we’ve already been reached for Christ. But Sleeth what about our perspectives of Jesus aren’t quite realistic and what needs to change?” The Graduate School of Theology, the McLaren Youth and Family Ministry program and the Adams Center for Learning helped bring McLaren to campus. The Adams Center, along with the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and See

Featured page 7A

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Jonathan Sanders, sophomore English major from Henderson, leans back in pain while holding a watermelon as part of a Gamma Sigma Phi Bid Night activity at Beauchamp Ampitheatre Friday afternoon. GSP pledges, or Siblings as they are called by members, held watermelons for two hours.

Freshmen dance, Social clubs begin first phase of pledging sing in ‘iFollies’ By Colter Hettich

acuoptimist.com: See video of each clubs’ on-campus Bid Night activities.

Features Editor

By Emily Jorgenson After receiving their bids Thursday, students pledging a social club endured the first, and notoriously most strenuous, night of pledging: Bid Night. Although the administration has tightened the reigns on clubs for Bid Night and pledging as a whole, club members were determined to make it a night to remember. Alpha Kai Omega put two to three months of preparation into the night. Alpha Kai President Erin Chappell said each

club must have an approved, Bid Night agenda, so careful planning is essential. “You have to know exactly what’s happening every minute of the night,” Chappell said. Derrick Bibb, Sub T-16 president, said he and fellow club members started planning for Bid Night in May. Friday marked the one-year anniversary of Bibb’s promotion from “Gob,” a Sub T pledge, to an official member, or “Subber.” “This is our chance to show [the

pledges] why this is so important to us,” Bibb said. “It’s a brotherhood.” He said the night’s events were “exactly, 100 percent like we did it last year.” With rules forbidding classic, Bid Night ingredients, such as “any activity that requires pledges to recite knowledge orally” or “any activity that involves water unless in a swimming pool with appropriate supervision,” See

Bid page 7A

Student Track gives opportunity to attend By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

With increased student participation as a goal of this year’s Summit, the Student Track received a facelift this year, said Brady Bryce, director of Ministry Events. “How it’s been done differ-

ently is I feel like we’ve really involved students even better this year—really taken their ideas and run with them,” Bryce said. “I think the greater student involvement in the planning is going to show up. For this past year, we involved student leaders. We tapped the shoulders of different

ACU WeATher

people and said, ‘OK, who are leaders on campus? Who would be good to involve?’” While in the future, Bryce said even more student input may be sought in an effort to increase student input in planning Summit this year, an ACU Student Planning Team offered feedback on ways to

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Inside This Special Summit Issue:

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engage students. The team included students of a variety of classifications and backgrounds. The team began meeting last semester to discuss topics and speakers that would interest students, said team See

Student page 7A

View the complete Summit schedule Race addressed in Summit class

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Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ::

Staff Photographer

The freshman class participated in the traditional Freshman Follies to vocalize its experience at ACU so far in its production of iFollies Friday and Saturday in Cullen Auditorium. Freshman Follies was themed “iFollies” to convey the distribution of iPhones and iPod touches to the freshman class as part of the Mobile Learning Initiative. Tom Craig, director of Student Productions, said the production team focused on what is current for these students and relatable. Although this year’s program has a few changes to this year’s production, the purpose of iFollies was the same. “Freshmen Follies is a way See

Follies page 7A

Class to focus on drug abuse

acuoptimist.com See freshmen dance, sing and show of their talents online at www.acuoptimist.com

Online Poll :

How do you feel about Lectureship’s name change?

a. It’s about time they changed it. b. It was unecessary. c. Hopefully, the new name sticks. d. Who cares? I still won’t go.

Highlight Classes offer insight

Abilene Christian University

Emily Jorgenson :: staff photographer Lindsey Riley, freshman early childhood education major from Pampa, dances with McDonald Hall during Freshman Follies.

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Friday, September 26, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 10 :: 1 section, 6 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Blowing Hot Air: Balloons to soar into Abilene skies Friday

Pg. 6 No. 4 Wildcats looking for fourth-straight win Pg 6

Transfer students react to freshman iPhones and Mobile Learning Initiative

ACU soccer team to open Lone Star Conference play Friday

Bringing the Heat

D.C. writer to speak at News Lab opening By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Adriana Planes, sophomore art major from Spain, Jessalyn Massingill, junior art major from Abilene, and Cameron Broderick, freshman at Abilene High School, pour iron in a grassy area in front of Teague Special Events Center Monday. The students use traditional cupola furnace techniques to make iron bowls and skillets as part of the Summit Empty Bowls project and presentation.

Exodus, ‘Mountaintop’ to be Summit ’09 focus By Lydia Melby Arts Editor

Wednesday night concluded an event-filled four-day Summit with a lecture by keynote speaker Chris Seidman, whose message calling for acceptance within the church came from Romans 15. Brady Bryce, director of ministry events, introduced the last speaker of Summit 2008, commending those in attendance for their interest and attentiveness, saying, “It has been a great summit… we cannot leave this place unchanged.” Bryce also introduced the theme planned for the 2009

Summit, which he called “On the mountain with God.” The mountaintop theme will tie in to the idea of Summit both visually and spiritually, and the key messages will be taken from Exodus. Bryce “I wanted Exodus, and it fits well to have a visual image of Summit… Mountains throughout Scripture are a place to be with God,” Bryce said. “It will emphasize spirituality and really emblazon the Summit theme in people’s minds.”

In the past, it has taken almost all year to prepare for Lectureship, and next year’s Summit likely will follow suit. Bryce confirmed he had spoken to several speakers who had been requested by students and had “between 10 and 20 others in mind.” A theme verse has not yet been picked, but Bryce said he was considering a verse from Exodus 15 that would follow the theme of meeting God on a mountaintop. Bryce also said that planning his second Summit will be facilitated, not only by the connections he has made and the leads he already has for speakers, but also by the suc-

cess of this year’s series. “[Summit] went really, really well. The theme speakers and featured guests were each phenomenal. The student participation was amazing as well… they were respectful and attentive; I felt like the students did a great job and I couldn’t have asked for more,” Bryce said. “ACU lived out Romans 15 this week…it’s difficult to listen to people you disagree with, to enter into those conversations, to welcome someone to campus that you don’t know everything about. But those welcoming times help us grow in Christ, and it just adds to our humility.” Bryce was not sure whether

any changes to the new Summit format would be made for 2009, but said he would wait for feedback from students, speakers and other attendees. Bryce also said he felt the new Summit format had been fairly successful, and although attendance seemed high, Bryce said he would keep the focus on quality for Summit 2009. “I’d love to have as many people as possible…but I’m not really a numbers guy,” he said. “If we have 100 people come, and they leave encouraged and equipped to be ministers in their real-world lives… then I’m happy.”

While testing audio speaker levels for his Chapel forum Thursday, Washington Post staff writer Hamil Harris playfully grabbed a microphone and broke into singing Amazing Grace with Wade Huggins, junior worship ministry major from Abilene Harris and Cullen Auditorium sound technician. Harris’ friendly personality bubbles over to almost everyone he meets, and his message of enjoying life and being thankful was one of the topics he covered during his lectures at ACU. “I’m so blessed,” Harris said. “I’m just trying to bring a message of hope and optimism. It doesn’t make sense to be a prophet of doom and gloom.” Harris, who is in Abilene as a special guest of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication for Friday’s Grand Opening of the JMC Network Student Media News See

Lab page 10

new News Lab Washington Post staff writer Hamil Harris will speak Friday in Cullen Auditorium as the special guest at the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication’s Grand Opening of the JMC Network Student Media News Lab. When: 11:45 a.m. - 3 p.m. Where: Morris Center Why: Grand opening of JMC Network Student Media News Lab

E-mail Melby at: lgm05e@acu.edu

SA votes to award funds to society

Westheimer fire forces students to relocate

By Daniel Johnson-Kim

A house caught fire Wednesday afternoon in the 1400 block of Westheimer Road, leaving two ACU students, one Cisco Junior College student and a married couple safe but with their residences gutted and burned. The house was a duplex with a double-sided dividing wall that separated the two halves. ACU students Philip N. Greer, junior finance and marketing major from Colorado Springs, Colo., and Justin W. Isham, fifth year senior from Colorado Springs, Colo.,

Editor in Chief

The Students’ Association Congress voted to give a group of ACU physics students a little help Wednesday. Daniel Jumper, engineering physics major from Richardson and president of the Society of Physics Students, came before Congress to request $2,200 to help pay for the society’s trip to the Sigma Pi Sigma Quadrennial Congress conference in Chicago. A motion to give the Society of Physics Students the amount requested passed

35-0-1. The amount given reduced the overall amount in the Student Request fund—a sum set aside in SA’s budget for Congress to distribute among the student body and student groups—from $10,389.79 to $8,189.79. The motion passed only after Congress debated the issue for nearly an hour. Jumper explained to the student congress how the conference would benefit the students who attended and was in line with the ACU mission. Jumper said the See

SA page 5

By Kelline Linton Chief Copy Editor

See

Fire page 5

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Firefighters hose down a house that caught fire in the 1400 block of Westheimer Road Wednesday afternoon.

aCU wEaTHER

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See a special section the Optimist staff printed to commemorate Friday’s Grand Opening of the JMC Network Student Media News Lab inside this issue of the Optimist. To find more information about the JMC Newtork visit www.jmcnetwork.com or www.acuoptimist.com. Department of Journalism and Mass Communication ::

Abilene Christian University

What did you think of Summit 2008?

a. It was more student friendly. b. The presentations were dull. c. I was happy to get Chapel credit. d. Too many old people.

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Pg. 6 Outback Lessons: ACU duo endure Australian journey

Wednesday, November 12, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 23 :: 1 sections, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Study Abroad Office reduces summer program application fee

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Bowl of Service: students team up to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters

Perfect Finish: Football team wins title, remains undefeated

Committee Themes, directors chosen for ’09 Sing Song begins hunt for provost replacement By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Next February’s Sing Song already is beginning to take shape. Directors, themes and show order were selected Saturday. Social clubs and class acts worked with the Students’ Association and the Sing Song management team to pick their directors and themes. Class act directors were interviewed for their positions. The process for selecting class directors

By Laura Acuff

took about two weeks, while social clubs worked at their own pace for their selection processes. “We make sure everything is where it needs to be,” said Tom Craig, director of Student Productions. “Plus it helps for them to work on it throughout the entire length of time instead of working on it at the last minute.” An approval process will be used to ensure no acts duplicate shows See

Singing Competition

Five student groups will pop their arms and sing their tunes in each division of the 2009 Sing Song. The theme for the ’09 show is “Believe,” and the event is scheduled for Feb. 20-21, 2009. Men’s social clubs

Women’s social clubs

Mixed group acts

n Frater Sodalis n Galaxy n Gamma Sigma Phi n Sub T-16 n Pi Kappa

n Alpha Kai Omega n Ko Jo Kai n GATA n Delta Theta n Sigma Theta Chi

n IEH n Freshman Act n Sophomore Act n Junior Act n Senior Act

Song page 5

Opinion Page Editor

The provost search committee met for the first time Wednesday, with the university President Dr. Royce Money in attendance, to begin the search to replace current Provost Dr. Dwayne VanRheenen. Earlier this semester, VanRheenen announced his intent to retire at the end of the fiscal year and move to the West Coast to be closer to family. Dr. Rick I think it’s a Lytle, Dean of the College of very strong Business Adteam…a team ministration and a search that undercommittee stands the member, said the commitimportance of tee’s breakthis position fast meeting served mainly for the ACU to set basic campus to guidelines for how to move forward. proceed with the search for :: Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of candidates to COBA and provost search fill VanRheenen’s position. committee member The committee reviewed the provost’s job description, discussed a plausible timeline and examined certain human resource issues, Lytle said. One human resource issue includes the possibility a search committee member might desire to apply for the position, Lytle said. In such a case, the committee member could submit his or her own nomination but would then need to recuse himself or herself from the committee. Tentative plans set the search committee at submitting a candidate for consideration by April, Lytle said. Ideally, the

History’s Witnesses

Nov. 4, 2008

Black students, professors react to Obama victory By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

Disbelief. Joy. Trepidation. Inspiration. Hope. A myriad of emotions overcame members of the ACU community when Barack Obama was elected President, but regardless of when, where or how they heard the news, several black students and faculty members at ACU said they were proud to be witnesses to history — the United States of America elected its first black president. Byron Martin, senior psychology major from Mesquite, followed the returns results at the election watching party in the Campus Center Living Room when several news organizations declared Obama had secured a majority of electoral votes and won the election. “I was really excited then I just kind of had to stand there for a while and actually see it because I wasn’t really sure,” Martin said.

Illustration Courtesy of Changethethought.com

See

Hunt page 5

See

History page 5

Political groups prepare for life after election By Kimberly Wolford Student Reporter

Zak Zeinert :: staff photographer Jared Perkins, freshman psychology major from Waco and vice president of the College Democracts, shows his support for President-elect Barack Obama at the election-watching party in the Campus Center Living Room on Nov. 4.

ACU WEAtHER

With the victory of President-elect Barack Obama, the 2008 election season is concluded. The two studentled political organizations, Young Republicans and College Democrats, are reflecting on events they sponsored and the results of the election. “Obviously, we were pretty excited,” said Jared Perkins, vice president of College Democrats and freshman psychology major from Waco. “But we recognized very soon after that we needed to remember that we were all Americans and we need to unite not only as a campus but as a country also.” His words mimic those of Dr. Royce Money’s speech during Chapel on Friday. Perkins said it is time to support of the new president, and people should be respectful

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even when voicing opposing opinions. Jordan Hancock, president of Young Republicans and junior political science major from Abilene, said reactions to the results of the 2008 election varied from member to member. “I cannot speak for the entire club,” Hancock said. Both organizations sponsored debate-watching parties during the pre-election period. Hancock said the Young Republicans also had an informational meeting that was open to everyone. The College Democrats had a results watching party in collaboration with other student-led organizations on campus, as well as voter registration for a week in the Campus Center. As for the future, both clubs are busy planning events. “Right now, we are just having club meetings and get-

As students…we need to be socially involved and socially aware all the time, not just at election time.

:: Jared Perkins, freshman psychology science major from Waco ting ready for voter registration sometime next semester,” Hancock said. Perkins said he has thoughts for the College Democrats. “I have some things I’m very excited about planned for next semester,” Perkins said. He said his ideas include a possible bi-partisan informational fair about the local governments and candidates before the 2010 election. “As students and Democrats, we need to be socially involved and socially aware all the time, not just at elec-

E-mail Wolford at: jmcnetwork@acu.edu

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tion time,” Perkins said. For more information on the College Democrats or Young Republicans, look on the ACU Web site under the “Student Organizations” and “Special Interests” tabs. Faculty advisers for the College Democrats are Dr. Kristina Campos, Steven Moore and Dr. David Dillman, while advisers for the Young Republicans are Dr. Neal Coates and Dr. Mark Cullum.

How are race relations in the United States?

a. They are still horrible. b. There are no issues of racism. c. Racism exists, but it is limited. d. Things are slowly getting better.

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Pg. 8B: A Rockin’ good time: ‘All Shook Up’ worth the ticket price

Friday, October 24, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 18 :: 2 sections, 22 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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No. 2 ACU football team to take on Tarleton State at Shotwell Stadium

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‘Supernanny’ reality show auditioning families in Abilene

Intramural Legend: Club sponsor plays 37 years and counting

Students to spend fall break restoring damaged city By Sondra Rodriguez Student Reporter

Nearly two dozen students will travel to Houston for fall break to help restore the suburb of Clear Lake, which was hit by Hurricane Ike in mid-September.

Emily Garrison, who works in the Volunteer Student-Learning Center, said about 20 students signed up for the trip so far. “We have over 20 who are interested but we’re still working on the details, and once we get those, we can finalize our list,” she said.

The group will leave Thursday afternoon and return to Abilene on Sunday. Garrison said volunteers plan to spend Thursday traveling, work Friday and Saturday and then return on Sunday after worship at Clear Lake Church of Christ. The group will stay at

the church building as well. Garrison said she is not sure what exactly they will be doing but plans to do whatever is needed. “It just depends on what the people need,” she said. See

It’s a great way to touch someone’s life. No one plans on this happening; our lives can change at any minute. :: Emily Garrison, Volunteer Student-Learning Center volunteer

Ike page 11A

Special Homecoming Stories Inside This Issue:

2008 Musical to open Friday

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Homecoming Carnival

Football Preview

Homecoming Court

Homecoming Chapel

Opinion Page Editor

The Elvis-themed 2008 Homecoming Musical, All Shook Up, opens Friday at 8 p.m. at the Abilene Civic Center. Tickets range from $5 to $18 for the opening night performance and successive performances, Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. The musical features 24 Elvis Presley songs, creating the soundtrack for the story of a motorcycle-riding, guitar-playing roustabout who romances a small-town girl with big dreams. Seth Bazacas, senior musical theatre major from Ocean City, N.J., plays “Dennis” in the musical, a character Bazacas described as lovable, goofy and a “typical nice guy who ends up finishing last.” Bazacas said he hopes the comedy of the production, which he compared to comedy in acuoptimist.com shows like Little Shop of Horrors, will appeal See a video with clips to the student body. of the Homecoming “It’s funny,” Bazacas Musical ‘All Shook Up’ said. “It is just a blast. The whole show is high energy the whole time.

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By Laura Acuff

See

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Wildcat Weekend Pg 8A

Behind the Musical Pg 4A

ACU Class Reunions Pg 5B

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Set design for show

JamFest Preview

Elvis lives at Homecoming Parade

Musical page 11A

By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Elvis has left Midland, and he is on his way to Abilene. No Elvis-themed event would be complete without an Elvis impersonator, so Dee Carter will do his best to fill the King’s shoes. In addition to multiple performances and appearances throughout the Homecoming Weekend, Carter, complete in classic Elvis attire, will lead the 2008 Homecoming Parade as grand marshal. During his time at ACU, Carter sang with the men’s Glee Club and a quartet. After spending several years in California with the musical group Silver Creek, he returned to Texas and almost dropped music entirely. But 10 years ago, after a fateful Elvis performance at a church party, he got back into the business. “I started getting calls to do birthday parties and such. The more serious it got, the more serious I got,” Carter said. Homecoming attendees will get to see Cart-

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Jonathan Bragg, senior theatre major from Rowlett, and Jenavene Hester, senior theatre major from Abilene, interact during an All Shook Up dress rehearsal Wednesday night.

er in four or five different costumes and a Broadway Wig Company Elvis wig. He watched All Shook Up on Broadway and called ACU as soon as he heard the Homecoming Musical choice. “I get a lot of kick out of [performing]. It’s just a whole lot of fun,” Carter said. “Some people don’t like Elvis, and that’s fine. I tell people up front I don’t live his lifestyle.” Spectators who do not see the grand marshal will have plenty more opportunities to get a taste of Elvis. “All the floats this year were encouraged to choose an Elvis song and incorporate it into their float,” said Samantha Adkins, coordinator of alumni projects. “It will be interesting.” The parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. and is scheduled to end by 10:30 a.m. at the latest. Eighteen floats and other entries will file down East North 16th Street and Campus Court, spreading Wildcat pride. Five judges will decide the winners of the traditional float See

Parade page 11A

Physical Resources director to leave after 14 years By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

As several departments plan on moving to the Bob Hunter Welcome Center at the end of the semester, an effort to reorganize some of the departments’ staff positions and responsibilities is currently under consideration. One such department that will be reorganized is the Department of Physical Resources

and its director of which is leaving at the end of the month. Bob Nevill, director of Physical Resources, Nevill has worked at ACU for nearly 14 years, the last four at his current position. He served as the director of com-

ACU WEATHER

puting and network services for his first decade at ACU. “I do believe in the mission of ACU; the time I have spent here has been the best,” Nevill said. “I would not trade anything for the 14 years I’ve spent here.” During his time in the computing and network services department, Nevill was involved with setting up the campus-wide network, installing the Enterprise software

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that includes Banner and helping in early Web development. When he switched to Physical Resources, he worked with contractors and oversaw the construction of the Conflict Resolution Center, the Education Building, Barret Hall, the Lunsford Walking Trail, the Bob Hunter Welcome Center, the artificial turf at the football practice field, the Jacob’s Dream statue and renovations to the “World Famous Bean”

and Sikes Hall. “I’ve been really fortunate to be part of a growing and improving environment rather than a maintaining one,” Nevill said. “We do maintain and we take a lot of pride and that, but the real excitement is the change part. It’s been fun.” Scot Colley, associate director of Physical Resources, will be taking over Nevill’s responsibilities when he leaves on Oct. 31. During his career,

Nevill worked as a consultant, a cable-television station manager, city manager and a technical analyst for a military aircraft manufacturer. He is still looking for his next career choice. “There’s no question there’s something very special about ACU, its mission and its people,” Nevill said. “Unlike a lot of other places, See

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Nevill page 11A

What is your favorite part of Homecoming?

a. The football game. b. The parade and carnival. c. The musical. d. Seeing all my old friends.

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Friday, March 6, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 42 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

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Pg. 5

Violence in Mexico changes Spring Break Campaign plans

Pg. 8 Wildcats bounced from tournament with last-second shot Pg. 8

The Boys are Back in Town: Rocketboys band returns to Abilene

Track and Field team prepares for national championships

SA Congress impeaches president Representatives approve removal of student leader

Watkins: Ouster disregards rules of constitution

By Staff Report

Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

After spending more than five hours Wednesday debating and discussing charges of irresponsible leadership, manipulation, disrespect and unethical behavior against Students’ Association Congress President Daniel Paul Watkins, the SA Congress voted to impeach Watkins, immediately stripping him of his title and responsibilities as president. The SA Congress voted 25-5, with two members abstaining, in a closed hearing Wednesday to impeach Watkins, senior political science major from Fredericksburg, Va. Watkins, who was elected by 59.5 percent of students that voted in last April’s general elections, is the first SA Congress president to be impeached in ACU’s history. Sarah Pulis, senior political science major from Longview, succeds Watkins as the new student body president, vacaing her office as vice president. SA Congress will hold a general election where the student body will vote to fill the vacant vice president position. Pulis declined to comment. Watkins said the action was unconstitutional and was considering challenging the impeachment. Watkins’ impeachment hearing began in Hart Auditorium and moved to Room 115 of the Biblical Studies Building after going on for more than two hours. The meeting began at 5 p.m., and Freshman Sen. Zach Linge, digital media major from San Antonio, said the hearing was a heated exchange and a “circus” at times. “It was clear to me and the overall majority of the executive officers that [Watkins’] attitude is negative, manipulative, divisive, and it is clear to me he is not the type of president that should reflect Abilene Christian University,” Linge said. Sophomore Sen. Scott Adrian, political science major from Glendale, Calif., was surprised Watkins was impeached and said the impeachment process seemed unfair. “He was more progressive than anyone,” Adrian said. “He’s a student advocate more than anyone in the Students’ Association.” Chief Financial Officer Luke Cochran, junior accounting major from Round Rock, wrote Watkins on Wednesday, informing him of charges he was bringing against the former president and that he was pursuing impeachment and Watkins’ removal from office. According to the letter Cochran wrote to Watkins, he claimed Watkins failed “to lead the Students’ Association in a positive manner,” showed “disrespect for the Abilene Christian University community” and failed to “adhere to the ethical standards of conduct as noted in the Abilene See

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Daniel Paul Watkins sits at the front of Hart Auditorium during a Students’ Association Congress meeting Sept. 24. On Wednesday, Watkins became the first president in SA Congress history to be removed from office.

How They Voted Voted to impeach Watkins: Aaron Michael Escobedo, Education Building rep. Amie Cavitt, Don Morris rep. Brent Dill, Junior senator Byron Martin, Senior senator Daniel Burgner, Junior senator Jared Elk, Edwards Hall rep. Jordan Hancock, Administration Building rep. Ryan Gertner, Chambers Hall rep. Steven Cardona, Junior senator Zach Linge, Freshman senator

Voted to not impeach Watkins: Danielle Urias, Sophomore senator Kyle Pickens, Senior senator Scott Adrian, Sophomore senator

Abstained from vote: Erin Kessler, Senior senator

The impeachment hearing was closed to the public. SA Congress members used a secret ballot system to vote on the impeachment of Daniel Paul Watkins. Congress members had the choice of voting for removing Watkins’ from office, against Watkins’ removal from office or abstaining from voting. The Congress voted 25-5-2 to impeach Watkins.

Chose not to reveal vote: Grant Boston, Junior senator Hailey Clinton, Freshman senator Kelly Lytle, Freshman senator Laura Christine Ruiz, Gibson rep.

Could not be reached: Jacob Groves, Freshman senator Carson Henley, Freshman senator Karissa Wolf, Sophomore senator Stacey Klinge, Barret Hall rep. Julianne Hart, Gardner Hall rep. Jake Hutto, Mabee Hall rep. Connor Best, Mabee Hall rep. Keri Gray, McDonald Hall rep. Melanie Wheeler, Morris Hall rep. Amanda Paramore, Sikes Hall rep. Sarah Whitworth, Smith-Adams

Hall rep. Ashley Alton, Administration Building rep. Chris Shim, Off-Campus rep. Kyle Moore, Off-Campus rep. Kyle Smith, COBA rep. Trevor Brunt, COBA rep. Matt Mastalka, COBA rep. Stephen Moore, COBA rep. Nathan Pickle, Foster Science Building rep. Colter Lane, Foster Science Building rep. Breanna Anderson, Chambers Hall rep. Randy Woods, Don Morris rep. Chris Simpson, Zone Luce rep. Minda Hyde, Gibson rep.

Former Students’ Association Congress President Daniel Paul Watkins declared he was a victim of character assassination and his impeachment was unconstitutional, illegitimate and illegal. “It felt like a kangaroo court and a Mickey Mouse trial,” Watkins said. Watkins was stripped of his title and responsibilities as student body president Wednesday after SA Congress voted 25-5-2 to remove him from office. SA Congress Chief Financial Officer Luke Cochran, junior accounting major from Round Rock, brought charges against Watkins and called for his impeachment. Cochran claimed Watkins failed “to lead the Students’ Association in a positive manner,” showed “disrespect for the Abilene Christian University community” and failed to “adhere to the ethical standards of conduct as noted in the Abilene Christian University Campus Policies.” Watkins said these charges were not impeachable offenses, according to the SA Congress Constitution or By-laws, the governing documents of ACU’s student government. He added he was unable to defend himself for two hours, while Congress members and executive officers gave testimony. According to Article V of the SA Congress Constitution, a three-fourths majority of Congress is required to impeach an officer. Watkins declared the constitution clearly stated 75 percent of the entire Congress must vote to impeach an officer, which therefore voided the vote taken by SA Congress on Wednesday. Watkins said he was able to address the charges brought on by Cochran and defend himself but was asked to leave the room during the time Congress members and testimony from the other executive officers was delivered. He said during the time he was not in the room, Congress members slandered him, and he was unable to respond to their accusations. Watkins said the SA Congress most likely would not have impeached him had the process ended with Cochran’s accusations and Watkins’ rebuttal. It was the time the two were asked to leave the impeachment hearing that Watkins said Congress was turned against him. “It became character assassination, and I was not given a chance to refute any of the charges that were brought up against me,” Watkins said. Watkins denied he used profanity when referring to faculty members or used his position to manipulate and deceive the other executive officers. Watkins said the only time he did not

Removal page 3

See

Watkins page 3

Flames char Big Country homes, land Committee narrows search for Provost By Colter Hettich Features Editor

The latest blaze in West Texas’ string of grass fires burned more than 300 acres Thursday, leaving only ash and burnt mesquite in its wake. Firefighters from Buffalo Gap, Ecca, Jim Ned, View and other surrounding towns worked together efficiently — with crucial help from Texas Forest Service (TFS) — and contained the flames just after dark. “I wouldn’t even want to think what it would have looked like had [TFS] not responded as quickly as they

did,” said Les Bruce, Taylor County sheriff. Bruce has his own ideas of what sparked the fire and assured Abilenians that a memo would go out Friday morning, enforcing a zerotolerance litter policy. “Where I’m standing, it looks like a careless motorist,” Bruce said. “We all need to be much more careful.” Cynthia Newman, County Road 154 resident, was one of the first to discover the blaze. Newman spotted smoke as she drove down CR 158. See

Char page 4

By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer Jim Newman grieves over some of his property that was destroyed in Thursday’s fire. Firefighters were able to save residents’ houses.

acuoptimist.com: See a slideshow of photographs of the fire

The list of people who may become ACU’s next Chief Academic Officer is down to two: Dr. Jeanine Varner and Dr. Rob Stewart. The Provost Search Committee narrowed the search from five applicants to two after several weeks of interviews and deliberations, and each candidate will visit with

ACU WEATHER

the committee, administrators, faculty and other groups on campus before the committee issues its final recommendation. The final decision of who the university will hire as its next provost will be made by Dr. Royce Money, president of the university. Varner, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, was surprised to hear she was one See

Online Poll :

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

High: 84 Low: 60

High: 78 Low: 54

High: 75 Low: 52

Abilene Christian University

Did SA do the right thing by impeaching the president?

a. He should have kept his job. b. They overreacted. c. Who cares about SA Congress? d. He deserves being impeached.

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Provost page 3

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Pg. 6 & 7 See photos from various Welcome Week events

August 25, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 1 :: 1 section, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 4

Pg 8

ACU named ‘Technology Innovator’ for Mobile Learning Initiative

Pg 12

Ready and Reading: Freshmen eager to read ‘Same Kind of Different As Me’

Former ACU athletes compete in 2008 Beijing Olympics

Dr. Money pledges to remain president

Abilene Mobile University University dishes out more than 950 Apple devices By Daniel Johnson-Kim

By Michael Freeman

Editor in Chief

Managing Editor

Luz Hernandez will miss her red Samsung flip phone, but not that much. After waiting in line Aug. 16 with a multitude of other freshmen and their families, Hernandez, freshman business marketing major from Sulfur Springs, made her way to an open table where an AT&T representative was waiting to hand her an iPhone — one of the most cutting edge mobile devices in the world, compliments of ACU. “This is weird,” Hernandez said, while holding her iPhone in her hands for the first time. “I have a friend that has one of these, and he said that you miss the buttons on a regular phone.” More than 950 freshmen received an iPhone or an iPod touch as part of ACU’s Mobile Learning Initiative, an effort to incorporate the Apple mobile learning devices in the classrooms and hallways of ACU. The distribution of the devices began Aug. 16 and is See

Initiative page 9

Faculty join freshmen, eager to add to initiative

ACU first in Abilene to add AT&T 3G Network

By Michael Freeman

By Laura Acuff

Managing Editor

Freshmen will not be the only people beginning the school year with a free iPhone. About 150 faculty members will be equipped with iPhones or iPod touches to use in their classes this semester. “I’ve found my colleagues very supportive,” said Dr. Kyle Dickson, associate professor of English and co-director of the Mobile Learning Research. “Media is not solely about entertainment, but it’s also a key tool in education.” Many faculty members be-

gan ordering their iPhones shortly after the 3G version went on sale in July. Most have received their iPhones; however, a few are still waiting for their iPhones to arrive at the local AT&T store. Faculty, including adjunct and part-time instructors, who will be teaching freshmanlevel courses had first priority to the iPhones. “We tried to make sure that people who were teaching classes like University 100 had first access to these devices,” said William Rankin, See

ACU Mobile

ACU president Dr. Royce Money assured members of the faculty and staff during his State of the University speech in Cullen Auditorium Wednesday he intends to continue serving as president to see the 21st Century Vision implemented. “In May, the Board [of Trustees] asked me to extend my time as president, which I am very happy to do,” Money said. “I believe so much in this vision; I want to see it successfully launched.” But Money discussed more than his decision to stay with the university. He informally began the event by distributing gift cards and joking about staff members’ birthdays. Then after reviewing the Board of Trustees’ plans for the rest of the week and recognizing certain staff members for their work over the summer, Money spoke about the 21st Century Vision. The 21st Century Vision is a plan for transforming ACU within the next 12 years into the top university for Christian students. For the next five years, the university has four goals: “to produce leaders who think critically, globally and missionally; build distinctive and innovative programs; create a unique Christ-centered experience that calls students into community and to extend ACU’s Christian influence and educational reach nationally and internationally,” according to ACU’s Strategic Plan for 2009-2013. The exceptional plan is not an original endeavor for ACU because school leaders have been aiming high since the university was founded, Money said. “Don’t get the idea that we’re inventing this,” he said. “We’re a link in the chain.” Money wrapped up his State of the University speech with his account of a discussion between two recent ACU Malagasy graduates and an international banking executive when he

Opinion Page Editor

3G has come to ACU with the AT&T installation of four 3G towers around campus, accelerating the initial plan to equip the city of Abilene with 3G capability sometime in 2009. These towers support the recently launched mobile learning initiative because 3G technologies enable operators to offer users a wider range of more advanced mobile phone services including a faster wireless connection. “We’re about a year-anda-half ahead of the rest of

Faculty page 9

Pocket Guide

Abilene,” said Kevin Roberts, Chief Information Officer and director of re-engineering. “So it was kind of just a gesture of goodwill on the part of AT&T to say, ‘Hey, you know what? We appreciate all you’re doing. We will bring these towers up as 3G. We’ll blanket your campus with 3G as well.’” Of the four 3G towers, two are stationed on top of ACU buildings, and two are located off, but near, campus. “We work really hard for those towers not to be obvious,” Roberts said. “Aesthetically, we See

3G page 9

MyACU Mobile

By using the ACU Mobile Web site at http://m.acu.edu students can find out what is happening in Chapel, find maps and directions around campus and Abilene and have several other resources a finger tap away:

Whether students are looking for a good place to eat, or need to find the nearest movie theatre, they can access information about a variety of venues in the Pocket Guide feature of the ACU Mobile Interface:

Just by tapping their My Mobile icon on their iPhone or iPod touch, students can see how many Chapel credits they have, their meal plan balance and their account balance, but that is only the tip of the interface:

n Information about ACU

n Local Sporting Facilities

n Class Schedule

n Weekly Chapel schedules

n Museums

n Meal Plan, UniPrint Balances

n Upcoming Campus Events

n Local Churches

n Chapel Credits

n Maps of Abilene and ACU

n Movie Theatres

n Access to Class Folders

n Campus News

n Restaurants

n Access to Google Calendars

n Directory of Students, ACU Departments and Faculty

n Local Art Galleries

n Access to Class Documents

See

Money page 9

Welcome Week starts a ‘rLOVEution’ for incoming students By Lydia Melby Arts Editor

Welcome Week 2008, titled “rLOVEution,” followed the traditional format and included the usual favorites like the world’s largest game of Twister, the Candlelight Devotional, the free movie and the Freshman Talent Show, as well as the return of the mentor group Olym-

pics and an open mic night. All of these events made Welcome Week memorable for its participants; however, it’s the changes that were made to Welcome Week and the FirstYear program that will make this year revolutionary. Some of the changes made to the activities were fairly minor, like the addition of a mechanical bull to the pep rally fun or the

ACU WEATHER

removal of the tug-of-war event from the mentor group Olympics. Due to weather issues, the Candlelight Devotional and the Paramount movie events were switched, and although this resulted in the “Cool Runnings” movie premiering in Moody Coliseum instead of the Paramount Theatre, students were still enthusiastic about the film and managed to easily fill the

available seats. Other changes to Welcome Week were more significant and were meant to have lasting effects on the students’ first year at ACU. The FirstYear Program added a session called Campus Conversations, which Eric Gumm, director of Orientation, said were “similar to the Chapel forums from last year [and were] designed

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Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday

High: 95 Low: 72

High: 96 Low: 73

High: 97 Low: 72

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network:

to introduce new students to the kind of intellectual discussions that they will encounter in Chapel or in class or just around campus with other students and teachers.” Perhaps the most meaningful addition to Welcome Week was the voluntary Freshmen Common Reading program. The freshmen who chose to participate received a free copy

of the book the Same Kind of Different as Me, a biographical account written by Denver Moore and Ron Hall, which tells the story of the friendship between a homeless drifter and an international art dealer. Students could participate in a variety of activities based on the readings, including two See

Welcome page 9

In Other News

Webcast

Obama chooses Biden

Log on to www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see a short newscast from the JMC Network News Cast staff. The JMC Network News Cast staff will post news, sports, arts and features casts weekly on the JMC Network’s YouTube Web site.

Presidential hopeful Barack Obama officially announced his selection of Joe Biden, D-Delaware, as his running mate Saturday. Obama appeared with Biden, 65, in front of the historic building where Abraham Lincoln served as a state legislator and where Obama launched his 2008 presidential campaign.

Source: Associated Press

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acuoptimist.com Read Web exclusive stories and view photographs and videosblog covering the ONLINE EXCLUSIVE: Read the Optimist’s covering the ConACU ConnectEd Summit online.

network

nectEd Summit

Friday, February 27, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 40 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Pg. 5

SA Congress debates lowering Executive Officer scholarships

Pg. 8

Local theater to project week-long Independent Film Series

Former ACU offensive stars catch scouts’ eyes at NFL Combine

ACU appeals ‘excessive’ NCAA football penalties By Grant Abston Sports Editor

Nearly two weeks after the NCAA penalized the ACU football and track and field programs for several violations, the university has weighed its options and de-

cided to appeal the ruling that would vacate the football program’s wins and records from the 2007 season. ACU was penalized Feb. 2 and had 15 days to decide if it would appeal the violations. After making the decision to appeal, the university will

have a 30-day window to submit an appeal to a sub-committee of the NCAA Division II Management Council. Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, said the decision to appeal was his alone, and he made the decision after seeking the advice

of other ACU executive officers as well as director of athletics and compliance director Jared Mosley and ACU’s own legal council. “We had a window of opportunity that we had to declare See

Our main concern is that the 2007 season was vacated, and we think that is an excessive penalty.

:: Dr. Royce Money, president of the university

Appeal page 4

Race on the Table

CBS Sports producer chosen as Alumnus of the Year By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Kenneth Dinkins, senior Bible youth and family ministries major from Toledo, Ohio; Eric Powers, graduate student from Houston; Arielle Collier, freshman vocal performance major from Mesquite; Vincson Green, freshman theater major from Vancouver, Wash.; Anna Peters, senior ministry to children and families and elementary education major from Houston; Caleb Robinson, freshman theater major from New York, N.Y.; and Sherrita Gardner, sophomore journalism major from Dallas, sit at the table for dinner in Melting Pot.

Production explores issues raised by interracial dating Historical Show The 12th annual Essence of Ebony Black History Production, Melting Pot, will debut this weekend in Cullen Auditorium. The play was written by five ACU students. Showtimes: n Friday, 7:30 p.m. n Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $3 in advance and $5 at the door.

By Katie Gager Student Reporter

Essence of Ebony will present the 12th annual Black History Production, titled Melting Pot, at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Cullen Auditorium. This year’s show will focus on the topic of mixed race relationships and the difficulties two families experience to reach acceptance, said the show’s director Byron Martin, senior psychology major from Mesquite.

“There are two big lessons to be learned from this show,” Martin said. “One is to be aware of what you learn from generations that came before you, and the second is to realize that we are all alike and have the same issues and problems.” The show was written by a group of five students, including Byron Martin, Kenneth Dinkins, Anna Peters, DeMarco Howard and Shelby Coates (’06). Work on the show, including actors and set building, be-

gan in January when classes resumed. “This year, we have the most diverse cast we’ve ever had in a Black History Production,” Martin said. The show tells the story of a black girl dating a white boy and the difficulties both families have accepting their relationship. Because of the nature of this year’s theme, the show will include an “audience talk back” session directly after Friday’s show, Martin said. “This provides the audience a forum in which

there can be basic interactions about what is seen in the show,” Martin said. “After seeing the show, there are going to be a lot of thoughts and feelings that need to be discussed.” Martin said he thinks no matter who views the show, everyone will be able to recognize someone they know represented within each of its characters. “I’m pretty sure at some point in the show you will See

Production page 4

Lance Barrow will never forget last Sunday. He said he will not forget the laudatory remarks from his close friends and family, the congratulatory video from sports commentators Phil Simms, John Madden and Jim Nantz and the honor of Barrow being selected as ACU’s 2008 Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. “It’s a blessing to be honored by a university that you think so much about and that you love so much,” Barrow said. “The awards I’ve gotten at Abilene Christian mean more than any award I’ve gotten in my professional life.” Barrow, a 10-time Emmy award-winning producer for CBS Sports and ACU alumnus (’77), was honored as the Alumnus of the Year by the ACU Alumni Association in the Bob and Shirley Hunter Welcome Center on Sunday. The award recognizes ACU alumni who through lifetime achievements bring honor to the university in their personal and professional lives. See

Barrow page 4

Fire scorches more than 1,000 acres By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Dark clouds of smoke blanketed the sky because of another grass fire Thursday afternoon. The relentless blaze was found in the Mulberry Canyon area, where two helicopters and 13 fire departments from Dyess Air Force Base and the Texas Forest Service battled to extinguish the flames that consumed more than 1,000 acres and threatened at least seven homes and 12 buildings. Several wind turbines stood within the mass of billowing smoke, but officials said it was too early to tell whether any of the turbines had been

damaged by the fire in southern Taylor County. A handful of houses and families also were evacuated, but so far, no injuries have been reported and no houses have been damaged, said John Ussery, a volunteer with the Nolan Fire Department. Ussery said numerous acres had burned inside Taylor County and authorities closed off County Road 618 and evacuated residents in the path of the fire. Allen Craft, a Public Information Officer for the Texas Forest Service, said the origins of the fire stemmed from a previous fire two days ago. Local officials and the community had been monitoring the area,

acuoptimist.com See more photos of Thursday’s grass fire and photos from a blaze in Callahan County on Tuesday but current conditions caused the blaze to reignite. The origins of the first fire was created when a transmission line fell and ignited nearby brush and dry grass. The Texas Forest Service and 13 other departments battled the blaze with an air and land assault using two See

Fire page 4

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer A helitanker gathers water in southern Taylor County while smoke from a grass fire fills the West Texas sky. The fire started after a transmission line fell and set dry grass ablaze.

acU wEatHEr

Online Poll :

Friday

Saturday

Sunday

High: 69 Low: 38

High: 58 Low: 28

High: 62 Low: 37

a. Manna from heaven. b. It won’t put a dent in my bill. c. It does not affect me. d. What a waste of money.

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Does ACU have a chance to win its NCAA appeal?

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Pg. 4A-5A Check out this year’s acts and our Editor’s predictions

Friday, February 20, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 38 :: 2 sections, 20 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 9A

Pg. 1B

The Show behind the Show: Students prepare for Sing Song

Pg. 9B

Former ACU Olympian makes a living as a bail bondsman in Abilene

A Night with the Stars: The 81st Academy Awards Preview

Spring enrollment down, but follows retention trend By Laura Acuff Opinion Page Editor

Shortly after ACU’s unveiling of the Mobile Learning Initiative in the fall of 2007, Executive Vice President Phil Schubert found himself in the Bean Sprout, visiting with a group of pro-

spective students for a fall preview day. Upon meeting one family, the mother frankly said, “Pleased to meet you; we’re here because of the iPhone.” Immediately, Schubert protested, saying, “Oh no, don’t say that.” But the woman continued.

Photo Illustration by Zak Zeinert and Heather Leiphert :: photo staff

think outside the box. When I heard about what you guys were doing, I knew that ACU was going to be the right place for my son.” Relieved, Schubert said he appreciated the mother’s understanding of the culture the Mobile Learning Initiative seeks to support.

“No, I mean that in a good way,” she said. “It’s not because you’re giving my son an iPhone. It’s because we want our son to be educated in a place that is pushing the boundaries of innovation and is going to expose him to the kind of environment where he’s going to learn how to

Whether the addition of iPhones and iPod touches to ACU’s campus has supplemented the fall’s increased enrollment numbers and subsequently high spring enrollment numbers, Schubert said he does not know. Regardless, he said he hopes it adds to the environment that attracted the

largest increase in entering students in ten years. “If it’s because kids got a phone, then obviously that doesn’t begin to touch on the substance of what we are trying to create here in our effort to lead the world in a mobile See

Enrollment page 7A

Better ‘Believe’ Sing Song ’09 Has Arrived By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

Skunks? Mice? Judges? Oh my. Sing Song must be upon ACU. After months of preparation and practice for the myriad of performances that make up the 53rd annual Sing Song 2009, Believe, the students who are part of this year’s show will put on one performance Friday and two more Saturday. Tom Craig, director of Student productions, said, “Right now I’m excited because all of the wheels are in motion, and the talent this year so far has been great.” More than 1,500 students will participate in this year’s show as either a host or hostess, co-chair, member of a social club act or class act, as part of the production or video staff or as a member of a student dance team, Craig said. The first show begins at 8 p.m. Friday, and a matinee show will be at 2 p.m. Saturday with a finale at 8 p.m. Craig said he checked the ticket sales on Wednesday evening and no show had sold out yet, but the sales were ahead of the 2008 show. Ezra Witt, senior youth and family ministry major from Tulsa, Okla., said Sing Song is unlike any other event he has performed in and is excited about donning an orange jump suit as part of the Frater Sodalis men’s social club act. “I love Sing Song,” Witt said. “It’s just a time to hang out and just have fun with a show.” See

Sing Song page 7A

30 judges to choose winners By Katie Gager Student Reporter

Pictured: Cody Duncum, senior information technology major from Decatur, and Abigail Sutphen, sophomore biology major from Houston

A group of 30 alumni, music professionals, faculty and staff will choose the winners of this year’s Sing Song. The names of the judges will not be released until the time of the show. The judges will be broken up into 10 judges per show, three to judge

vocals and seven to judge originally, entertainment and appearance. The names of the judges are not released to protect the judges from being swayed in their vote, said Tom Craig, director of Student Productions. When the scores are received, the highest and lowest scores from each judge are also dropped to ensure fairness. See

Judges page 7A

Pictured: Adrian Dennington, junior biology major from Austin, and Aubrey Bonneau, senior graphic design major from Dallas

Hosts, Hostesses ready to entertain audiences

Businesses expect Sing Song surge

By Tanner Anderson

Three hotels near ACU already are completely reserved for Sing Song weekend, and some of the finer restaurants in Abilene also are nearly booked to capacity. Other area businesses are preparing for the flood

Page Designer

Some people learn to run before they can walk; they decide to dive in headfirst right into a challenge no matter how shallow the water may be.

Others pursue a dream with conviction, passion and fervor until their goal is met. Two of this year’s six Sing Song hosts and hostesses used these two methods with great success. See

Hosts page 7A

ACU WEATHER Friday

Saturday

Sunday

High: 73 Low: 44

High: 55 Low: 30

High: 64 Low: 40

By Molly Byrd Assistant Copy Editor

Sing Song

of families who will be looking for entertaining things to do and places to dine. “The Whitten Inn has been booked full for several weeks,” said Carri Hernandez, front desk manager at Whitten Inn. “The hotel is getting ready for the Sing See

The Whitten Inn has been booked full for several weeks. The hotel is getting ready for the Sing Song rush. :: Carri Hernandez, front desk manager at Whitten Inn

Surge page 7A

videos, Podcasts slide shows

@

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a. The class acts. b. The social club acts. c. The performances between acts. d. The day after the show ends.

acuoptimist.com Abilene Christian University

What do you look forward to at Sing Song?

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Pg. 6 Photos from the Freshman Follies performances

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 10 :: 1 sections, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 7

Pg 4

Chapel monitors on guard for ‘Sliders and Gliders’

Pg 10

ACU leads charge with Facebook university application

Rolling on the Road: Wildcat football team moves to 3-0

Pledging numbers down from 2007 By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Students across campus are sporting a new dress code. Some of the men are wearing wrinkle free suits and ties, while some women can be seen wearing different colored buttoned up shirts and skirts. If students are not sure what to think, they should know it is all just the start to a new pledge season. About 80 men and 166 women accepted their bids this year. According to Optimist archives, those num-

bers are substantially down from 2007 when 223 women and 108 men pledged. They are even lower than in 2006, when 235 women and 142 men pledged. “It was a smaller pledge class, but we had a smaller freshman class last year,” said Mauri Westbrook, director of Student Organizations. “We’re in the second year of implementing the new rules, and all of our clubs seem to be doing a great job abiding by our expectations,” she said. New rules were created to

ensure the safety of current pledges, while other rules limited the amount of pledges a social club could have; it is known around campus as a pledge cap. The pledge cap seems to work as an equalizer, a chance for larger clubs to retain their size, while giving other clubs a chance to grow. “I think there are some positive and negatives,” said Jamie Lyn Spires, president of Ko Jo Kai and senior communication major from Arlington. “It’s good for smaller clubs See

Numbers page 9

Pledging Numbers More than 200 students are pledging various social clubs this fall. Men n Frater Sodalis — 4 n Gamma Sigma Phi — 31 n Galaxy— 33 n Pi Kappa ­—1 n Sub T-16 — 12 Women n Alpha Kai Omega- 41 n Delta Theta — 19 n GATA — 10 n Ko Jo Kai — 48 n Sigma Theta Chi — 48

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Ryan Hodges, senior marketing and management major from Cimarron, Kan., encourages pledges Brian Patterson, sophomore chemistry major from Rowlett; Kevin Goodpaster, sophomore management major from North Richland Hills; and Jeffry Bankes, sophomore business and finance major from Fort Worth, during Bid Night Friday.

Students plan to recharter Trojans

In God’s court of law because of Christ we are treated as if we have never sinned at all. :: Dr. Leroy Garrett, Summit keynote speaker

By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Dr. Leroy Garrett gives his interpretation of Paul’s letter to the Roman church in a sermon titled “Righteousness of God Revealed Through Faith and For Faith” during Summit’s opening Theme Conversation in Moody Coliseum Sunday. Garrett was the first of seven speakers chosen by Brady Bryce, director of ministry events, to explore Romans.

Garrett ties righteousness to grace By Daniel Johnson-Kim

acuoptimist.com

Editor in Chief

See footage of Dr. Leroy Garrett’s sermon on the “Righteousness of God”

In front of an audience of more than 2,000 people Sunday, Dr. Leroy Garrett challenged those filling the seats in Moody Coliseum to rethink how they define the Apostle Paul’s writings on God’s righteousness. Rather than accept what he called the popular translation of Paul’s words in Romans 1:17, Garrett told his audience of varying ages to define the “Righteousness of God” as

the Lord’s grace given to all people who do not deserve it. “The Gospel reveals how God because of what he did through Christ says to a sinful man, ‘Not guilty,’ even when he is guilty,” Garrett said.

“In God’s court of law because of Christ we are treated as if we have never sinned at all.” The 89-year-old scholar, who throughout his life was known as a radical and outsider in the Churches of Christ, was the keynote speaker for Summit and launched the Theme Conversations that will continue through Wednesday. Randy Harris, instructor of Bible, ministry and missions; Eric Wilson, See

Garrett page 9

Still on The Schedule

Wilson

Seidman

Three speakers remain on the schedule for the Summit Theme Conversations n Randy Harris (Tuesday, 7 p.m.) n Eric Wilson (Wednesday, 11 a.m.) n Chris Seidman (Wednesday, 7 p.m.)

Hundreds of students submerged into the pledging world Friday. Pledges will display their new pledge pins and learn about their clubs’ traditions during pledging, and now, more than 30 young men want to add to that custom and revive history by jump-starting the social club Trojans. “Every year guys I know have gotten together before pledging begins and talked about bringing back a social club. Now we have 33 guys who are interested in attempting to re-charter the club,” said Matt Lambro, senior interdisciplinary major from Colleyville. The Trojans are off campus and are not recognized by ACU as an active club. After meeting with Mauri Westbrook, director of Student Organizations, Monday, Lambro said the men will need to develop a new constitution and write a paper on the club’s history, its status the last five years and where the men hope to take the club by the end of the semester in order to complete the rechartering process. See

Trojans page 9

Summit classes tackle topic of same-sex attraction By Colter Hettich Features Editor

Sally Gary, assistant professor of communication and Center Peace founder, opened her three-part session Monday morning entitled “Nothing Can Separate Us: God’s Love for the Same-Sex Struggler.” Gary provides compassion and support for Christians struggling with same-sex attraction personally and through her ministry, Center

Peace. She also leads a support group on the ACU campus for students who may have nowhere else to go. Brady Bryce, director of ministry events, said some student leaders approached him with the idea of inviting Gary to speak, and she willingly agreed. The session deals with what remains a sensitive subject in the Church, although Gary said she has seen a growing compassion and awareness in the Churches of Christ. Bryce hopes no

one will avoid the class out of fear or insecurity. “This is not a hidden, no room number, come for anonymous strugglers,” Bryce said. “Everybody is interested because we are all touched by it and are all involved in it.” Gary feels such a strong desire to minister to this demographic because she knows what it is like. “I grew up, like many of you, going to church with parents who were actively involved in church,”

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Gary said. “But at the same time, there were a lot of things we didn’t talk about.” What was not being discussed was Gary’s unhealthy, and many times abusive, relationship with her father. The consequences of spending her childhood ”starved” for her father’s attention and affection later manifested itself in the form of same-sex attraction. See

acuoptimist.com See a video of Monday’s “Nothing Can Separate Us: God’s Love for the Same-Sex Struggler,” Summit class online. Gary

Gary page 9

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Log on to www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see Tuesday’s newscast from the JMC Network Newscast staff. In this week’s newscast: a review of Summit events and classes and footage of Friday’s Bid Night activities.

Did you pledge a social club this fall?

a. No, I am not a sheep. b. Yes, and I regret it. c. What is a social club? d. Yes, I couldn’t be happier

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Friday, April 17, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 50 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

Pg. 7

SpringBoard winners to be announced at Friday dinner

Pg. 5 A tad short: ‘Shorts’ entertaining, but lacks consistent quality

Faculty and staff take on students in wheelchair basketball game

Pg. 8

Wildcat pitcher hurls no-hitter against UT-Permian Basin

Maymester participants to design iPhone applications By Heather Leiphart Staff Photographer

The School of Information Technology and Computing will offer a new Maymester class that potentially could pay for itself and more.

Dr. Fortune Mhlanga, professor of information technology and computing, and Dr. Brian Burton, assistant professor of information technology, will teach mobile computing, a course in which students will learn how to create their own

SHADES clocks into ‘The Office’ for annual show By Megan Haggerton Student Reporter

Fans of The Office can enjoy a special treat this weekend when SHADES performs its annual show, also titled The Office, which is a play off the popular television sitcom. SHADES performed a preview of Step Show the show in Chapel SHADES will on Wednesday, and perform its the actual perforannual show mance will be 7:30 in Cullen p.m. on Friday and Auditorium this Saturday in Cullen weekend. Auditorium. n Where: Cullen For all their perAuditorium formances, SHADES n When: 7:30 members choreop.m. Friday and graph their own Saturday moves without outn Cost: $5 in advance; $6 at side help. They credoor ate their own stomp routines, making their shows unique. Denarco Howard, junior fine arts major from Houston, has been a member of SHADES since his freshman year. “The Office is about two main characters who have an attraction to one another but are too shy to say anything,” Howard said. “The rest of the cast will play co-workers who try their best to boost the soon-to-be couple’s confidence in order to help them start a relationship.” The Office cast consists of five men and nine women, 12 of which are brand new to SHADES. This year the members of SHADES are all newcomers, except for the two captains, Jasmine Jones and Howard, who are returning participants. Emily Blacklock, freshman marketing major from Temple, said she practiced each week for the show to make it entertaining. “The Office will be a very interesting and entertaining show that will showcase ACU’s diversity as a student See

iPhone and iPod touch applications. ACU obtained educational licenses for students and faculty to create and test applications, and students who want to sell their creations will need to purchase a $100 commercial license, Burton said.

they’re going to make, they could potentially create something that they could market on the Apple Web site.” What students learn will be applicable to other devices such as

“I would love to see all of the students develop an application that they can sell and make a little bit of money off of,” Burton said. “The final project for the course is to make an application, and depending upon how much interest and commitment

See

Online poll discloses uneasiness with core

Not Their Cup of Policy

By Tanner Anderson Page Designer

Dr. Brent Reeves, chair of the Faculty Senate sent out an e-mail two weeks ago asking a hypothetical question to ACU’s faculty: Would you fund the new curriculum with your retirement? Eighty percent of those who participated in the survey responded with no. The survey sent to faculty members was not meant to distinguish the implementation of the new core curriculum, but was created to discover the faculty’s opinion of the relationship between recent university decisions and the cost of implementing the curriculum, said Reeves, associate professor of management science and computer science. As part of a plan to cut back costs, the university will reduce the amount it matches in faculty retirement percentages from 8 to 6 percent, and there is a freeze on faculty raises. These changes would loosen the current budget belt enough to implement the new curriculum, Reeves said.

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer Tommy Walden, dressed as the American symbol Uncle Sam, stands on the corner of North 4th and Pine streets at the Big Country TEA Party, a local protest organized in conjuction with similar protests throughout the nation to voice distaste with the government.

Residents protest ‘wasteful’ government By Daniel Johnson-Kim Editor in Chief

See

There was no harbor and no Native American disguises, but that did not stop more than 1,000 Big Country residents from sponsoring a TEA party protest to acuoptimist.com voice their opposition to what they call unnec- Videos and a slideshow of essary spending by the photographs from Wednesfederal government and day’s Big Country TEA Party socialistic policies. The TEA — an acronym for Taxed Enough Already — party participants gathered at all four corners on the cross roads of North 4th and Pine streets from 6-8 p.m. Big Country residents of

SHADES page 4

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Class page 3

Protest page 4

Survey page 7

Study Abroad adds German site to options By Katie Gager Student Reporter

Heather Leiphart :: staff photographer

The Study Abroad program will be expanding its global experiences by adding Leipzig, Germany, as an additional location that students may choose to study at in spring 2010. The program now includes two locations in Oxford, England, and Montevideo, Uruguay, and hopes to see the Leipzig location as a new opportunity for students to learn about the world through studying abroad,

Above Right: Bob Kazma signs a petition at the Big Country TEA Party on Wednesday. Hundreds of protestors signed a petition that will be sent to the White House in Washington, D.C. Right: Mary Ross, an organizer of the Big Country “Taxed Enough Already Party,” voices her criticism of the spending policies of the federal government. The mother of three led a crowd of more than 1,000 in chants of “No More!” and “Enough!” Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer

See

Germany page 4

Business faculty explore student opportunities in China By Colter Hettich Features Editor Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer Emily Blacklock, freshman undeclared major from Temple, dances Wednesday during a preview performance of SHADES annual show.

Three faculty members of the College of Business Administration returned from China after spending 10 days examining in-

ternship and career opportunities for students. Dr. Rick Lytle, dean of the College of Business Administration; Dr. Jonathan Stewart, associate professor of finance; and Mike Winegeart, assistant professor of marketing

and director of COBA’s global programs, met with Dr. Richard Chang, CEO, president and founder of Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corps, SMIC, in Shanghai and discussed the potential for a working relationship.

ACU weAtheR

“If we were to say we were missionaries, we’re not getting into the country,” Lytle said. “But as business people, the door is wide open.” See

China page 4

Online Poll :

a. China b. Mexico c. Australia d. I’m fine staying in Abilene.

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Pg. 8 Baseball head coach hits milestone in career wins

Wednesday, February 11, 2009 :: Vol. 97, No. 35 :: 1 section, 8 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg. 3

The ‘World Famous’ Bean offers romantic evening for students

Pg. 3

Students collect prom dresses for underprivileged youth

Pg. 5

Former Jamaican professional awaits turn to swing for ACU

Southern Hills’ video seen by millions on ‘YouTube’ By Kaitlyn Sellgren Student Reporter

When Stephen Corbett uploaded Stethoscope, a less than three-minute video he produced in October, onto www.YouTube. com, he said it was optimistic to assume at least 1,000 people might see it. More than three months later, the video Corbett, congregation life minister at Southern Hills Church of Christ, assembled as a supplement to a sermon prepared by Phil Ware, Southern Hills preaching minister, is approaching 3 million views and being screened in churches

videos Corbett produces to accompany sermons at Southern Hills, was intended to be used one time on Oct. 12, 2008. Corbett said the video to his private YouTube account and embedded it on the Southern Hills’ Web site. “We were anticipating 1,500 sets of eyes laid on this video, and it’s obviously gone beyond that,” Corbett said. In the short time it was online, Corbett watched the views of the video soar past 1,000, jump above 100,000 and the church replayed the video at the beginning of one service in December to celebrate

throughout the nation. “It’s hard to get your mind around 2.5 million or 3 million people viewing something you’ve produced,” Corbett said. The video was made as an illustration to accompany a sermon by Ware that focused on Colossians 1:27, which reads, “And the mystery is Christ lives in you, and he is your hope of sharing God’s glory.” To make the video, Corbett and other church members brainstormed ideas, and Corbett filmed the video in downtown Abilene without a script and only a camera, stethoscope and a Slurpee. They shot the video in 45 minutes and Corbett edited it later. This video, just like all other

See

Students shine at annual show By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

The glitz and glamour of a typical fashion show was all but unapparent at the first annual Black History Month Fashion Show, Fade 2 Fashion, Saturday night in the Bean Sprout. Instead, the show had a comfortable and intimate feel as 20 models strutted down the runway. And that was exactly the feeling producer Mallorie Frank (‘08) wanted for the show. “Everything that everyone wore came out of their closet,” Frank said. “What you wear in some way shows who you are, and I wanted to celebrate that.” The show drew more than 150 people; that was fewer than last year’s show, in which more than 250 came to see students strut their stuff, Frank said. Despite the lower numbers, Frank said the show was a success. Last year, the fashion show was in the Williams Performing Arts Center, but she wanted a more comfortable place for this year’s show. “It was a closer setting, and a big space can seem intimidating to some people,” Frank said. “You can have a lot more fun because you’re not afraid to talk, laugh and wave at your friends who are walking down the runway.” See

YouTube page 4

‘Shinnery Review’ content deadline approaches By Lezlee Gutierrez Broadcast Assistant

Jozie Sands :: staff photographer Tony Harp, junior excercise science major from San Antonio, flexes his muscles while strutting down a runway at the Fade 2 Fashion fashion show on Saturday in the Bean Sprout. More than 150 people attended the event put on to honor Black History Month.

Fashion page 4

acuoptimist.com: View a video and a photo slideshow of ‘Fade 2 Fashion,’ a fashion show held on in honor of Black Histo ry Month

Saturday marks the final day for students to submit art and literary work for the publication of the Shinnery Review this year. The Shinnery Review is a student-run literary magazine printed annually at the end of the spring semester. The magazine features poetry, photography, short stories and general artwork submitted by ACU students. The staff members of the magazine meet each Thursday to judge and choose quality work that will be published. Students lately have submitted an average of two entries a week, and as the end of the week draws near, staff members hope more work See

Shinnery page 4

Nearby apartment complex to open in March

SA Update

By Ryan Elam Student Reporter

Appropriations Committee:

Granted $600 to Galaxy for the annual Kirk Goodwin run and $2,967.20 to Jack Pope Fellows for a trip with Fannin Elementary (Title I school) 4th Graders to Austin. Of the $10,205 allotted to the Appropriations Committee from the SA spring 2009 budget, $6,637.80 remains in the committee’s funds.

Research and Development Committee:

Considering signature events for the student body, like a bon fire, lawn slip-and-slide and Play Faire Park event

Internal Affairs Committee:

Organizing an SA-sponsored basketball game that would break the Guiness World Book of Records’ world record for the world’s longest basketball game ever played.

Read coverage of Wednesday’s Students’ Association Congress meeting online at www.acuoptimist.com and in Friday’s edition of the Optimist.

Renting options

Construction for a new apartment complex is nearing completion on the corner of Ambler Avenue and East Lake Road, next to Wal-Mart. Trinity Hughes, LLC, a construction company based in Wichita Falls, is building the complex, which will open in March. According to building permits filed with the city, the Residence at Heritage Parks will consist of four 29,469-square-foot buildings, five 28,842-square-foot buildings and 196 apartments. It will cost $10.2 million to build. Lezlie Sifuentes, onsite manager for the complex, said that aside from being brand new, the Residence at Heritage Parks will provide some special amenities for its residents. “We will have a [state-of-theart] fitness center, a business

ACU WeAtHeR

Residence at Heritage Parks will soon join the ranks of several apartment complexes around or near ACU’s campus: n Riatta Ranch, 1111 Musken Road n University Park Apartments, 2150 N Judge Ely Boulevard n Cimarron Apartments, 500 N Judge Ely Boulevard n The Grove, 2702 N. Judge Ely Boulevard Source: www.apartmentratings.com

center where students can work on computers and access the Internet and a swimming pool with a grotto,” Sifuentes said. Other amenities include a stereo system in the pool area for resident activities, alarm systems available in every apartment and

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Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer A bulldozer drives around the construction site at the Residence at Heritage Parks apartment complex. The complex consists of 196 rooms and will open in March.

a tennis court, basketball court and sand volleyball court. The Residence at Heritage Parks is also the exclusive housing provider for the Ruff Riders, Abilene’s professional indoor football team, and will provide exclusive promotions for residents only.

“We’ll give away door prizes and tickets. Residents can qualify to utilize our season passes that we get in the VIP section, and we’ll have a ‘meet and greet’ with the players and cheerleaders,” Sifuentes said. See

Complex page 4

Online Poll : Log onto www.acuoptimist.com or www.youtube. com/acuvideo to see weekly News casts and Sports casts from the JMC Network News Team and videos profiling various events and stories around campus and Abilene.

Would you rather live in a house or an apartment complex?

a. A house with friends. b. An apartment complex. c. Neither. d. I’d rather live with my mom.

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Pg. 6 Take a spin around the rides at the West Texas Fair & Rodeo

Wednesday, September 10, 2008 :: Vol. 97, No. 5 :: 1 section, 10 pages :: www.acuoptimist.com

Inside This Issue:

Pg 3

The West Texas Fair & Rodeo will be in Abilene until Saturday

Pg 7

Pg 8

Newly renovated ‘World Famous Bean’ officially opens for business

Executive Perspective: Guest column by Daniel Paul Watkins

‘An outrageous act’ SA noose incident sparks investigation By Michael Freeman Managing Editor

Students’ Association President Daniel Paul Watkins said he went through a rush of emotions after he discovered a noose on his office chair around 12:35 p.m. Sept. 3. “It didn’t seem real,” Watkins said. “I didn’t believe that it was happening; that was my first reaction.” Immediately, feelings of shock, anger, hurt and revenge all crossed his mind, Watkins said. But then, he stopped on the idea of forgiveness. “I realized that although that was what my flesh wanted that it’s important to overcome that and react the way that God has called me to, out of love and forgiveness.” Watkins said. “Nothing positive would really come out of getting angry. My only hope for achieving anything positive is to react in love and progress from there.” Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, addressed the student body on the incident in Friday’s Chapel. “Whether it was intended to be a thoughtless and insensitive prank or whether there was more serious intent, I see it as an outrageous act, which flies in the face of everything this institution stands for,” Money said. See

Noose page 4

acuoptimist.com See an interview with Daniel Paul Watkins about the incident and his thoughts on the university’s reaction.

Zak Zeinert :: chief photographer In Chapel Friday, Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, called the noose in Students’ Association President Daniel Paul Watkins’ office an “outrageous act, which flies in the face of everything this institution stands for.”

Students condemn act as hatred, wrong

Episode initiates class discussion

By Tanner Anderson

By Daniel Johnson-Kim

Page Designer

Students across campus say they are filled with rage and frustration after Wednesday’s noose incident, and they strongly desire to bring together ACU’s diverse community. What baffles and surprises many students is that such an action happened on a Christian campus. “I’m a little disappointed that it happened in ACU. It’s sad that something of that caliber and hatred took place here,” said Kelsey Evans, senior interior design major from Gresham, Ore. “Hopefully this will never happen again, and the community can come together and have a better Christian focus.” Although most may not agree with the action, it has created a small wound within

It’s sad that something of that caliber and hatred took place here.

:: Kelsey Evans, senior interior design major from Gresham, Org.

the ACU community, students said. Several people are disappointed to see such racism shown in this day and age, and others are upset there exists a fraction of students attending a Christian university who put race before religion. “I think our campus is smart enough to know that this action was caused by a See

Students page 4

ACU WEATHER 70%

Editor in Chief

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Courtesy Daniel Paul Watkins

SA Congress President Daniel Paul Watkins snapped a photograph of the noose he discovered in his deskchair in the Students’ Association office.

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As the ACU Police Department investigates the noose discovered in the office of Students’ Association President Daniel Paul Watkins, faculty members speak out against the event. “I don’t think this incident captures what we are all about,” said Dr. Steven Moore, associate professor of English. “Whether you’re black or white, I think it affected all of us.” Moore said he and several faculty members he had spoken with were behind Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, and supported the decision to investigate the incident and treat it as a serious matter. “The investigation is being taken very seriously, and I trust exactly what Dr. Money

Log on to www.youtube.com/acuvideo to see Wednesday’s newscast from the JMC Network Newscast staff. In this week’s newscast: the Bean ribbon cutting ceremony, the noose incident, the West Texas Fair & Rodeo and the recent rain.

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said, and the faculty and staff I’ve been talking to also trust what President Money said in Chapel,” Moore said. Dr. Neal Coates, associate professor of political science, said he was shocked when he heard about the incident involving Watkins, senior political science major from Fredericksburg, Va., whom he has had in class. “I was astounded that someone could be so insensitive to American History and how African-Americans have been treated in the past,” Coates said. Both professors said students in at least one of their classes discussed the event. “We try to be careful to explore issues of race and other issues that society suffers with,” Moore said. “I think

Class page 4

What action should be taken for the noose incident?

a. ACU should investigate. b. There should be open discussion. c. The culprit should be expelled. d. Forgive and forget.

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