Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

January 22, 2010

UPDATE: GC to play national anthem - sometimes

Years of discussion over whether or not to play the national anthem before Goshen College sporting events has ended with the decision to play the anthem before some games.

The decision was announced Friday. Beginning in March an instrumental version of the anthem will be played before sporting events selected by the athletic department.

Students learned about the decision in the morning, and were talking about it on campus.

“I think it’s a good compromise for them to please the people on both sides of the issue, visiting students and athletes,” said Nick Good, a senior from Pennsylvania.

The college has had a long tradition of not playing the anthem at sporting events due to its affiliation with the Mennonite church. But debate about the tradition has been ongoing at the school for the better part of a decade.

Michelle Miller, a senior from Ohio, said she liked the tradition. “It seems like an OK way to please people, but I kind of liked Goshen trying to be intentional about not supporting things. If we’re playing the national anthem, does that mean we’re supporting the war, and different things like that?”

The debate over the anthem came to a head in the fall of 2008 when the decision not to play the anthem at a GC women’s basketball game caused an attendee to contact numerous local and national media outlets in protest.

Within days, more than 300 phone calls and e-mails were received by the college, both in support and opposition to the practice. The public’s involvement caused college officials to postpone discussions about examining the anthem policy until tempers had cooled.

In the spring of 2009, the President’s Council formed a national anthem task force made up of students, faculty, and administrators to once again examine the issue and develop a recommendation.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

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