Cultural diversity has recently become a recurring issue on campus, with many areas of the university-like admissions, social clubs and Chapel-focusing on becoming more culturally diverse.
We agree this is an issue the university needs to address, and the university is headed in the right direction.
However, the efforts to incorporate diversity in Chapel have fallen short. For the last few weeks, the Chapel program has included song leaders and verse readers of different backgrounds than those who usually lead. But it seems Chapel is stuck in a rut.
It’s great that the team is trying to incorporate different nationalities to lead Chapel, and the Hispanic population on campus is the third largest behind the white and black populations. But ACU prides itself on recruiting students from more than 60 countries, and it seems the efforts to have more cultural diversity have left them in the cold. We haven’t sung anything in German, Swahili, Mandarin or any other language but English and Spanish.
Also, Brad Carter, coordinator of Chapel, told the Optimist that when Chapel surveys were conducted last year, it was the black students who said they didn’t know many songs, and for them, going to Chapel was like going to a white church everyday. However, Chapel’s diversity efforts are focusing almost solely on the Hispanic populace.
The different ethnic singers also should be allowed to lead the entire worship segment of Chapel to truly display a strong effort to show cultural diversity. And instead of singing the regular Chapel songs and converting them to the leaders’ language, which is awkward, the leaders could choose songs originally written in their own language.
Despite all of this, Chapel has been better than last semester: there are more announcements, better incorporation of various organizations on campus, and Thursday’s interactive forums have vastly improved the quality of Chapel.
The Chapel Program Team has the right idea: Chapel has been racially divided, and different cultural and ethnic songs should be included. However, being culturally diverse does not just mean white and Hispanic; it should include every race, culture and ethnicity we have at this university.