Dance at ONU is no quickstep

Sophomore Madi Rupert dances alongside her classmates during the Ollies Follies variety show on Sunday, Sept. 11. Dancing is allowed as long as it is choreographed. Photo by Ethan Barse

By Cathy Schutt

Students itching to be “dancing in the street” at Olivet will have to wait, as the administration has yet to reach a verdict on the dancing proposal that was offered last year.

The board of trustees will meet on Nov. 11 to discuss a proposition brought by former Student Body President Evan Karg regarding an all-school dance.

Traditionally, dancing has not been allowed at Nazarene colleges and universities, as Article 34.4 of the Nazarene Manual prohibits “all forms of dancing that detract from spiritual growth and break down proper moral inhibitions and reserve.”

But in April 2010, Karg addressed a letter to VP for Student Development Woody Webb, requesting approval for the Associated Student Council (ASC) to host a line dance on campus.

The dance would be choreographed and would feature pre-approved country, urban and R&B songs designated for line dancing.

An instructor would lead the dancing for each song.

Though the proposition received little feedback when presented to the board of trustees in May 2011, the subject will be brought up again at the board meeting in November.

In fact, Karg’s proposal will be the main topic of discussion. Board members will have the opportunity to offer their opinions to the administrative cabinet, which will decide whether or not plans for the dance will move forward.

Current Student Body President Kyle Lowry will also attend the meeting to add to the dialogue and answer questions.

Lowry said he appreciates the work the administration has already done on this project.

“Evan [Karg]’s proposal would go nowhere without the help of Student Development,” he said.

The idea for a campus dance was sparked by a similar proposal made by Matthew A. Taylor, former co-chair of the Nazarene Student Leadership Association.

In February 2009, Taylor wrote a note to a member of the board of general superintendents, urging the board to consider a “broader interpretation” of the dancing policy found in the Nazarene Manual.

Taylor requested the board allow planned and supervised forms of dancing that do not promote immoral behavior.

A responsive note from board member Jesse C. Middendorf promised to “continue to facilitate dialogue” with representatives from all Nazarene colleges and universities.

Some Nazarene schools are already making strides toward the changes Taylor proposed. Northwest Nazarene University and MidAmerica Nazarene University have both hosted themed dances on their campuses, according to VP for Student Development Woody Webb.

Olivet’s administrative members have deliberated the topic of dancing for the past four years and will continue the discussion when they meet later this fall.

“Decisions like this should not be made quickly or without lots of feedback,” Webb said.

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