Friday, Jan. 22, 2010
National Anthem Task Force Proposal
The following is the proposal submitted by the national anthem task force to the Goshen College President’s Council.
Goshen College, as a Mennonite college, has a history of not playing the national anthem at sporting events. However, over the past number of years, as the campus community has become more diverse, a growing number of students, faculty and staff have questioned this practice. In response, a Task Force comprised of administrative faculty, teaching faculty and students was formed to review this practice, facilitate discussion, gather thoughts and ultimately submit a proposal on GC’s future practice regarding the national anthem at sporting events.
Allow the practice of using an instrumental version of the national anthem prior to Goshen College varsity sporting events. Spectators would not be asked to “honor” or “give allegiance” but simply be invited to respectfully stand during the playing of the national anthem. They would be free to show their support/respect to whatever level they feel comfortable (ie. simply standing silently, singing the words, placing a hand over their heart etc).
As our student body continues to become more diverse and we continue to attract students who hold differing views of what it means to give allegiance to God, we will need to consider this diversity and how hospitality is demonstrated not only to the external community, but also within our own internal community. In this context, Goshen’s practice of not playing the anthem becomes a focal point for some fans, students, student-athletes, and recruits for whom playing the anthem is an assumed cultural ritual at sporting events. While there may be variations of personal position on this issue among our own students, staff and faculty, the issue of how these various positions can be reflected becomes part of the big picture of what it means to live in community. And while some may say it goes too far, others may say it doesn’t go far enough. In either case, and for those in between, making the anthem available at sporting events allows those for whom it means much, to show their support, while for those who do not share the same position, to show respect and hospitality to their peers, while not necessarily agreeing with their position.
—Submitted in October 2009, by National Anthem Task Force
Bill Born, Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students; Tim Demant, Athletic Director; Joe Liechty, Professor of Peace, Justice & Conflict Studies; Jewel Lehman, Associate Professor of Physical Education & Secondary Education; Gary Chupp, Men’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Professor of Physical Education; Alli Hawkins and Daniel Martin, Goshen College student-athletes