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IWU Cancels Two Cross-Cultural Trips for 2024

By: Sydney Leyerle, Brian Weah, Bryce Crossman, Kenzie Ogden, and Kennedy Conger

(This post has been edited: 03/19/2024

The University canceled two trips several weeks ago, and its impact on students and faculty has caused the students and faculty to adjust.

            Both students and professors from The School of Theology and Ministry (STM) and Modern Language, Literature, and Communication (MLLC) have had to adjust schedules and figure out alternative plans to make up for the canceled trips. 

Canceled Due to War

Professor Brian Bernius, the acting dean of STM, said in an email regarding the canceled Holy Land Trip, “Students were made aware in the Fall of the possibility of cancellation. The hope was that the war would end quickly, allowing us to go this summer.” 

However, with the war between Israel and Hamas still going on, it is unsafe to travel.  

“There’s certainly disappointment,” Miranda Cruze, Chair of STM said. “A lot of the students who were going were really excited to go.”

Rev. Bernius and Cruze said they are working on an audit of the courses needed for the students who need the Holy Land trip to graduate. The trip is rescheduled for the summer of 2025. 

“It’s disappointing”: Reactions to Canceled Ireland Trip

In the MLLC, the Ireland trip headed by Drs. Tim Esh and Katie Karnehm-Esh was also canceled. 

Every two years the Eshs lead a trip to Ireland to help integrate practical applications for the courses they teach. 

Nathan Fayard, a professor in MLLC, had just finished teaching British Literature when the cancelation email was sent out. Most of the students going on the trip were in his class. 

“As the class was breaking up, students were chatting, and they check their email and got that message,” Fayard said. “There was a stunned silence. And then questions began to fly back and forth. Why is this happening? What? What’s going on? Is this real? And then one of the students started weeping. And it became very clear what this meant to them.”

Paul Allison, a professor in MLLC, said that most of the students planning to go on the trip had been preparing for it for two years at the time of the cancellation. 

“They not only lose the trip and the opportunity to go to another country with their peers and professors that they really like, but they have to make up those credits in other ways,” Allison said. 

Allison said he does not believe any students needed the Ireland trip to graduate. However, some students counted on those credits to ease their senior year. 

“I was frustrated about it originally. I’m doing better now,” Clay Herring, a student from MLLC, said. “It was a travel writing class, something that was going to be helpful for getting my intercultural credit. So that’s been hard to figure out what I’m going to do instead.”

“It was really disappointing for me because I had planned my summer around that trip. So when I heard that it was canceled, I was pretty disappointed, I didn’t have summer plans,” Freshman Ella McDivitt said.

Allison said that due to the late cancellation of the trip, most other classes the students could have wanted to take are full, causing another adjustment for them. 

“It was really disappointing because then I felt like I’d done a whole bunch of work for nothing like it wasn’t going to pay off,” McDivitt said.

McDivitt, however, said she trying to look at the situation in a positive light, knowing that there will be other opportunities for her in the future, even if it isn’t this summer. Herring agreed.

“I am keeping my eye out for the (intercultural trip courses) next spring to see if there are any that I like out of to go on one of those trips,” Herring said. “But for the most part, I’m probably going to save my money and spend it elsewhere.”

Herring has expressed interest in taking one of the general education courses offered next year to help with his credit requirements. 

 “I will say that this feels cataclysmic to those who had their heart set on this and for whom many of them won’t have an opportunity to do this kind of thing again,” Fayard said.

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