‘Open to all creeds’: Resolution brings closure to the dilemma over Grace Memorial Chapel


File Photo

The Harvey D. Grace Memorial Chapel

A recently placed sign outside of the Harvey D. Grace Memorial Chapel designates it as “open to all creeds and all races of people.” Wash basins have been installed in the RSC.

The saga of the chapel controversy can now be put to rest.

When pews were removed in favor of foldable chairs during renovations in May 2015, Wichita State received backlash from people, including donors and alumni, who viewed the removal as a kind of “Muslim takeover” of a Christian house of worship.

The chapel was dedicated in 1963 to be a place for anyone to pray.

WSU is a public university, meaning that it belongs, at least in some part, to the entire campus community.

Everyone who lives in Wichita, or supports the university in some capacity, has a voice.

That means donors, alumni, and students alike have the right to speak up about change and respond to perceived criticism or attacks on their way of life.

It isn’t a defensible argument to say that Muslim students should have to pray in-between the book stacks at Ablah Library. The principle of religious freedom is a cornerstone of American society.

Not living up to that legacy is a disgrace. For too long, we discussed whether the pew removal was an attempt at inclusion or a “Muslim takeover.”

Given the controversy that the renovations devolved into over the last two years, the new signage brings with it a sigh of relief.

A Muslim student has as much right as any Christian student to have a safe, quiet, and consistent place to practice their faith. You don’t have to like it, but that’s the way things are, and the way they ought to be.

Openly accepting students of all faiths, creeds, and races isn’t a Muslim takeover. It’s just basic human decency.