Owned and published by UMHB, The Bells is a biweekly publication. This content was previously published in print on the Opinions page. Opinions expressed in this section do not necessarily reflect the views of the staff or the university.

Leader calls campus to embrace change
Aug27

Leader calls campus to embrace change

Article by Tommy Wilson Welcome to the 2009 fall semester at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. For those of you who are entering your first semester, we are pumped that you chose to be with us this year. For everyone else on your third, sixth or even tenth semester, we are glad to have you back as well. It is going to be a great year of adventure and new opportunities for all of us. As you walk around, you will notice several changes around campus. From a revamped SUB to a new sound system in the chapel, UMHB has upgraded some key features. We also have new administrators—Dr. Randy O’Rear as president, and Dr. Byron Weathersbee as vice president for Student Life. All these little changes are not so vast and radical that you say, “What happened to UMHB?” but they do bring a new feel and look to the life and appearance of our university. They will help bring out the best in our school and allow us to grow into what God is calling us to be. There were two things from my campaign last year that I still hold to. One is building community on campus. The second is striving to impact the world we live in. A motto that does justice to both ideas is “Building community inwardly to affect our community outwardly.” We will make every effort to unify the different cultures represented on campus, while still respecting their individual qualities. The community that I hope to affect is not just UMHB or Belton, but the world. We have a great chance to be a part of and make a difference in our global community, which starts here at home with us and spreads out all over the world. This is not an effort for just one person, but for our campus as a whole—stepping outside of who we are normally in order to meet new people, try new things and make new friends. It takes a willing attitude to sit with different people in Hardy, meet new people around campus and interact with new people in the classroom. This vision is not just something I have come up with, but something I believe God is calling our school to do as a whole. I am excited about our upcoming year and to looking back one year from now to see the changes that will have taken place. I hope you will share this passion with me to see this come about, knowing that together we can change our campus and the...

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Sorry to leave the school once hated, eventually loved

I hated UMHB at first. I chose it on a whim, a sense that it was the place God planned for me to go. Transferring in during the spring of my freshman year, it didn’t take long before I started having second thoughts. The school was too small, the people too cliquish, and the football games nothing like watching the Aggies. More like watching my high school team. Actually, my high school was bigger. In short, UMHB had none of the vanities I always imagined would accompany the college experience, and I made plans to transfer out as soon as possible. Then something happened. I couldn’t leave. The Lord spoke clearly into my life through many ways and told me to stay. I hated Him for it. I felt shackled inside a prison of a Christian bubble I desperately wanted to escape. Then, over time, something stranger happened. I didn’t want to leave. Maybe it was the people, the unimaginable, overwhelming friendships with so many generous souls who invited me into their lives and loved me unconditionally. Maybe it was the school, so small I could walk to any class or friend’s room in ten minutes, meeting a dozen people I knew along the way. Maybe it was the football games, where I shook purple cans filled with who knows what, dressed in a ridiculous suit of armor, and jingled my keys at countless vanquished opponents. Now, three weeks away from graduating, I think on the times I watched movies in the lobby of McLane, or when I made my first attempt at cooking in the on-campus apartments, and I treasure those memories more than anything. I think on how the Lord has grown me as a man and a follower of Christ here, and all the conversations with so many friends who know more about serving God than I could learn in a lifetime. I think of how the Lord has guided me, brought me to this newspaper and filled my heart with a passion to serve Him through journalism. It blows me away. I once hated this school, but now I cannot bear the thought of leaving, knowing how far the Lord has brought me here and how many fond memories I will carry in my heart. I don’t worry that much about leaving a legacy; that is in God’s hands. I know that I am certainly not the most gifted writer, the most loyal friend, the most diligent student, or the most faithful Christian. I only ask that I be forgiven for my faults and remembered for the way God used me in spite of them....

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Bridge of death

Staff Editorial Anyone who drives over the SH 317 bridge (the one over the railroad tracks on the way to Wal-Mart) will notice a flurry of new construction near the guardrails. Entombed beneath the orange cones and maintenance trucks is the story of a woman who made a fatal fall over a railing fit to protect no one. On Feb. 28, 2007, Marian Chimene, a 68-year-old Belton resident, was found dead under the bridge. While officials never claimed to know exactly how she plunged to her death, a stroll across the shaky overpass shortly after the incident allowed reasonable conclusions to be drawn. Reporters from The Bells found a mere two-foot guardrail that barely reached most of the staff’s knees. Senior mass communication/public relations major, Katelyn Dean, at the time a sophomore, said her legs “shook like Jell-O” every time a car passed, and she was “thankful to get off the bridge.” If a healthy 19-year-old was rattled crossing the bridge, what would happen if a frail, elderly woman tried to make it to the other side? Perhaps we already know. It does not take a genius to realize that a short railing will not stop any adult from tumbling over the side of a shaking bridge. This calls into question the foresight of the bridge’s designers. Maybe they simply were not given height standards. But that is irrelevant now, and it is sad that improvements to the bridge only came because of the elderly woman’s unintentional sacrifice. It should not take the loss of a life to prove to the city or the state the dangers of a piece of architecture, especially when there are clear signs of potential hazards. Because the highway is state owned and Belton monitored,  the lack of communication between both the city and state government entities failed citizens. While the height of the pre-existing railing was shocking, the breakdown in communication between Belton and the state of Texas is the most troubling aspect of this entire episode. Since more safety improvements are going to be needed in the future with the growth of the university, the city and state ought to get a better grasp of citizen needs. Already it is perilous business to pull onto Highway 317 from 9th and 10th streets during heavy traffic. Will a student have to be killed in a car wreck for something to be done? We applaud the fact that improvements to the bridge are now becoming a reality, and it indicates that government can be responsive to its citizens. However, if those responsible for Belton’s roads truly care about public safety, they will be proactive...

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Let the last battle begin
Apr21

Let the last battle begin

By Garrett Pekar Summer break is swiftly approaching. Does anyone else wonder where the year has gone? It seems to have flown by all too quickly, but this year was neither unproductive nor uneventful, by any means. Thinking back, one can recall friendships made throughout the year, and the many fun times shared with those people. Students endured hours in classrooms. At times, working on homework was like trudging through quicksand. It may not have been fun, but it prepared the way for more interesting, major-specific courses. Without mom or dad to cook, wash or clean, students learned to take care of themselves. They demonstrated responsibility and gained independence. A bunch of kids turned into young adults. Besides growing individually, some may have grown spiritually during this school year. God is not hard to find at UMHB. With chapel, Focus and the many churches near campus, students have a lot of support on their respective journeys of faith. Much has indeed taken place in the course of this year. School’s not over yet, though. Do not get in the summer vacation mindset before all the final exams; they’re way too important to blow off. The word “finals” carries a certain weight that makes it seem like some behemoth waiting to destroy unsuspecting students. When it comes up in conversation, those who hear it cannot help but shudder. Finals are not as big and bad as their legends describe, however. Students can defeat them with the proper amount of preparation. Final exams are important because good grades on finals can bring up bad averages, but bad scores can tear an A down to a B or a C. Grades that have been worked for all semester long do not deserve to be thrown away by the lack of preparation for a final test. Summer will come when it comes, and no amount of laziness will bring it about sooner. Prepare and study well for final exams. Don’t be lazy and slack off before upcoming tests. Take them seriously. Try not to stress out about finals too much, if that’s possible. Easier said than done, for sure. Study hard and prepare the mind, and there will be no need to worry. When it is time to take the test, relax and don’t race through it. Savor the taste of the battle with the beast, and claim victory over the dreaded...

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Parking policy unfair to students
Mar31

Parking policy unfair to students

Purple spots are for students, white spots are for faculty and staff and yellow spots are for visitors, right? Wrong. Cars with a faculty/staff parking sticker can park wherever they please, including the best student parking spots. On a daily basis all over campus, faculty/staff cars can be found parked within the purple sanctity that students are meant to enjoy. Students get a $25 reprimand for the same infraction on the tempting open white parking spaces. The heinous double standard allows faculty and staff to park wherever they like without limitation or repercussion while students scramble for the few parking spots left before a class only to find out a professor has taken it. Sure, a class can’t be conducted without a professor, but shouldn’t there be a strict set of parking regulations for them also? Students are given a laundry list of parking rules at the beginning of each semester; they must park inside the lines, cannot back in and cannot park in white spots. But faculty and staff are not held to the same strict color-coded standards when choosing their parking spots. If close parking availability is the reason that professors and staff park in student parking, then welcome to the world of the college students on campus. They have to carry pricey, heavy books to class whether a close parking spot is available or rain is pelting down on their heads. Just because the spot is closer does not mean that faculty and staff should be able to take advantage of what is meant to be a student space. Parking is always available. It just may not be as close to the building as they prefer. Parking standards should be the same for everyone. There should be enough parking available for both students and faculty/staff to park at the building they need to access without having to infringe on student parking areas. The administration should be even-handed with students and faculty/staff. It is important to show students they are equals at the university, and that begins with expecting the same from everyone. Students are equally vital to the continuation of UMHB, so why not treat them that...

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Caring parents raise responsible children
Mar31

Caring parents raise responsible children

By Garrett Pekar It is funny that the record of our relatives is called a “family tree.” Human life is nothing like that of a tree. Trees are a beautiful part of creation, but people are God’s focus. Both people and trees grow old until eventually dying. Both produce seeds for the next generation to live on, but that’s where the similarities end. Trees don’t raise their seeds. This simple fact creates a bottomless chasm separating them from people. As if skin and bark wasn’t enough of a difference, trees just drop their seeds to the ground, paying no attention to whether they take root in good soil or on rocky ground. It takes loving parents to raise a child successfully. According to the Facts for Life Web site, a publication by The United Nations Children’s Fund, the first eight years of a child’s life are vitally important. These early years are the foundation of future health, growth and development. Children learn more quickly during this time than any other in their lives. The Web site also states that babies and young children develop and learn more rapidly when they receive love and affection, attention, encouragement and mental stimulation as well as nutritious meals and good health care. Talk about the importance of good parenting–it can literally make or break a child’s life. The nourishment of a loving family ensures a child’s ability to succeed and be happy in the future. Care, comfort and communication are just a few important pieces of a family that glue them close together and make them strong. Discipline is another extremely important part of raising a child. Parents should not beat their children, of course, but spanking a child for doing something wrong is the best way for them to learn proper behavior at a young age. Most parents who spank their children do not do it because they want to hurt them. They do it because they have to teach them right from wrong. They do it out of love. A young child does not learn anything from timeouts or other ridiculous punishments. If anything, they take advantage of the situation. Spanking is a form of discipline that teaches children how to behave themselves and how to treat others. The values instilled by spanking will stay with children throughout their lives. The most important thing parents can pass on to their children is their religion, their faith in Jesus Christ. If faith is introduced to a child from day one, the child will rarely stray very far from the Lord. Reading Bible stories with children is one good way to help them...

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