By Paul A. Anthony, Editor in Chief
In a major restatement of Chapel policy, students who go over their allotted absences while at ACU will be put on probation the first time, and then suspended if they go over again.
The policy, created by dean of Campus Life Wayne Barnard and approved by the President’s Cabinet this week, also assigns seats to those caught violating slide-card rules.
Barnard said he expected reaction to the policy to be mixed.
“I know that some people would prefer this to a fine,” he said. “But I know other people would prefer a fine to this.”
This changes previous Chapel policy that required students to perform community service or pay fines for excess absences.
Those who miss Chapel more than their allotted number-which for most students is 15-will be placed on probation for 15 weeks and be forced to resign any held leadership position, including those in student government and social clubs.
Students on probation also would be barred from participating in Freshman Follies, Sing Song and intramural sports.
All those caught sliding other students’ cards, asking others to slide their cards or sliding their cards and leaving Chapel would lose all remaining allowed absences, be placed on probation and would be assigned a seat in Chapel for the next 15 weeks.
If a student is placed on probation a second time, he or she will be suspended the next semester.
“I expect there will be students who are very much involved in activities or organizations who will not want their participation restricted in any way,” Barnard said.
The final policy, which Barnard disclosed to the Optimist Thursday afternoon, ends two weeks of speculation as Chapel has undergone a slew of changes dealing with theme, lighting, speakers, singing and schedule.
Chapel officials said they have received largely positive comments about most of these changes; Barnard said one exception was some complaints about small-group Chapels being limited to Thursdays only.
“I personally haven’t received any negative feedback,” said Brad Carter, Chapel coordinator. “At least, not yet. Everything seems to be going well.”
Among the changes were a reorganization of Chapel organizers. Carter programs the goings-on in Chapel and handles Chapel excuse requests and attendance, while Brian England, Judicial Affairs coordinator for Campus Life, deals with excess absences and absence appeals.
Barnard said the Chapel Task Force, which is studying potential long-term changes to Chapel, probably will select students and meet next week to select a chair and begin discussing those changes.
Carter said he would like to see a better way of registering Chapel attendance. For example, because attendance is only taken between 10:50-11:05 a.m., students who arrive late are counted absent.
“If there’s one thing we could do, it would be a better way of taking attendance,” Carter said. “It could be a great help for us.”