The Chapel Programming Team’s decision to put off SA candidate speeches until after Chapel is a poor substitute that harms the student body more than it helps.
We are in the midst of a nationwide epidemic of apathy and low voter turnout-and on this campus, it’s a plague. The worst thing to do would be to remove the last visible vestige of government from the students.
Letting candidates speak during Chapel-a time when nearly the entire student body is a captive audience-has been a smart, effective way of engaging the students in discussion of campus issues since World War II.
But the message has been sent: even choosing your leaders must yield to Chapel policy.
Some legitimately question the wisdom of making students listen to speeches about which they don’t care.
However, the same could be said about many Chapel speakers. And letting students see their government in action is-like Chapel-educational, uplifting and necessary.
Even in Sunday morning church services, the congregation breaks from corporate worship to tend to the affairs of the family, to make announcements, to select leaders.
Why then cannot Chapel, which isn’t church, take a break from worship to teach students a valuable lesson about student government?
A college education is not complete without the hands-on lesson in civics that student government provides. The Chapel leaders have once again deprived the student body of a necessary means with which its members may connect to each other.
One way to discuss campus issues is through the forum Chapel provides. One way to learn through practice is via that forum. One way to fulfill the leadership part of the school mission is to let the campus’s leaders speak to their constituents, whether those constituents care or not.
At some point, the Chapel Programming Team will turn away from this worship-only path and realize it’s not what the students want, or need.
The university’s mission is to train leaders for Christian service.
Without a chance to campaign in front of the whole student body, the ACU voting process is short-circuited and short-changed.
Voter turnout on this campus is already disproportionally dismal. Removing the one reason the least apathetic students have to get involved in their government is a recipe for stagnation, discouragement and, of course, apathy.
The Optimist predicts executive offices voting will fail to break 20 percent of the student body this April.
The SA leaders have said they’re working to change the Chapel Programming Team’s decision.
We hope they succeed.