Students are expressing their displeasure with Chapel in more ways than through Students’ Association meetings or letters to the editor. They’re expressing it through their Chapel attendance-or lack of it.
Among the flood of data presented at Tuesday’s all-faculty meeting and Wednesday’s Students’ Association meeting, Brad Carter and Wayne Barnard presented a telling chart of attendance statistics.
In fall 2001, 447 students exceeded 15 absences. Last semester, only 164 did.
From the Campus Life side, the drastic drop of excess absences means fewer students are skipping Chapel as often. That’s only half true.
It’s true that students are watching their absence totals more often. But the rest of the statistics show that the student body is avoiding Chapel more and attending less.
Mid- and high-level absences sharply increased. The number of students with 8-11 absences jumped from 889 to 1,107. Those with 12-15 absences jumped even higher-742 to 1,015.
Students with 10 absences or higher presumably find more reasons not to go to Chapel. They may take a nap, eat an early lunch or begin vacation early. Some stockpile their absences and skip the final week or two of the year.
These students usually care little for Chapel, or like Chapel but get sick of going every day. And the number of students like this increased sharply last semester.
Yes, the strict penalties of probation and suspension served to deter many students from going over 15 absences. So instead they skipped 13 times, 14 times, 15 times. It’s not that more students are going to Chapel, it’s that more students are being conscientious while skipping Chapel.
And many are skipping Chapel more often. Four hundred and ninety one students used better than half their absences last semester.
As many as 207 students who did not exceed their absence limit the year before missed Chapel more often last semester, although some of this is explained through slower excuse-granting processes.
No situation since block tuition has been unpopular enough to fill an SA meeting. No set of circumstances in recent memory has pushed students to the thought of protest.
And no group of data can deny the fact that students are going to Chapel much less now that it’s changed direction.