By Jonathan Smith, Managing Editor
One-time Chapel exemptions are becoming rarer under the new attendance policy that allows students extra opportunities to receive Chapel credit, said Wayne Barnard, dean of Campus Life.
“With a credit-based system it means that there is not the same need for giving as many one-time exemptions,” Barnard said in an e-mail.
“Missing any given Chapel simply means that a student needs to take advantage of other opportunities for Chapel credit, as in the evening forums offered throughout the semester,” he said.
Barnard said the Campus Life Office can evaluate individual cases, but one-time exemptions are not situations in which it can create a list of when exemptions are allowed.
“In essence, we are not comfortable crediting someone with attending
Chapel when they have not attended,” Barnard said.
Along with one-time exemptions, the number of exemptions for students with on-campus jobs is being reduced.
Barnard said with the number of students receiving work exemptions growing, it would be easier to call the entire daily Chapel requirement into question.
“As this has happened with Chapel, the university has decided that the Chapel requirement … is a valuable part of our educational curriculum,” he said, “and as such it will be honored in the way we grant any exemptions from Chapel.”
About 800 students were exempted from Chapel last semester. Campus Life is now looking at each situation on a case-by-case basis.
“In some cases it might mean that a person is not exempt at all, as in the case of some students who were working during Chapel in on-campus jobs,” Barnard said, referring to a new policy approved by the President’s Cabinet that prohibits on-campus student workers from working during Chapel without high-level approval.
“For other students,” Barnard continued, “it simply means that they may not be exempt as many days as before.”
Barnard said that students, faculty and administrators are still learning the new Chapel policies, and they are now dealing with “special situations which could not have been anticipated this summer.”
He asked students for patience in working out all the details.
“It will take time for the campus, students and faculty alike, to understand the new process completely,” Barnard said.