Students are seeing an increased number of denied chapel exemption requests this semester due to the Chapel Office’s effort to stand firmly behind university policy.
The ACU Board of Trustees Policy Manual, policy number 2.7.4, states, “In keeping with the mission of the university, daily Chapel will be held as a part of the curriculum. Regular attendance by undergraduates is required.”
Previously the Chapel Office allowed exemptions for students who did not have class until the afternoon or would not be on campus in time for Chapel. Now, the Chapel Office reiterates that attending Chapel is part of the curriculum, whether a student has morning classes or not.
Katheryn Cansino is a grad student pursuing her masters of accountancy and works in the Chapel Office as an administrative assistant.
“We’ve had several conversations with Mark Lewis and other people within Student Life and it just came down to needing to stay with the ACU policy,” Cansino said. “So unless you have a work or a Faith in Action exemption, we’re having to be a lot more strict.”
Faith in Action exemptions allow students to receive Chapel credit by participating in service work during Chapel time in the Abilene area. A number of students receive credit for volunteering with Meals on Wheels or Big Brothers Big Sisters.
Although class schedules are no longer valid criteria for receiving exemptions, the policy still remains that only full-time students taking 12 or more hours are required to attend Chapel.
However, when several part-time students returned to school for the semester, they discovered they were still being held responsible for attaining 55 credits. The Chapel Office quickly realized these same students had also taken January short courses before the spring semester started, meaning those extra hours were being included into their semester hours. Â They appeared to be registered as full-time students but were only taking nine or fewer hours for the semester.
In response to this problem, Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, vice president of Student Life, gave approval to allow students who had January short courses completed by Jan. 14, to be exempted from Chapel if they were below the full-time student requirement.