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Proposed Policy: DOC rethinks chapel skips

The dean of the chapel’s office is considering a new chapel makeup policy. If the proposal passes, students who skip more than six chapel services in a semester will have to enroll in a one-credit class instead of listening to sermons or doing community service, as the current policy requires.

Students would have to pay for the one-credit class, but whether students would pay for the full credit hour or a smaller fee is still unknown.

According to Dr. Jim Lo, dean of the chapel, the DOC office would rather have discussions and develop relationships with students than have them listen to sermons online.

“To me that is so impersonal, that if we can come along and help a person grow in their spirit because they can ask questions and dialogue with us, it’s a much better way to go,” said Lo.

The DOC has also found that many students cheat when doing chapel makeups.

For some students, said Lo, “All they’re doing is going around picking up someone else’s stuff that they’ve written, photocopying them, changing their names, and that is not benefiting anybody at all.”

The DOC is taking measures to make sure student opinion is being heard though SGA, according to Lo.

“The academic as well as the spiritual side of SGA need to be pulled in for some of these discussions,” said Lo.

Kiersten Beagan (so) represents the spiritual side as the director of ministries for SGA. Her position includes communicating with the DOC on behalf of the student body.

“As far as this goes, I feel like the student body would actually say, ‘I’m going to go to chapel,’ ” said Beagan, who believes that the proposed course may remedy excessive chapel skips.

Cindy Ruder, assistant to the dean of the chapel, said that if this course were implemented, there would hopefully be a decrease in the number of students who intentionally skip chapel more than six times, the permitted limit per semester.

“Many times students who are making a decision to miss chapel know it before they register for classes,” said Ruder.

“I think that’s just a case of rebellion,” said Kylee German (sr). “I feel like if you enrolled in this school, it was your choice, and you could’ve chosen not to come here – you knew coming here that chapel was a requirement.”

German also thinks, however, that the idea of having to pay for a course is a bit of a harsh punishment and that students may have a stronger incentive to go to chapel if more of the speakers “truly focused on spiritual growth” instead of topics such as “going green.”

“If they brought in more speakers who would motivate students spiritually, I think more students would want to go to chapel because it would be more like a Summit experience, and Summit isn’t required and a lot of students still go,” German said.

Jordan Wible (so) said he doesn’t really like the idea of students having to take a course and pay for it.

“I’m not a big fan of it,” said Wible. “Maybe they should do it just for people who have 10 or more skips, so if you do accidentally go one or two over, you’d still have to do the regular punishment.”

Wible said students who intentionally skip well beyond six “are probably the people who need to be in that class and are the more rebellious type anyway.”

The idea is still in the early stages of development, so no curriculum has been selected for the possible class.

“It’s still in the total investigation stage,” said Ruder. “Honestly, even if we get through a lot of the hoops we think we have to go through, and it’s really a viable option, I don’t even see that it could be something that could be implemented next year.”

Ruder said the process would probably take at least two years to complete if the DOC decides to implement the course, but no decisions have been made either way.

“We’re not even sure if we like the idea of it yet,” said Lo, who wants for students to have a more personal and positive outlook towards chapel, overall.

Beagan said she wants to fulfill her role with SGA by listening to students’ concerns over these issues and sharing those concerns with the DOC directly.

“My job is to bridge the students’ voice to the faculty and administration and make sure that both sides are seeing each other’s perspectives,” said Beagan.

“Our office really does not want to be mean,” said Lo, “even though there are some punitive repercussions if a student misses.”

If the DOC does make such a change to the chapel attendance policy, the primary hope is that not only will students follow the policy and stay within their six chapel skips, but that they will also come to have a more positive attitude and see chapel as an outlet for spiritual growth.

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9 Responses to “Proposed Policy: DOC rethinks chapel skips”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I think if the DOC was doing their job they wouldn’t need to take attendance or need to punish people for not going because more people would be motivated to attend. I mean if we are all Christians and we all believe this stuff then shouldn’t we be more excited to practice our faith and learn about it? Since I have been here I feel like frankly, my faith has gotten weaker. When I think of chapel I think of guilt trips, unnecessary altar calls, taking a nap or doing homework. On the other hand some of the best speakers I have ever heard have spoken here but none of them are from the DOC. I also can not help to think of the extensive lengths they are going to that make sure our butts are in those seats. The scanners, the computers, the people standing there scanning, and they built internet ports into the walls so they can connect to the recording system. Seems more like prison than religion. If the people in charge of chapel maybe stepped up their game they would not have to take ridiculous measures to make sure we are there. Just food for thought.

    • Anonymous says:

      If we individually stepped up our game as followers of Christ, the DOC office would not have to take up these measures. Our lack of growth in our faith is not a reflection of any other persons’ effort than our own. Lets not thrust blame on the the DOC office for any spiritual apathy we may have.

      On the other hand, I severely disagree with charging $ for this so-called “make up” class. This would be very unfair and I believe parents of students who are paying for their children’s education could be furious to know they have to pay for their children’s “spiritual” (or lack there-of) state as well. Also, what’s to say that excessive chapel skippers are not also going to skip the class? How would that be punished? Would they continue skipping the class semester after semester, continuing to fuel their grudge against the whole system? If I were required to take the make-up class I would not be interested in getting to know the DOC office more, just the opposite, I would be more frustrated by them. These are some problems I foresee with the plan as of now. I think we should continue to research other possibilities to encourage excessive skippers to see the good in chapel and not force them deeper into it.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The DOC needs to settle down just a bit. I think its agreeable that too many students are skipping too many chapels, but I also think that there are ways to solve the problem. Let’s start by improving the chapel instead of forcing students to improve the quality of their spirituality.

    If I’m being honest, this school makes me question the Wesleyan church more and more. They push things under the rug… things that shouldn’t be ignored & yet they have all these chapel services that do not encourage most of the student body’s spirituality. Chapel services are full of occasional eloquent sermons, focusing on different objects and attaching spiritual meaning to them (stained glass windows, rocks, puzzle pieces). Instead of teaching us how to have a candid faith, we are called to do things that will make our worship look good, or make the speaker look like he/she made a revolutionary impact on the school.

    There are people at this school who drink. People who have sex. People who smoke. People who SIN. People who get pregnant. People who are abused. People who speak profanities and watch R rated movies. People who are homosexual. & yet IWU administration does not acknowledge any of it.
    Those who went here last year will remember the website Like-A-Little. For the first time people were being honest with each other. Conversations were facilitated through anonymous discussion and students could say what they needed to. IWU students bonded in a way I had not experienced in my 3 years there. 24 hours after the website took off at our school, it was blocked. Students continued to get around it with the help of Like-A-Little developers and STILL, IWU blocked it, but never confronted it openly. There was no chapel service that referenced it. Nothing. WHY would they ignore everything that happened on that site? How could they read the things they did and pretend it wasnt there? People here are hurting. They feel like they can’t be themselves here. & what IWU really needs to have a successful chapel ministry? To start to admit that their students are full of sin, full of pain, full of things in their lives that they cannot openly deal with. Teach the students to pull away from these things. Or if anything else, teach these students to have FAITH even in the midst of their sin.

  3. anonymous says:

    you’re assuming that every single person that goes to this school is a christian. which is in fact not true.

  4. anonymous says:

    I think charging a credit hour for this is a joke. Sounds like a way to get more money, sadly. I like chapel most of the time, and I go. However, some people have legitimate arguments for skipping as much as they do. It’s not just the students responsibility to go to chapel, it’s also the people who run chapels responsibility to engage the students and not take it lightly.

  5. Jo mama says:

    Great! Just never go to chapel and be in a 1 credit hour class each semester, rather than the 3 credit hours that are chapel. Sounds like a plan!

  6. Nils says:

    This class would have definitely made a contrast to being a Pharisee more apparent. I am glad they are backing away from this “idea” of forcing people to pay for a class (which would also screw their entire schedule up). If people already did not go to a place of worship and to listen to speakers, surely forcing them into a classroom is not wise.

  7. Jessica Casner says:

    Emotions aside, I am disappointed in the administration and ourselves as a student body. We can all agree that something needs to change in chapel. I readily agree that a mandatory chapel class is out of the question. What I do not understand is why the administration is so fearful of trusting its students. It has an indirect domino affect in making the students not trust each other. If we cannot be trusted by the administration to make smart decisions, how can we trust our peers to do the right thing? This makes a gap not only in communication, but even more in understanding (obviously) and having a solid foundation to make a strong community (especially spiritually). This leads into a secondary idea.

    Why exactly do we make chapel mandatory? I understand that we are a Christian university, and as such that would dictate our doctrine and how we conduct ourselves on campus. Having a chapel service does not make us a Christian university. Even more so, forcing people to worship does not work. God does not mandate that we worship Him: He gives us the free will to choose Him over ourselves, and in so doing allows for love to take place. This action is what makes what could be considered religion a relationship. Wouldn’t it be more beneficial to our spiritual community if we had people who went to chapel out of their own free will? Wouldn’t a visiting student have a much higher respect for the spiritual community if they visited chapel and found out the people there were authentic?

    Since it is mandatory, why doesn’t the entire community on campus be required to attend? Cedarville University does this, so yes, it can work. We have to make time in our schedules, so why doesn’t the adminsitration? (This is just a thought, and is not meant to be a negative punch line.)

    I am not trying to sound as a pessimist individual, nor someone who against this university. I was, and am still, drawn to the community that is here on campus. We do have it well here, and should appreciate it while it is available. I propose that chapel not be mandatory, every weekday, and would be more focused on the word of God. Since I know the first two are unrealistic, I will explain the second. Why don’t we make the most of our time in chapel by learning about the Bible? Not topics that have verses that support a speaker’s thought, but rather literally reading everything in, for example, 1 Samuel, and unpacking it together as a student body? Wouldn’t breaking open the Word of God among believers naturally cause a change because we a getting to know who God is -rather than an idea? These are just some thoughts, and I pray that it will be received well. Grace and peace.

  8. Micah Walls says:

    Stupid.

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