There are 12 percent fewer core chapel credit opportunities this semester compared to the 2013-2014 school year, according to data provided by campus ministries. Arthur Wilson, campus pastor, said they will also be enforcing stricter rules over commuter chapels.
Wilson said he felt residential students attending commuter chapels was disrespectful toward commuter students.
“We don’t want commuter chapel to become a place or time for people to catch up on their chapel credits because they’re running late,” he said. “That’s [commuters’] time. It’s supposed to be meaningful.”
Forty-three students were penalized last semester for failing to acquire the required 30 chapel credits, Amber Rensberger, secretary to student development services, said. Thirty-one students were penalized in spring 2014 and 41 were penalized in fall 2013.
While he “understand[s] the crunch of trying to get chapel credits,” Wilson said he believes there are more practical ways for residential students to reach their 30 chapel credit goal. He said students were “not being cheated” on credit opportunities provided this semester.
There are 54 available chapel credits this semester – not including the new small groups on campus – as opposed to 55 during the fall 2014 semester. Each semester averages 20 elective chapel credits per semester, according to the data.
“I believe some of it has been a scheduling issue,” Rensberger said. “We share the space with quite a few groups on campus, plus it’s the only auditorium Huntington has. That could be part of it. I know we’ve had to give up some time more this year than in the past. … For example, freshman orientation now does their alpha group stuff on Fridays at 11 a.m., so that took six of our core possibilities.”
There are roughly 20 to 30 additional chapel credits besides the ones scheduled each semester, according to campus ministries.
Wilson said this helps commuter students.
“I think that for students who live on this campus, spiritual formation opportunities are great — are fantastic,” Wilson said. “But I will admit that, in some ways, commuters have been neglected.”
Due to the late scheduling of Ekklesia chapels, Rensberger said commuters typically do not attend because they have nowhere on campus to stay until chapel begins.
“When you think about the academic schedule in general,” Rensberger said, “it’s usually the Monday, Wednesday and Friday classes that take dominance. Tuesdays and Thursdays are not as prominent. So a lot of our commuters don’t have Tuesday and Thursday classes altogether. So they have to make a special trip just to be here for chapel which is not fair.”
“It’s late, they have to travel,” he said. “There are a lot of factors that come into play.”
For students who experience scheduling conflicts or difficulty meeting the 30 chapel credit requirement, Wilson said students can submit a chapel credit exemption form.
“We aren’t here to shackle and chain people,” Wilson said. “We understand life happens. But at some point, people have to assume responsibility for seeking out information. It’s here. You can do it.”