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RU changes chapel protocol, again.

2023: Pay up if you don’t meet the requirement

Photo by Georgii Reshotka


By Amanda Fraser


Rochester University informed students in August that the new consequences for not earning enough chapel points would transition to a monetary fine and not be related to students’ overall GPAs, as was the previous policy.


Under the new system, students need to earn 25 Community Living + Worship points per

semester, and they will incur a $20 fine for each point they do not earn. Students who only take online courses or who are part of the nursing program can join chapel virtually with permission from Campus Ministry.


Last year, the university began researching how to improve the overall chapel experience and what kind of consequences to put into place for students missing chapel.


The new chapel point requirement was approved by members of the Academic Cabinet, and by Scott Samuels, vice president of student life; Dr. Remylin Bruder, provost; and Dr. Brian Stogner, president. 


In a video to students at the beginning of the semester, Evan Green, dean of students, said, “We realize we have a student population with so many demands in their lives. In order to make community life and worship — attending chapel — more convenient, we made some changes.... We are being very flexible and creative to accommodate student needs.”


Green said the $20 fee per chapel missed is relative. “Some may say that is high, some may say that is appropriate. If you look at other schools that are like us, that have a fine component attached to their attendance tracking, the fine may be higher. It is either pretty consistent or lower than a lot of schools that we studied,” he said.


“Almost any Christian university is doing it. George Fox, Malone, Cornerstone, Aquinas, Calvin… any Christian university...has a chapel component. They have an attendance tracking component that has some sort of either fee, graduation requirement,

or other,” Green said.


Money collected from students who have to pay chapel fines will go into an account that will be put to future use for student life and programming, Green said.


In addition to regular chapel attendance, students can earn CL+W points by attending departmental chapel, participating in the Rise mentor program, Warriors Serve and spiritual formation opportunities; and by volunteering at nonprofit organizations, nursing homes, RU sporting events or at Kibo Corner.


Photo by Georgii Reshotka


Student Survey About Chapel

Shield Media distributed a Google Form survey in September to get student input about chapel, and 117 traditional students responded.

  • 87.1% said they do NOT agree with the new system of fining when they don’t earn the required number of CL+W points.

  • 59.6% said they do NOT think the new system of fines was better than the previous system when chapel attendance was a graduation requirement


Here are some of the survey respondents’ thoughts:


Student 67:

“I enjoy the speakers; they bring insight to students. I enjoyed the history of RU; it was the best chapel yet.”


Student 32:

“RU is making chapel become a chore, which creates it to be related to negativity in our minds. RU needs to change it to get people to WANT to come otherwise we will never continue with it after we graduate from the university. Christians are not meant to push God and church onto others we are to show how amazing living through God is.”


Student 86:

“I like having a space to go and speak about faith. I think it would be more helpful if we took advantage of that and encouraged more guest speakers and student involvement. I think students get bored when the same people speak and speak for too long. Having interactive or different speakers or performers might get people to come more!”


Student 6:

“Sometimes people won’t be able to make it and don’t have the money to pay at the end. I think another way to hold people accountable would be better. I also understand that this is a Christian college and that chapel is an understandable requirement.”


Student 19:

The new system “is easier and more manageable.”


Student 80:

“Mandatory payment to attend religious gatherings is something that should not be implemented in a university. It is inconsiderate to those with differing beliefs and practices, as well as those who struggle financially or health wise and may not be able to attend or pay the fee.”


Student 45:

“I honestly love the new rule whereby it is no longer a graduation requirement. Chapel is meant to help our spiritual life and many just attend chapel for attendance sake, without growing spiritually.”


Student 114:

“This gives me anxiety! I am a commuter who is only on campus two days a week. I work full time and have other commitments that prohibit me from coming here on days I don’t have class. Trying to get a certain amount of credits in the limited time I am here is super hard, even when events are offered at other times. It costs me more in gas to

get here than the event would help me with.”


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