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Chapel Seat Shortage

Ninety students began their first week of classes without a designated chapel seat, almost three times the number of seatless students last semester. The seating arrangement — organized alphabetically by state — left students hailing from states toward the end of the alphabet, such as Wisconsin and Wyoming, without seats. Chaplain’s Office coordinator Leslie Weinzettel has worked diligently to process Chapel excuses and assign seats to the remaining students, placing around 60 students in chapel seats over the past week. She explained the process behind redistributing seats, saying “There aren’t enough seats in Edman for every single student. You count on students studying abroad for a semester or Wheaton in Chicago or part time students or students who fill out permanent chapel excuses. This happens every semester, but what’s unique is it’s not usually this many.” Students unable to attend chapel are encouraged to submit their excuse forms as soon as possible if they have not yet done so. Although not required to attend, some affected students opted to sit or stand in the back of the chapel or to sit in the faculty section during previous services. For Chaplain Timothy Blackmon’s inauguration ceremony on Aug. 28, the Chaplain’s Office invited students to watch a live feed inside a Blanchard lecture hall, due to the need to seat additional guests. Junior Ellen Wertz from Wisconsin received her seat assignment Sept. 1. She reflected on her experience, saying, “When you have a chapel seat, sometimes you take advantage of all your skips and take it for granted. And when you don’t have a chapel seat you are reminded of how lucky you are to be able to go and participate in chapel.” Even though the process remains ongoing, Weinzettel assures students that “we will get every student a seat one way or another … They may have to hang tight for a week or so.”

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