Chapel Attendance Policy

The foundational belief of Westmont College is that “Christ is pre-eminent in all things.” For this reason, the college community gathers three times a week to worship and enjoy God. Chapel attendance is mandatory to maintain enrollment. However, students may miss up to (but not exceeding) 12 chapels per semester. Please note that the purpose of Chapel misses is for the occasional "as needed" basis and should be managed as a bank account; to cover a student in the event of unforeseen circumstances.

With this in mind, the only excused absences are:

    • Severe medical conditions which temporarily affects Chapel attendance, such as hospitalization and/or going to student's family home to recouperate. Condition must be verified in writing by an attending physician or by an email to our office from the campus physician;
    • Other extenuating circumstances, such as family emergencies. To be excused a student will need to submit an appeal, along with supporting documentation, to the Campus Pastor’s Office within 2 weeks of the missed Chapel(s) ;
    • Students with children;
    • Students away from campus on an authorized academic field trip. Please note: You will not be cleared if the professor has not notified us;
    • Jury duty
    • Students cleared by the education department to fulfill student teaching or observation assignments. Please note: You will not be cleared if the department has not given us prior notification;
    • Students participating in internships that are approved by a professor and the Internship Office. Please note: You will not be cleared until a student fills out, along with the approving faculty member, an internship form that can be found on our web-pages.
    • Athletes, attending away games on recognized intercollegiate sports teams. Please note: You will not be cleared if the department has not notified us.
    • Chapel attendance is mandatory. Only seniors in their final semester of attendance at Westmont are not required to attend Chapel.

Note: Work conflicts, medical/dental/physical therapy appointments, and illnesses such as colds and the flu do not qualify as excused absences and are to be considered as part of students allowable 12 Chapel misses.

To avoid registration delays, all excuses should be cleared within one week of the missed Chapel.

What constitutes missing a chapel? The following are the most frequent circumstances:

    • Being physically absent.

Others may be:

    • Arriving late. Chapel starts at 10:30 AM; students who arrive at 10:30 or later are late.
    • Writing your name and student ID illegibly. Obviously, we cannot know if you were in attendance if we can’t read what you wrote on your attendance card.
    • PARTIAL ATTENDANCE: Leaving chapel early or attending only a portion of chapel.
    • DISHONESTY: Submitting a chapel card for someone else, or seeking to submit your chapel card when you did not attend. In either case, chapel credit will be denied, and the Student Life Office will be informed of the dishonesty.
    • BODY ONLY: Being physically present, but doing things like studying, talking, sleeping or using electronic devices during chapel. In other words, merely having your body present in a chapel service does not mean you are actually in chapel. This may be the most egregious and damaging kind of chapel miss, for it not only distracts people around you, but shows crass disrespect for the worship of God.
    • If any of these fraudulent misses occur, you may be asked to surrender your chapel card to the Campus Pastor’s staff, or someone else in leadership. This may include faculty, staff, RD’s or RA’s. In these cases, chapel credit will be denied.

Chapel Holds and Registration:

Students who exceed 12 misses will be notified by email by the Campus Pastor’s Office. Students who wish to register can do so with a Provisional Registration Status while they seek to provide documentation to clear their attendance record or while they make a written appeal to the Campus Pastor. Appeals must be in writing using the Chapel appeal form that can be found on the Campus Pastor’s web-page. This appeal form must be submitted to the Campus Pastor’s office by 5 p.m. on the last day of regular scheduled classes.

Students have up to 12 noon on the last day that final exams are administered to remove the Provisional Registration Status. Students who miss the 12 noon deadline will have their registration cancelled and their housing rescinded. Students who remove their Provisional Status after 12 noon on the last day of finals will be placed on a waiting list to register. If a spot becomes available to register, you may not be able to add your original classes or housing assignment.

If a student fails to clear their Chapel attendance they will not be able to return to Westmont (or attend a Westmont-related program) for one semester. If, after sitting out a semester, a student wishes to return, he or she will be required to reapply for admission. Because of full-enrollment, it is crucial that the admissions office be contacted for information regarding procedures and deadlines, and that these procedures and deadlines be met in a timely manner!