On Thursday, March 30th, tour guides at Washington & Lee received a notice informing them that they were to begin excluding the university’s Lee Chapel from their guided tours.
Tour guides were told that they could still bring visitors to the chapel and show them around outside but that they should refrain from entering the building.
The reason officials gave for this new decision is that they felt visitors time would be better spent exploring one of the new facilities on campus such as their new Center For Global Learning instead of the extended amount of time it takes to explore Lee Chapel. This was a cause of great concern for many on campus who view Lee Chapel as the pinnacle of honor and tradition on campus.
For years it has been routine for students facing an honor violation to have an opportunity to speak before a jury of their peers inside of Lee Chapel. But the university is now saying that there are other places on campus that better demonstrate the honor code of the college, much to the dismay of many students.
One of the largest concerns regarding the new policy change is that Lee Chapel will see a drastic cut in funding due to lack of visitors. Buildings are given funding based upon the number of students and others who visit and students are now concerned that the Chapel will see a huge cut in funding as it’ll no longer have the thousands of visitors signing into the visitor’s book inside the Chapel. In order to ensure the budget of Lee Chapel’s, the helpful presence of patronage from visiting tour groups should be sustained.
Lee Chapel has been and will continue to be the centerpiece of the campus, and it should be a welcomed part of all incoming tours. Washington & Lee officials may disagree, but to the students it will always be the symbol of honor on campus.