Convocation Rules

Convocation events constitute a significant part of the General Education Program at Berea. These events bring to the campus notable speakers, scholars, performers, and programs on a variety of subjects to enlarge the intellectual, aesthetic, and religious dimensions of campus life. In addition, our student performing ensembles provide convocations addressing similar issues through music, dance and theatre. Providing rich experiences for students, faculty, and staff alike, convocations help build and sustain a sense of curiosity and intellectual challenge so basic in an academic community. They make available information and insights on important topics likely to be considered in academic courses.


Receiving credit for seven convocation events a term is an expectation of all full-time Berea College students. At the beginning of the Fall Term, the Coordinator of Convocations publishes and distributes the official calendar of convocation events for the academic year. The Convocation bulletin boards in the College Post Office, the Alumni Building, Hutchins Library, or the College Convocation Web site should be consulted regularly for any announcements of changes in the official schedule. Short Term events are included as part of the Spring Term. Credit is not given for an event that is cancelled by the Coordinator or missed by a student for any reason. It is to one’s advantage to plan attending more than the number expected each term. In this way, one has the flexibility at the end of a term when an examination, weather, illness, a decision to leave before the conclusion of a convocation, the cancellation of an event, or a “pulled card” (a violation of the convocation rules) might prevent one from obtaining credit.
All students automatically will be enrolled in a .25-credit convocation course (CNV 100) during each of their regular terms of in-residence enrollment, with the exception of the final term of enrollment, for a maximum of eight such terms. For each term of enrollment in CNV 100, the student will earn a grade of CA (which is calculated as an A in the GPA) for receiving seven convocation credits. The grade of CF (which is calculated as an F in the GPA) will be given if one receives fewer than seven convocation credits. Convocation credits only count in your GPA and not in the total of credits earned toward graduation. If a student is enrolled at Berea College for eight terms, seven terms of convocation credit are required and the eighth term is optional. If a student is enrolled for nine or more terms, eight terms are required and additional terms of credit are not allowed.

A student can receive up to a total of three convocation credits during the academic year for attending performances of the following Berea College student ensembles: one theatre event (Theatre Laboratory), one musical event (Black Music Ensemble, Concert Choir, or Wind Ensemble), and one dance event (Country Dancers or Kinetic Expressions) and only on the dates so publicized as being offered for convocation credit.

Convocation credits achieved during the academic year by each student are posted in the student section of the BOND website (Berea’s Online NeighborhooD). A student should check the convocation list on BOND to avoid losing credit if one is not eligible to receive credit for a student ensemble convocation (see paragraph above). A student should check BOND to confirm if one has received credit for convocations attended for which a convocation card was submitted to an usher. Credit cannot be given if the Office of the Coordinator does not have a student’s physical card. Any discrepancy must be reported to the Coordinator of Convocations as soon as possible after the convocation in question but not later than the day classes end, the time that will constitute the deadline for appeal.


Convocation speakers and performers are either guests of the College community or are your student peers and faculty. You are expected to extend to them the same courtesy and attention you would appreciate and that would be expected of you if you were attending the same event on another campus.

Certain rules are necessary to assure that you receive proper credit and, at the same time, that others also are able to benefit from the presentation. In order to receive credit for attending the convocation event, you must:

  1. Be on time and stay during the entire program. Please do not disturb others by knocking on the doors after they have been closed and locked. A student, who arrives more than 5 minutes after the program has begun, or who leaves before it is over, and turns in a card for credit, is not eligible to receive credit and can be subject to a charge of academic dishonesty. The side doors of Phelps-Stokes are locked at the beginning of the convocation; the front doors are locked five minutes after the announced starting time.
  2. Be physically present in the room. (Those with children should take them to the room provided in Phelps-Stokes. See also #8.)
  3. Act courteously toward those on stage, members of the audience, and the usher staff. Be attentive to the convocation presentation. You are not to sleep; eat or drink; read; study; talk; listen to any sound-producing device; operate a laptop, pager, or cell phone; and/or engage in any kind of behavior that calls attention to yourself that is inappropriate for that particular type of convocation and generally is considered discourteous to those on stage or those around you. Appearing to be asleep, for instance, has the same meaning to a guest on stage as actually being asleep. Do not put your feet or legs on the chair in front of you, or on the balcony railing or ledge. Do not move toward an exit until the convocation clearly has been concluded. Permission to use a laptop during convocation is subject to prior approval by the Convocation Committee.
  4. Turn in only one card at any event and only the card with your computer-printed name issued to you by the Office of Academic Services. A student who signs another’s card will not receive credit for that convocation. If you run out of, misplace, or lose these cards, you can pick up new ones at the Office of Academic Services no later than noon on the day for that convocation.Ushers are instructed to accept only convocation cards.
  5. A student will not receive an additional credit for a Berea College Theatre convocation if they have already received convo. credit for a theatre performance; likewise for a student music ensemble and/or student dance ensemble.
  6. Include your legible signature. Please correct your student identification number or your name if either changes. A student whose card is unsigned will not receive credit for that convocation.
  7. Give your card to an usher immediately after the convocation and before leaving the auditorium or room in which the convocation was presented. A student who turns in a card after leaving the auditorium or room will not receive credit. Ushers make a final call for cards before leaving their positions at the doors.Ushers should not accept your convocation card after you have left the room in which the convocation was held. Parents and caregivers in the children’s room will be instructed to whom to give their card (see #8).
  8. Parents and caregivers are held responsible for the conduct of their children. Those persons with children who are not paying attention to the convocation and who are disturbing others are expected to use the room equipped with a television set on the second floor of Phelps-Stokes. Continued disruption can result in a pulled card of the person(s) responsible for the child.

Violations of these rules will result in administrative action. When convocation begins, talking should cease and attention should focus upon the event. It is not necessary that a person be told at the time that their behavior is inappropriate and/or disruptive. This document should serve as the guideline by which one can monitor his or her behavior. If a student’s behavior is considered by an usher to be in violation of any of these rules, or is reported by anyone in the audience to an usher, the student’s convocation card will be “pulled,” i.e., the violation will be reported to the Coordinator and can result in denial of credit for that convocation, subject to any appropriate subsequent appeal by the student to the Coordinator of Convocations.
With the exception of a violation of Rules 4, 5, 6, and 7, the student has the right to appeal the action of the usher(s) within five working days of the date of the notice by writing to the Coordinator of Convocations. The Convocation Committee, which is the final authority in these matters, will hear unresolved appeals. Ignorance of these rules is not a foundation for an appeal.

First violation: With the exception of a violation of the Rules 4, 5, 6 and 7, a first violation will result in a letter of warning to the student with no loss of credit with a copy being sent to the office of the Associate Provost for Advising and Academic Success.

Subsequent violations: Any subsequent violation will result in the denial of credit and a letter of notice being sent to the student, to the student’s adviser, and to the Office of the Associate Provost for Advising and Academic Success.

In some circumstances, a violation of the rules for flagrantly inappropriate behavior may result in direct action by the Associate Provost for Academic Services.

A student’s card can be pulled for any of the following reasons: attempting to receive credit (1) by turning in multiple cards for one’s self; (2) by turning in another’s signed card; (3) by having one’s card turned in by another; (4) when one was not present during the entire convocation; (5) when informed by an usher that one is not eligible to receive credit. In addition to the denial of credit, any of these violations will be treated as an act of academic dishonesty. A letter of notice will be sent to the student and to the student’s adviser. If, in the Coordinator’s judgment the charge has merit, the section on “Academic Honesty” found in this handbook will be followed.
Convocations scheduled in the evening generally indicate the desirability for a somewhat more formal atmosphere. Students (and staff) are requested to “dress up” on most of these occasions, as indicated in the Calendar. The wearing of such clothes as shorts, cut-off shorts, sweats, or gym clothes is considered inappropriate attire for evening convocations. The evening event is generally longer than one hour in length to accommodate different programming formats. Afternoon events that are expected to last an hour, or longer, will be so indicated in the Convocation Calendar and/or announced beforehand.

This statement supersedes any previously published. Questions may be addressed to the Coordinator of Convocations. In addition, suggestions for convocation speakers or events may be addressed to the Coordinator, Randall Roberts, in Frost 107, email, or via CPO 2160, Berea, KY 40404-2160. (Revised May 2004.)