No absence of policy

Cartoon by Gabbie Evans

NATHAN MAYNARD | OPINION COLUMNIST | nmaynard@butler.edu

Three absences. This is the number of unexcused absences many professors usually give before counting off points for missing class. If you have a class three times a week, that is over 35 times you go to class not including finals week.

As college students, we are busy. Whether it is Greek life, student organizations or family matters, we have many obligations that often overlap with class times.

Do these obligations matter more than going to class? Most of the time, no. However, sometimes they do, and students often choose not to go due to a fear of getting points off for not being in class.

There is a fine line between motivating students to come to class and being downright cruel. Ryan Barrett, first-year sports media major, is all too familiar with steep attendance policies.

“I took a class that deducted one-third of a letter grade for every time you missed over three absences,” Barrett said. “I think an absence policy may be necessary, but not to the extent of destroying someone’s grade. If someone can keep a good grade while missing some classes, then they shouldn’t be marked off for it in my opinion.”

Barrett brought up a very valid point when asked about the attendance policies. If a student can maintain a good grade in the class and display retention of material, why punish them so heavily for missing a few classes?

Marc Allan, news manager and adjunct professor of journalism, said he tries his best to put himself in student’s shoes when it comes to his attendance policies.

“I try to go to work every day, but sometimes I’m sick, and sometimes I just need a mental health day,” Allan said. “I assume that students need those days too. I always think that my class is one of probably five they are taking. It’s not the most important thing in their life, so if they make a good effort to do their work, then occasionally, they should be able to miss.”

Allan also made it a point to note that he did not receive any push from administration to have an attendance policy, which I originally had suspicions about.

Of course, there is an argument to be made that there should be a university-wide attendance policy that all classes follow. While this may sound simple,  Allan believes a large-scale policy would not be effective.

“Different students are motivated different ways,” Allan said. “It is really hard to have a blanket policy. Students have the syllabus, they know the expectations, so with that they can decide whether they want to take that class or not.”

I think what Allan said can be directly applied in the workforce as well.

“I get paid to work at Butler,” Allan said. “But if I don’t show up, I still get fired.”   

Whether you decide to go to class or not is your choice. Whether you decide to risk getting fired or not is your choice.

Implementing attendance policies seems like something reserved for K-12, but I understand why teachers have them. Any professor with a decent passion for teaching believes that what they have to say is important.

While I don’t believe in ruining a student’s grade for missing a few extra classes than allowed in the syllabus, I do think it is reasonable to have one in place. Weand our parentspay whopping amounts of money to go to this school. The least we can do is go to class and get our money’s worth.

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