Think Before You Skip: Precautions for Cutting Class

Many students think that they have the option of going to class, but this can result in consequences if they are not careful.

Anna Mikalauskas, sophomore, has not had many problems. “So far I have lucked out in my time at Monmouth and have had great professors who are understanding when it comes to missing class,” said Mikalauskas.

She added, “Most of the classes I have been in allow you to have two unexcused absences, which I think is reasonable considering that does not account for classes you may have to miss if you are sick or have a personal issue.”

Adversely, Mikalauskas has heard from her friends that some professors do not allow any absences aside from religious holidays.

Some teachers are very strict when it comes to missing classes. Ryan Kinghorn, sophomore, has not been so lucky. “For the most part my professors have been very reasonable with their attendance policies,” said Kinghorn. “But I have had a couple professors that have been very strict with their policies. I sent an email to a professor in advance that I wasn’t feeling well and he responded by saying that his department did not allow any absences without a signed doctor’s note and that I would lose points for the class.”

Kinghorn believes that professors should realize that although a student’s education should be taken seriously, there are things that come up during the course of the year that can prevent them from coming to class.

“I hope that the University decides to step into these departments and agree upon a University wide attendance policy that allows for one to three missed classes per semester,” added Kinghorn.

Some departments have vague attendance policies. For example, the English department’s policy states that there is no difference between an excused or unexcused absence. Dr. Margaret DelGuercio, a professor in the English Department, understands this. Her policy for missing classes is slightly modified.

“I allow students to miss up to four classes in case something happens during the semester such as sickness, however attending all classes and participating gives a slight bonus. If students are on the borderline of two grades, I give them the higher of the two.” This is fair and helps provide incentive to attend a class in which valuable techniques can be learned in areas such as creative writing.

A professor who wishes to remain anonymous said their syllabus is much stricter, stating that every unexcused absence “will result one third of a letter grade off of the course grade without a medical certificate and that every two late arrivals count as an unexcused absence.” This puts pressure on students. Extra stress is often added with these tight policies and knowing the severe consequences that can result.

Glenna Proper, a graduate student feels that there should be no change in the attendance policy as graduate classes only meet once a week. “You miss a lot if you don’t go because a lot is covered in three hours,” Proper explained. “The same was true when I was an undergraduate here.”

This makes attending class the first day even more important because two professors can have very different policies. One may be more lenient, but the other may not allow any absences at all.

Professor Erin Kenney of Disabilities Services tells her students that “There is no formal [attendance] policy at Monmouth and professors are allowed to modify and change the policy such as allowing excused absences, but only with a doctor’s note.”

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