By TAYLOR OSTROM
Life is full of obstacles, sometimes these obstacles cause students to miss class. This semester, my classes at the University of Mary Washington have had strict attendance policies that are strongly enforced. College students are known to skip out on classes, however, with the fear of losing points toward their final grade they may be less inclined to skip. What I take issue with is when students with valid excuses for missing class, who also make up all their work, end up with a lower grade point average in the end.
The University of Mary Washington should be more lenient towards excused absences while still holding students who miss class, without reason, accountable.
The university’s attendance policy states, “Faculty are entirely at their discretion about whether or not to allow a student to make up missed assignments… Furthermore, class participation itself is an appropriate criterion for grading and a student’s failure to participate can be expected to affect his or her grade in the course,” so attendance expectations vary from class to class.
“Attendance should not count because sometimes things come up and it’s hard to juggle a job on top of school,” said senior Cierra Mckinney. “So, if I miss class and catch up on my work, I don’t think I should be punished.”
The syllabus for the Logic and Reasoning class, taught by Professor Michael Reno, states, “Consistent with UMW’s policy, there is no distinction between excused and unexcused absence… You may miss four days throughout the semester with no homework or attendance penalty, regardless of reason.” However, after those four absences have been used each missed day of class equates to a one percent drop in your overall grade point average.
Whether a student is legitimately ill or just catching up on sleep, they are going to be penalized the same, and this does not seem fair. Imagine that you caught a cold and then later that week you get the flu, which is not hard to imagine during this time of year. You have already used more than the four absences you are allowed and regardless of whether you have a doctor’s note or not your grade will be affected.
“If a student has a valid reason for being absent then I don’t think it is fair to dock points, as long as they put in the work and finish assignments on time,” said junior Ashley Hill. “Most professors put lectures online now in days anyway.”
Students who miss class for valid reasons and make up any missed work should not be penalized. The university should consider revising its attendance policy and working with faculty to create fair procedures for disciplining students who miss class without legitimate reasons.