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Professors have varied opinions of uniform absence policy

Some professors oppose a university-wide policy outlining reasons for excused student absences

The proposed absence policy has yet to be mentioned to some teachers.
The policy would excuse students for reasons such as university-sanctioned activities, serious illnesses, religious observances and legal obligations. It was drafted by two athletic committees and is opposed by some professors.
“Personally, you have to have the freedom to run your class,” psychology professor Demaris Montgomery said.
She said she already accommodates student-athletes in her classroom, but sometimes in the lower-level classes there are some problems.
“The only time it becomes a problem is with the intro classes,” she said. “And we don’t do make up ones for that, but if it becomes a problem because they have to miss so many, we make accommodations.”
Professor Twyla Lukowiak, of the Department of Education, said in her first year as a teacher she hasn’t run into many problems and doesn’t see the need to make a university-wide policy.
“I already currently accommodate and it hasn’t been an excessive amount of absences, so it hasn’t caused a problem,” she said.
Lukowiak also said as a student, she had a good understanding coming into the profession the exceptions she would have to make for student-athletes.
“I always make sure they get caught up,” she said. “I would hope the professors would help the students make up the work anyway and it wouldn’t necessarily have to become a university policy.”
Lukowiak argued the professors are professionals and should know how to conduct their classes and classroom policies, including absences.
Civil engineering and construction instructor Burl George said he hadn’t heard of absence policy, but for the information published in the Scout recently.
George said he keeps a standard policy.
“When I have a student-athlete and they have to go on a road trip, they’ll take tests beforehand if they are gone just for a day,” he said. “If they are gone three or four days, I’ll give it to them when they get back.”
George said he notifies students before they leave of what they’ll have to study and doesn’t see why there should be a university policy.
“I think if you’re going to make a university-wide policy, you’re going to run into problems because every situation is unique,” he said. “Once you start doing black-letter policy you have no control over unusual instances.”
George said he sees both sides of the argument for and against the policy, because his son was a student-athlete. Based on that experience, Burl said his son’s professors accommodated him.
George also said he expects professors to accompany students’ needs, whether they are athletes or not.
“If you miss a quiz, you should be able to make it up if it’s a Bradley function or if there is a death in your family,” he said. “In all the years I’ve been here I’ve never had a student athlete abuse the system.”
Business professor Aaron Buchko said the key thing to remember about student-athletes is the student part comes first.
“We have certain expectations of these students regarding travel times, practice times, etc,” he said. “Students are going to go home winter break and they’re going to be here playing games.”
Buchko said he thinks the student-athletes should be treated in a fair and equitable manner.
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