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Braves Council pushes for university-wide absence policy

A university-wide absence policy is being drafted by the Braves Council and the Bradley University Intercollegiate Athletics Committee.
Bradley currently does not have an official policy, Vice President of Student Affairs Alan Galsky said.
“For the last four or five years, the athletes have wanted Bradley to have a university absence policy that provides structure for excuses so students wouldn’t be penalized,” he said.
Galsky said a draft was created last year and brought to the Athletics Committee, where both faculty and staff approved it.
Then he took it to the Student Advisory Committee, a group composed of leaders from different student organizations. The committee added religious observances as a reason for an absence. The policy was redrafted and the Athletics Committee will meet on Tuesday to approve the new draft.
The draft excuses students for university-sanctioned activities such as performing arts events, speech competitions, band performances and intercollegiate athletic events. It also excuses jury duty and other legal obligations, immediate family deaths or serious illnesses, religious reasons and observances, serious illness or injury that is determined by the Health Center or an off-campus physician and required participation in military duties.
Students must give instructors at least two weeks notice prior to these activities and they are responsible for making up all missed work for their professors within the time period they request, according to the draft.
Galsky said there haven’t been a lot of problems between faculty members and students regarding absence.
“Supporters want to formalize it because they’ve been doing it that way anyways,” he said. “Students who have a legitimate reason to miss classes will not be penalized.”
Junior accounting major Jessica Butterbaugh, who is also a member of the women’s tennis team, said she agreed.
“I’ve been affected by teachers because of the lack of attendance policy,” she said. “If I miss class or a quiz because of sports ,I’ll automatically lose points. It’s not fair when I can’t be there because of a school-sponsored event.”
While athletes say they have suffered from the lack of absence policy, other students have not.
Sophomore elementary education major Claribel Rocha said she has not been affected much by the lack of policy.
“I didn’t even know we didn’t have one,” she said. “I guess it was just assumed, teachers should be accommodating. Usually professors are understanding and excuse absences for you based upon prior completion of missed work.  But having it formally written would make everything more final.”
Galsky said SAC has been looking at the draft favorably for about two years and the Athletics Committee has been generally supportive of it.
He said even if the committee approves the draft, it is a long way from being put into effect.
It must also be approved by the Dean’s Council and Student Senate, as well as various other organizations.
“Don’t expect any changes to come into effect as soon as next semester,” he said.
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