SGA passed a bill last week to create a campus-wide attendance and make-up work policy in order to make requirements consistent from class to class regardless of the department or professor.
“We are one of the last UW schools to address a campus-wide, standard attendance policy,” said SGA President Ryan Specht. “It is inconsistent and we have received troubling reports throughout the year of students not being afforded appropriate time to make up activities or given an excused absence for a medical emergency or related reason.”
SGA has been working in committee for the duration of this academic year addressing the issues at hand and formulating actions to resolve them.
“We are working to collaborate with faculty to create a general policy that will ease confusion and be consistent,” said Katie Cronmiller, SGA vice president elect.
The alterations to the current policy aim to not only make students more aware of what is expected of them, but to aid faculty in setting up their attendance policies in the most effective way. One of the requirements that will benefit faculty is a 24-hour notice to have an absence be considered excused.
“We believe that faculty should be able to have flexibilities in setting their attendance policy,” Specht said. “An attendance policy in a seminar will and should look different from a lecture. By the same token, students deserve a standard or foundation upon which they know they can be excused from class. This includes medical emergencies, accidents, representing the university, and others.”
In recent years, the university has run into issues with certain absences not being considered excused. A major goal of these policy changes is to provide a clear definition of what exactly an excused absence can include.
“One population we have heard a lot from these past few years has been student veterans who consistently are not allowed to count missing class for a required drill as an excused absence,” Specht said. “Our proposal changes that, making a drill call or other military obligation a guaranteed excused absence.”
A consistent attendance policy will immediately affect students upon implementation.
“Students will notice the most immediate and direct benefit with the course absence and make-up policy,” Specht said. “This will allow for students to be afforded greater accountability and means of being evaluated from class to class.”
The proposal has been approved by SGA and is being forwarded on to the Academic Affairs Committee and Faculty Senate. These changes will take place next semester at the earliest.