Opinions: Attendance Policies Should be More Uniform

We’re all too accustomed to the first day of class when the professor explains their syllabus and the expectations for the class. One of the most varied expectations set by professors is the attendance policy. On one end of the spectrum, there are professors who don’t allow any absences, and in contrast, there are professors who say attendance is optional and even reward students with extra credit for simply attending regularly.

We, the Truman Media Network Editorial Board, find it frustrating to deal with inconsistent policies.

It is difficult to be in a class with a professor who does not allow enough sick days for students. In reality, you get sick days when you’re in a career, so why are we as students not allowed sick days? Professors have sick days and the opportunity to cancel class because of illness, and that affects more people than a single student’s absence.

In the same way, a student should not have to be concerned that they’ll fail a course because of an illness that forces them to miss a class or two. While attendance is important, it shouldn’t be so important that everyone else has to risk their health due to someone with an illness still coming to class.

On the flip side, it is frustrating to have a professor who does not make attendance to their classes a priority. Despite having those sick days available to you at your career, you’d never miss every day of work and still be successful. We pay for our education, and while we celebrate a canceled class as a break, a class which does not require attendance feels like a waste.

While we think it’s inconvenient to have hundreds of different attendance policies around campus, we also don’t think it’s something to be regulated and set campus wide. It doesn’t make sense for a Tuesday-Thursday class to allow the same number of absences as a Monday-Wednesday-Friday class. In the same way, it doesn’t make sense for a class that meets once a week to be allowed the same number of absences as the previous two.

Perhaps the answer is having a set of policies professors can choose from based upon what they feel is acceptable and necessary for their class. Several choices of attendance policies professors can choose from which would reflect the different needs of each class or professor. However, this still may not be good enough for professors who believe their class needs to be held to different standards. It may be difficult, but we believe it is important to bring some uniformity to attendance policies at Truman.