APSU’s attendance policy is great for the teachers, but not for the students it applies to. Attendance is a subject not many students can agree on.
Whether they believe the policy is too strict or too lax depends on many factors, although most agree APSU’s is a flawed policy.
According to APSU’s website, the attendance policy is a campus-wide policy and states a student may miss only a predetermined amount of days before they fail said class, no matter what their grade is beforehand.
It typically leaves most of the decisions up to the professors, which is enormously helpful for the professors, as they are able to design their schedules without worrying about students missing.
A common trend is for professors to allow three unexcused absences, and after that the student’s grade is affected accordingly.
For many students, this is a flawed system.
Once those three days are up, the professors are grading if students’ emergencies are important enough to write off, and whether or not students can attend classes instead of having personal time to deal with it.
According to the National Alliance of Mental Health, “75 percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin by age 24.”
APSU currently doesn’t count mental health issues as a valid reason for missing a day of class, according to the attendance policy. Mental health is as valid reason of a as any. As long as the student makes up the assignments for the day, plans with the professor and gets it turned in, the absence should not be an issue.
Mental health is just as important as a physical ailment like the flu: You can’t focus if you can’t stop coughing, and you can’t focus if your nerves are shaking and you feel like the room is caving in, as one with anxiety or depression can feel.
Many students also have to attend personal legal matters such as court, which can take up multiple dates during the school week.
How can a student be expected not to go to something that is scheduled by the government? One might say that a student should take it up with the professor.
But what if they don’t understand the importance of a court date?
They could easily fail a student for simply doing his or her legal duty.
“As long as teachers understood that students did not have to come to class, then I’d be cool with not having a [strict] attendance policy,” said freshman business major Lindsey Rice.
Rice said this would be an imperfect strategy.
“Most professors wouldn’t understand it, so I don’t believe it would work well,” Rice said.
Robert Wes Atkinson, an English professor, has an alternate opinion on the subject.
“[The attendance policy] depends on the course, faculty, student, situation and many other things,” said Atkinson. “A university-wide basic policy is wise and appropriate. It is not unusual for a student to fail my course due to poor attendance who otherwise might have passed.”
Atkinson said he advocates for checks and balances regarding attendance.
“Checks and balances like an attendance policy is needed to ensure that a student who passes a course truly learned the appropriate material and did not simply ‘mathematically’ pass,” said Atkinson.
SGA Senator and business finance major Peter Ponce agrees with a strong attendance policy.
“The attendance policy, as it stands, should be more strictly adhered to by all professors in all departments in all colleges,” Ponce said. “You’re paying for those classes and it’s a waste of money to not go. It isn’t fair to students who go every day and barely get by.”
The argument that we are adults and should be treated like such goes both ways.
“Is it college? Yes,” said Ponce. “Are we supposed to govern ourselves? Yes. But I believe the policy is in place to level the playing field.”
Whatever the opinion may be, most tend to agree that the policy could stand to be improved, whether it becomes more lenient or stays strict.