Editorial: Atten-don’ts: Policy merely insults students


There have countless debates on this topic before, and that’s to be expected from a large student body composed of people who pay thousands of dollars to be here while pursuing a degree. From how strict policies are from one college to another, to how hard it is to keep track of several different policies a student may have for each class, attendance will always be a hot-button issue on campus.

And don’t even get us started on the seemingly pointless regulations on what is considered an excused absence and what’s not.

Isn’t it about time we did away with the whole system? The overly complicated system of attendance policies at Baylor is insulting to a student body that obviously wants to be here.

It’s apparent we want to be here and have more than enough incentive to attend classes simply because we pay so much for them. Why jeopardize students’ grades with an intricate system of attendance policies when you could just let their grades (and the money going into them) be enough motivation for students to attend class?

Baylor’s official university-wide attendance policy used to be a required attendance at least 75 percent of all courses. If the student missed more than 25 percent, he or she would automatically receive a failing grade, no matter what the current grade was.  When the university-wide policy was disbanded, it was replaced with separate attendance policies for each academic unit such as the School of Music or the College of Arts and Sciences.

Most departments have maintained the previous 75 percent policy but have added the options for teachers to place more stringent restrictions on top of the department policy should they choose.

This makes for a confusing system for students to navigate when they are involved in classes from several different schools at the same time. But the real crime is the policy on excused absences.

The College of Arts and Sciences’ Student Policies and Procedures website states that when classes are missed, it is the student’s responsibility to account for how absences may affect participation, missed assignments and exams.

We know the whole point is to attend as much class as possible. That’s why we are here and pay all of this money.

We obviously want to receive a high-quality education and are willing to meet attendance requirement to do so.

However, having so many attendance policies to consider while trying to get through our respective degree plans only exacerbates the difficulties we face simply by being full-time students with part-time jobs and extracurricular involvements.

Many of us are involved in sports, work-study jobs and classes that require out-of-class commitments, and there are always the occasional flus and emergencies that force us to skip class.  However, despite the attendance policies we do what we can to pass the classes we miss.

Some teachers will say if you’ve missed more than seven classes in the semester, you’re probably failing anyway. However, it’s not fair to make this assumption. We believe it is completely within our abilities to miss more than the “quota” and still pass a class. But you (the colleges and departments) have to give us a chance first.

In short, you have to start treating us like the adults we are.

The policies in place now are insulting to our integrity and the character we exhibit simply by being Baylor students.

It’s time to do away with the kindergarten roll call and allow us to show our true willingness to be here and excel, despite hardships or slip-ups.