Excused absences may come easy for students

Students who are absent from class due to co-curricular events will be filed under a unified form as early as fall 2016 with the implementation of a new Academic Senate item.

The suggestion was brought forward by new Athletic Director, Colin Preston, at the Feb. 16 meeting.

Preston has been in his new position since Jan. 21.

It will formalize the attendance policy for students, who would sign a form along with teachers and a department administrator who acknowledges the student’s event in advance so that they may be excused from conflicting classes at the instructor’s discretion.

The forms would be a way for students to inform instructors of possible schedule conflicts before they happen and Preston said he wants “everyone on the same page,” in these situations.

“We just want support,” Preston said. “If there’s an athlete who is going to the postseason, and it coincides with a class, we just want to make sure that we’re communicating that at the start of the semester.”

The forms could be used by a number of different students and Academic Senate Co-President Chris Jeffries said the senate wants to expand it beyond athletics into extra-curricular clubs and groups as well.

“Anybody who is participating in inter-collegial competition, or representing the college, would be able to use this attendance policy,” Jeffries said.

Students on the forensics team, in theatre productions and those on the associated student body are some of the other examples Jeffries gave.

Absences under the new instruction would only be excused if the teacher signs off, so they won’t fall under the policy where students are dropped from classes when they miss more than 10 percent of the sessions.

Instructors would be given the student’s event schedule prior to the event, and before the season for athletes, so that “if the instructor doesn’t let them make up the work because they had to leave, they can show them the proof,” Jeffries said.

Jeffries said the forms will be come in threes, so that the student has a copy, along with the teacher and department administrator (or athletic director).

Athletic specialist Carolyn Biedler talked about the current policy, and said that the forms would replace yellow ID cards that students show to indicate they’re a student-athlete.

Preston prepared the policy to be instituted in the fall, and currently it’s being reviewed by the Academic Senate for their suggestions.

The forms are an information item so it doesn’t require a vote, and “if everything looks good, then in the fall it’ll be instituted,” Jeffries said.

*This story was featured in our Vol. 70 Issue 2, published on March 3.