SHSU’s Attendance Policy

Last week I was put in a difficult situation. I was at home sick with the flu, but I realized that I had already missed the maximum amount of absences for a few of my classes, and if I missed again, my grade would be dropped a whole ten points. I honestly considered going to class with the flu, until I realized that was ridiculous and I would get everyone else sick. I emailed my professors and explained to them my situation and thankfully they were all very understanding. However, I realized just how unfair our university’s absence policy is.

The Absence Policy on SHSU’s website states that “A student may be penalized for more than three hours of absences at the discretion of the instructor,” which is usually a whole letter grade. Three hours is only three absences for a fifty-minute class and two absences for an hour and twenty-minute class. That means that over a semester of three and a half months, a student is not allowed to miss more than two or three days. While it should be a student’s priority to attend class, sometimes that just is not possible. Sometimes work and family matters have to come before class. It is very likely to become ill more than three days of a semester. You may even need a “mental health day” every once in a while. Two to three days is not nearly enough time to be allowed to miss in a period of more than three months. On top of the stress of course work, family, social life, work, health and all of the other things college students maintain, attending class almost every single day should not be required. It should be up to the student to determine how many days they can and should miss in order to balance all of the aspects of their lives.

It also seems unfair that we should be penalized for missing a class we have already paid for. While that should be motivation to attend every single day, sometimes that it is not possible and our grade should not be harmed because of it. We are expected to be responsible adults that can make many important decisions for ourselves, so why can we not be given the decision on how much class we can miss? Because we pay more than enough money to attend the course, the ultimate decision should be in our hands.

The only thing that should affect our grade is our performance in the classroom. Whether that is made up of tests, homework, presentations or any other aspect, attendance should not be accounted for when it comes to our final grade. If I am able to miss more than three days of class and maintain a certain grade, I should be allowed to have that grade as I rightfully earned it through my work, whether I was actually in class every day or not.

I would invite Sam Houston State University to reevaluate their attendance policy. I ask that they realize that we are all hardworking students, trying our best to balance everything in our lives. If it is not possible for us to attend nearly every single day of class, we should not be penalized for it. My education is in my hands, so it should be up to me to decide what my class attendance should be. If you expect us to act as mature, responsible adults, please give us the agency to do so.

There is one comment

  1. symphonic1

    The attendance policy does not say you cannot miss more than 3 days, it is at the discretion of the professor to penalize you for missing more than 3 days for your basic absences, illness, Dr. Visits, work, etc.

    The attendance policy states that if you miss more than 3 consecutive days, you must get approval from The Dean of Students and provide documentation. This would be for events that happen to the student that the professor cannot penalize you for like a serious illness, a death in the family, perhaps you were injured yourself in a car wreck. The student has up to 10 days to submit the request of absence approval to the Dean of Students and a decision will then be made if your extended absence was excusable or not.

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