By Kelsi Peace, Managing Editor
The Students’ Association Congress called for uniformity and reform in the attendance policy on campus at Wednesday’s meeting, passing an act asking professors to reconsider stringent policies.
Senior senator Brandon Smith authored the act, which aims to eliminate “varying degrees of restrictiveness and academic punishment,” according to the legislation.
The act recognizes the necessity of an attendance policy, but criticizes the array of enforcement. Some instructors penalize students full letter grades for missing more than two classes, a far cry from the 20 percent attendance policy that is generally the standard, Smith said.
Congress agreed with the policy of dropping students from a course if they miss more than 20 percent of class meetings, but requested instructors seek a common standard – and not necessarily the current 80-percent standard.
Smith said he presented the legislation at the end of the semester in the hopes that professors would revise their attendance policies over the break.
Despite urging from Rep. Tony Godfrey and Rep. Casey Bingham that Congress uniformly support the act, the legislation passed with 37 votes for and one vote abstaining.
“The ambiguity of the policy makes it difficult for students,” SA president Matt Worthington said.
And representatives across the board agreed – many shared instances of being dropped from courses for missing more than 20 percent of class because of schoolsponsored activities, losing a grade for being sick or earning a poor grade in a general class simply because of attendance.
With the support of Congress, the act will next be turned to the Faculty Senate and Dr. Jean-Noel Thompson, vice president of student life, to open dialogue, Worthington said.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, Congress formally requested the university release an e-mail list to the SA office. Smith’s bill requesting an email list passed by voice vote.
The request comes after SA’s comprehensive student survey failed to be sent out Monday as planned because of some confusion between SA and Student Life, Worthington said.
“We intended to send out a survey Monday night to students, but that didn’t happen because there was a breakdown in communication,” he told Congress.
The bill requests that the administration “provide clear and free access to e-mail all students” by the spring semester.
“We’ve always had access to this in the past,” Smith said.