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Editorial

Attendance policies lack trust, freedom

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October 13, 2006

When the alarm goes off in the morning, you can bet there’s at least one other person thinking the same thing as you: Should I go to class?

You might believe you have the liberty to make that choice — this is college, after all. But it seems as if attendance policies are finding their way onto more syllabi as the years go on. And with every class allowing only three absences per semester, a little piece of that freedom-craving freshman dies within us all.

Faculty can make the argument that attendance policies are in place for the students’ own good — it teaches the responsibility necessary for success in the workforce they will inevitably enter.

Yet by age 18, we all should be capable of making decisions on our own. And if we’re not quite there yet — let us learn from our mistakes.

And as adults, we know by now that different people have different learning styles. While some students learn by listening to professors lecture, others process information by reading the material themselves.

To expect every student to be present at every lecture seriously dismisses the individuality existing in us all.

A failing grade is likely punishment enough for a truant student who truly isn’t capable of learning on their own — if they didn’t go to class in the first place, chances are they aren’t too psyched to take the entire course over again next semester. It costs more money and takes more time, and none of us want to subject ourselves to that.

While faculty members commonly brush off the typical absence excuses — lack of sleep, excess stress, hectic work schedules — we hope they are not so easily disregarded in the future.

With tuition on a steady increase and a continuously failing economy, these arguments are not only valid but commendable for those of us who are literally working day and night to get that valuable education.

So educators — don’t underestimate your students. If we can do well in your classes without being physi- cally present, don’t give us a poor grade just because you wanted so badly to see our smiling faces every day.

And students and teachers alike, if you find your classrooms empty, take note of the type of environ- ment you’re experiencing. Students should be willing and allowed to engage in the lessons they’re expected to learn.

Not all professors believe learning should be fun, but students are paying to be here — so show us a good time.