Attendance policies don’t have a place in college setting

High test grades and quality papers should dictate students’ grades, not attendance to a service one pays for.

by Chris Ward

I canâÄôt remember exactly when it began, but lately the University of Arizona seems to be cracking down on absences and enforcing much stricter attendance and punctuality policies than before. What does strict enforcement of a silly attendance policy accomplish? Not much of anything. It seems ridiculous that many professors say things like, âÄúIf youâÄôre more than 3 minutes late, IâÄôd rather you not come in at all. There is no excuse for being more than 3 minutes late.âÄù Basically, youâÄôre telling me that the first 5-10 minutes of class are more important than the hour that follows? Why then, donâÄôt I just go to class for the first 10 minutes and then leave? Oh, thatâÄôs not cool either? It disturbs my classmates? Never mind then. I figure that since weâÄôre paying for a service, then you donâÄôt have the right to tell us that if weâÄôre late we canâÄôt partake. Any other industry at least tries to be accommodating (for example: restaurants, doctors, dentists, car service centers, etc.), while some professors seem to think they have the right to belittle and embarrass people. Who needs a guilt trip for showing up late or missing a class? Not me; I could get treated horribly for free rather than paying thousands of dollars for it. I understand and appreciate the difficult path taken by professors in order to achieve their career status, and I also appreciate that they have a job to do, but IâÄôd appreciate the same kind of consideration from them that they demand from me. While itâÄôs fairly rare for instructors to be late to class, I wouldnâÄôt throw a fit about it, nor would I feel insulted by it. Of course I know it wasnâÄôt your idea to make it an 8 a.m. class, but coming in at 8 a.m. doesnâÄôt pay my mortgage like it does for you, professor. What pays my mortgage is that job that doesnâÄôt end until 2 a.m. So I apologize if you feel IâÄôm somehow disrespecting your work by trying to earn a living, but the conundrum is that I need to work to go to school. On top of it, if I can get an A in the class without having to attend half the classes, then the only thing that means is itâÄôs a shame that I had to spend $900 on a class that I didnâÄôt really need, except to graduate. Heaven forbid I donâÄôt go and âÄúlearn,âÄù and heaven forbid the university allows us to take classes that pertain to what we want to do rather than topics that many of us find irrelevant. Student: âÄúI want to be an accountant after I graduate.âÄù Adviser: âÄúOK, youâÄôre going to have to start by taking this sociology class and that literature class.âÄù Student: âÄúHuh?âÄù WhatâÄôs the deal if I actually get sick? I know I can miss two days, great, but any more than that and IâÄôm screwing myself. So, sorry to the rest of you, but IâÄôm going to have to come in on Thursday with the swine flu, because I canâÄôt afford to miss another class. I apologize if you end up getting sick and having to attend class anyway, but itâÄôs a catch-22, you see. Sure hope this flu doesnâÄôt somehow rapidly spread! My question is, when did a grade become lashed to attendance and not to the quality of the work completed? If I turn in work on time, if my test grades are high, why should I deserve to get less than an A for doing A work? Not that IâÄôm used to getting AâÄôs, but the same argument works for BâÄôs, too. The ultimate message here is donâÄôt treat us like children, because weâÄôre not. And donâÄôt act like a parole officers for a federal crime, when our attendance offenses are more akin to broken jay-walking laws. This column was originally published in the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Please send comments to [email protected].