Student government member seeks new absence policy

Student government member Kasie Durkit had a proposal fail to be passed and needs students to tell their stories to bring it back.

Academic Affairs Chair Durkit tried to write changes to the excused absence policy because as it stands, students representing the University, like in sporting events, are not covered.

“Right now the only times excused absences are allowed in the policy is from severe weather, religious holidays, and National Guard or military,” she said. “This doesn’t include reasons students would need to be absent from classes like for educational purposes, leadership roles, training for future jobs or careers, and athletes.”

Other examples that she mentioned include professional development events, research conferences, national greek conferences, teams like mock trial and debate teams, graduate college or law school visits and school musicians.

“Depending on the teacher, students could get punished for missing for these reasons, like losing participation points, not being able to make up a test, or even getting a zero for the day,” she said.

The Committee of Academic Affairs put together proposed changes to the policy stating that there should be an excused absence if they are required to participate in official University business, or acting as an official representative of the University.

It then went to the Senate Executive Committee in late January for them to approve.

“They rejected it and sent it back recently,” Durkit said. “I just found out today. It’s a major problem, many faculty sit on [the SEC] so we need to redo it and fast.”

Durkit said the main problems they outlined when she got the proposal back was that they wanted to know more details on how this will affect athletes, who exactly will be affected by these changes and how people on scholarships will be affected.

“We are basically back to the drawing board,” she said. “[Vice Provost for Academic Affairs] Sue Houston will collect policies from other universities because they have better ones than we do.”

Durkit is planning on rewriting the proposal, but to go along with it she would like to have student’s stories about how they have been affected negatively by not having the new policy.

She is looking for as many as she can get and only has three to five days to get everything put together, so if a student has a story they would like her to know, email Kasie Durkit at [email protected]