|Approved by the:
|Student Senate April 2, 2015|
The Senate Committee on Educational Policy (SCEP) is working with Student Senators and others to address the issues identified in the Resolution. The April 15 SCEP meeting included discussion of three proposed changes to the Administrative Policy on Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences.
Following a substantial discussion in the committee, SCEP members agreed to form a small subcommittee to meet this summer, to continue discussions and to work on drafting language to bring back to SCEP in the fall. Among the areas for discussion are (1) adding language to clarify that faculty members do have the discretion to approve absences and allow for makeup work in addition to those explicitly mentioned in item #1 of the policy as legitimate absences;(2) how best to define bereavement and the relationships for which it would be applicable; (3) consideration of a statement to encourage faculty to take into consideration students' religious practices related to bereavement; (4) further clarification that faculty have the authority to determine when a student cannot meet the objectives of a particular course because of absences, (5) further discussion and consultation
Resolution to modify the Administrative Policy on Makeup Work for Legitimate Absences to address student parent concerns
The Student Senate recommends that the Provost of the University and Vice President of Academic and Internal affairs consider updating the current Administrative Policy on Make Up Work for Legitimate Absences to address additional concerns that student parents face regularly.
Currently, Section 1 of the Make Up Work for Legitimate Absences Policy Statement, states students with sick dependents are excused from classes. The Student Senate supports the addition of the bold section that will address student parents specifically as referenced below:
1. Students will not be penalized for absence during the semester due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances. Such circumstances include illness of the student
or of his or her dependent, medical conditions related to pregnancy, participation in intercollegiate athletic events, subpoenas, jury duty, military service, bereavement, and religious observances. Such circumstances also include activities sponsored by the University if identified by the senior academic officer for the campus or his or her designee as the basis for excused absences. Such circumstances do not include voting in local, state, or national elections. Instructors are expected to accommodate students who wish to participate in party caucuses, pursuant to Board of Regents resolution (see December 2005 Board of Regents Minutes, p. 147).
2. Students shall not be penalized for absences during the semester due to illness of the student's dependent, medical conditions related to pregnancy, or unexpected custody issues (e.g. custody hearings). Additionally, students not be penalized when his or her dependent's school is closed due to observed holidays (e.g. President's Day), inclement weather days (e.g. snow days), and teacher professional development days, or when other duties involve dependent necessities.
The addition of this section addresses concerns that students face daily as parents attending the University. The policy originally only addresses dependent illness; however, there are many other circumstances that parents are forced to stay out of school with their children.
Holidays, such as President's day, are observed by pre-school ages and K-12 school systems, but are not observed by the University. Both schools and daycare centers are closed, leaving parents without a back up plan for childcare. Last fiscal year, there were approximately 8 school days that were cancelled for all ages due to the snow and dangerous freezing temperatures. Of those eight days, the University only closed for 1 and a half. Additionally, several times a semester, K-12 schools are closed to observe Professional Development Work Days for teachers.
Adding the language to this policy will allow parents to make up exams, assignments, and miss mandatory classes, without penalty. The University policy grants instructors the right to request verification of absences. Students should easily be able to provide documentation for each of these circumstances, which will ensure that this modified policy will not be abused.