A January 20th Chronicle of Higher Education online article notes that we should “add attendance policies to the list of higher-education practices coming under new scrutiny in the pandemic.”
Toward that end, University Life recently surveyed class-attendance expectations at a number of colleges and universities across the country. The results, to put it mildly, are intriguing. Consider:
U. S. Military Academy — According to Academy Superintendent, Lieutenant General Darryl A. Williams, “the only acceptable reason for missing class at West Point is death — your own. The United States didn’t build a world-class fighting force by letting soldiers sit on the sidelines whenever they shattered a leg or suffered a gaping chest wound. And as educational psychologists have shown us, you don’t need to be conscious in order to learn, so spare me all that whining about traumatic brain injury. We’re talking here about WILLPOWER, boys and girls.”
Oral Roberts University — This evangelical institution has no formal attendance requirements. Page 17 of the Student Handbook states that “if you are an ORU student whose tuition payments are up to date, your spirit is present throughout our campus. Although your body may not be in class on any given day, your SOUL certainly is. Have a blessed day, wherever you are.”
Brigham Young University — A male student is allowed to miss class if he needs to preside over a dormitory suite meeting in which 3 or more of his wives are scheduling evening conjugal visits.
University of Maine at Fort Kent — At this northernmost campus in the University of Maine system, students are permitted to be absent if they become encased in a glacier on the way to class. “This happens more often than you might think,” says Fort Kent President Deborah Hedeen. “That’s why all of our freshmen have a smartphone app that reminds them to zip up their tundra suits before venturing out in the morning. We’ve lost more students to ‘glacier creep’ than I care to count. Notifying the parents is the worst part of my job.”
Idaho State University — Only school in the nation where students can miss class in order to attend Q-Anon meetings.
University of Miami — No penalty for absences if you have something more interesting to do, or if it’s a good tanning day.
University of Alabama — No one (not even the instructor) is required to show up for class during the college football season, which runs from late August through early January. Beginning in 2023, the University will close during this period every year, with only football operations taking place. “Let’s be honest,” says President Stuart Bell, “when the Crimson Tide is playing, classes are a distraction. I’m convinced that we lost the national championship game to Georgia in January for exactly that reason. Never again. Not on my watch.”
There’s leadership, and then there’s LEADERSHIP.