Why the Excused Absence Policy Should be Changed

According to the Chamber of Commerce, excused absences are defined as “a period of administratively authorized absence from official duties without loss of pay and without charge to an employee’s leave account.” However, Montana State University doesn’t have one listed other than to say in their student responsibilities to “be prompt and regular in attending classes.”

Every student has heard of excused absences at some point in their life, and might have even had one, so everyone knows the usual policy of needing a note or way to prove it’s an excused absence. The way a student has to get the absence excused is usually up to the professor of whatever class they missed, and every professor has a different policy when it comes to these absences. Some say it doesn’t matter as long as work is turned in, others say attendance is mandatory and having a certain number of absences will make a student fail the class.

One professor’s absence policy is as follows: “Absences include any non-participation: any illness or injury, family emergency, sleeping in, school events, studying for another class, not dressing out properly for class.” There is another line where it says if the person misses six or more classes then they will fail the class.

This policy is extremely harsh and specific in what will constitute an unexcused absence and even the Dean of Students can’t take over here and say that it’s unfair. According to the Dean of Student’s page on the Montana State University website, they can only “encourage professors to work with you” and “offer support during times of personal hardship.” That doesn’t really help someone if they’re being told they’ll fail a class for missing days.

Some professors’ policies for absences should be changed, or at least stretched a little, so the students who actually have situations out of their control can still be successful in their classes.

These policies are hindering students’ access to education. Montana State University needs to realize this and write an expansive, university-wide policy so students who do have personal hardships, as said by the Dean of Students, can continue their education and work towards their graduation date just like everyone else.