Strict Attendance Policies: Motivating or Dissuading?
By Stefanie Baptista
Campus Life Editor
We’ve all had those professors, the ones that take their attendance policies a little too seriously. Yes, students should go to class; yes, students should go to class on time, but should they be penalized for walking in one minute late when class has barely begun? Should that penalization for walking in a minute shy of start time be a flat out absence? In my opinion, no. They still showed up! And the whole “walking in late is a distraction to the class” argument doesn’t really sit well either; I have never once been distracted by someone walking in late. It’s not that deep.
Some may argue that this kind of rule is meant to motivate students to get to class on time, but I don’t think it really has that much influence on the matter. If someone encounters an unexpected mishap on their morning commute that they know is going to make them late for class and cause them to be marked absent (which could potentially impact their grade for the class), what’s the point of going? They may just say, “well, I’m already going to be late so what’s the point of going?” This is even more true if it happens to be their only class for the day!
Now, there is the other side of the argument that students should still care about the information being presented in class and should go for that benefit, which I totally agree with, but I can also acknowledge that a lot of people are just trying to get by; especially if it’s a class that isn’t for their major or one they don’t really care about it and/or are required to take. This isn’t coming from someone who’s perpetually late for and/or misses class often; in fact, I’ve only been late to one class in my entire college career and barely miss school (is this an academic flex?), but I think it’s extremely unfair to the students who are trying their best and may have certain circumstances (which could be unbeknownst to the professor) that could cause them to be absent or a minute or two late here and there. I also think it’s important to note that people don’t want to be late; it’s not something most people do on purpose. Just some food for thought.