Excused Absence policy long overdue

By Gus Bode

A conflict between the golf team and a professor last spring prompted the Faculty Senate to create and propose a policy that will allow a student participating in a University-sponsored event to miss a class – even if it means missing an exam. Under the proposal, these students will be allowed to make up missed class work.

This policy roots from a professor who would not let a player miss his exam. Women’s head golf coach Diane Daugherty found herself in a precarious position for her next move. She decided to delay the team’s departure until after the exam, thus forfeiting the team’s practice round on a foreign course.

“Graduation is the number one goal of the entire [athletic] department,” said Daugherty. “If I had to make the decision again tomorrow, I would.”

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At least 10 times throughout a semester students are faced with the decision between missing a match and missing a major exam. This becomes crucial when students are receiving scholarship money for their involvement in the event that causes them to miss class. If they choose class over the sport, their scholarship could be in danger.

The current policy leaves the student at the mercy of the professor. The Faculty Senate is examining a new policy that would allow undergraduates to make up missed exams, quizzes and other class work.

All other public universities in Illinois have a similar policy in place. We are glad to see a policy change is being considered, and we must say – it is about time.

The University gains so much publicity from sports teams and non-athletic groups that participate in events, it is a wonder that the University did not propose this policy sooner.

Some may mistakenly take such a change to be a free day at home in front of the T.V. But this is not the case. This policy is outlined for only University-approved events.

There is a single word in the contract some students purposely overlook. Required, not to be confused with voluntary, is the key word of the policy. For example, the golfer was attending SIUC on a golf scholarship. She was required to attend the match to keep her scholarship. Fortunately, her coach was understanding and realized she also needed to maintain a respectable grade point average to keep her scholarship.

Decisions like Daugherty’s have enabled SIUC to boast statistics such as athletes’ high academic standing. In fact, 56 percent of spring semester sports average 3.0 GPA’s. Ten out of the 14 sports at SIUC average 3.0 GPA’s.

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For all of those who love to watch Muhammad Abdulquaadir run untouched into the end zone or see Darren Brooks picking someone’s pocket and dunking the ball at the other end, you can rest assured that the decision between exam and game is almost eliminated. The dilemma over education will soon be gone, and both players and professors will breathe easier once this proposal is approved.

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