I can't remember exactly when it began, but lately the University of Arizona seems to be cracking down on absences and enforcing much stricter attendance and punctuality policies than before.
What does strict enforcement of a silly attendance policy accomplish? Not much of anything, if you ask me. It seems ridiculous that many professors, some of mine included, say things like, ""If you're more than 3 minutes late, I'd rather you not come in at all. There is no excuse for being more than 3 minutes late."" Basically, you're telling me that the first 5-10 minutes of class are more important than the hour that follows? Why then, don't I just go to class for the first 10 minutes and then leave? Oh, that's not cool either? It disturbs my classmates? Never mind then.
I figure that since we're paying for a service, then you don't have the right to tell us that if we're late we can't partake. Any other industry at least tries to be accommodating (for example: restaurants, doctors, dentists, car service centers, etc.), while some professors seem to think they have the right to belittle and embarrass people. Who needs a guilt trip for showing up late or missing a class? Not me; I could get treated horribly for free rather than paying thousands of dollars for it.
I understand and appreciate the difficult path taken by professors in order to achieve their career status, and I also appreciate that they have a job to do, but I'd appreciate the same kind of consideration from them that they demand from me. While it's fairly rare for instructors to be late to class, I wouldn't throw a fit about it, nor would I feel insulted by it.
Of course I know it wasn't your idea to make it an 8 a.m. class, but coming in at 8 a.m. doesn't pay my mortgage like it does for you, professor. What pays my mortgage is that job that doesn't end until 2 a.m.. So I apologize if you feel I'm somehow disrespecting your work by trying to earn a living, but the conundrum is that I need to work to go to school.
On top of it, if I can get an A in the class without having to attend half the classes, then the only thing that means is it's a shame that I had to spend $900 on a class that I didn't really need, except to graduate. God forbid I don't go and ""learn,"" and god forbid the university allows us to take classes that pertain to what we want to do rather than topics that many of us find irrelevant.
Student: ""I want to be an accountant after I graduate.""
Adviser: ""OK, you're going to have to start by taking this sociology class and that literature class.""
What's the deal if I actually get sick? I know I can miss two days, great, but any more than that and I'm screwing myself. So, sorry to the rest of you, but I'm going to have to come in on Thursday with the swine flu, because I can't afford to miss another class. I apologize if you end up getting sick and having to attend class anyway, but it's a catch-22, you see. Sure hope this flu doesn't somehow rapidly spread!
My question is, when did a grade become lashed to attendance and not to the quality of the work completed? If I turn in work on time, if my test grades are high, why should I deserve to get less than an A for doing A work? Not that I'm used to getting A's, but the same argument works for B's, too.
The ultimate message here is don't treat us like children, because we're not. And don't act like parole officers for our federal crimes, when our attendence offences are more akin to broken jaywalking laws.
— Chris Ward is a senior and an English major. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.