Mandatory attendance and non-negotiable make-ups make us better liars not students

Bruce Walton, opinion editor

Bruce Walton, opinion editor

Bruce Walton

So let me ask you something: How much money are you paying for this degree? How much tuition or room and board will you have to pay when or if you graduate? For myself, I’ll owe thousands of dollars in student loans for the next three years. So I’d like to know how a university’s courses could demand crucial points in attendance or assign unforgiving deadlines?

Don’t get me wrong, I see the implications of this idea. Some people don’t want to do the work. And some students will try to cheat their way to a degree, but I also do things outside of the university’s classwork like many of you, where I can’t meet the expectations an instructor has left out for me. Albeit each one has his or her own specific rules to the course I need to keep track of.

With that being said, in my four years of attending Kent State, I’ve witnessed syllabi stating 20 percent of their grade would be toward attendance. I’ve even seen the ever popular “participation points” that demand students to raise their hands, a draconian expectation to solicit active learning in an institution.

It’s hard enough trying to get to class when nothing short of a record-breaking blizzard will close classes, but the fact that we have to drag our bodies across campus if we want to pass class is something I didn’t really sign up for.

And even worse is that assignment, quiz and exam deadlines are also subject to the same asinine requirements that there can give no make-up opportunities. (God forbid students want a second chance to learn the material.)

Again, I understand there are extenuating circumstances, if you are sick, or a loved one died, you can be excused of that attendance or the exam.

However, you will need a doctor’s note to prove you were medically incapacitated, but I’m sure they wouldn’t ask for a funeral booklet.

Yes, there are people who will try to abuse this system, but it doesn’t mean they won’t try to find a way around the new rules you put into play. What makes this worse is that they’ll take more extreme lengths to get reasonable extensions to deadlines. I’ve seen people conspire against these deadlines, asking friends to sign their name when they pass the attendance sheet. I’ve seen people who forge their doctor’s signatures or lying about a dead friend, uncle or pet. I’ve heard people disguising their voices to sound like they’re older to excuse themselves from class that week. I myself have been guilty of lying about losing an email or trying to induce vomiting to get out of class.

Sometimes I just can’t face life. Sometimes I’ll be going through a tough time at work. Sometimes I haven’t slept more than four hours since last Tuesday and might faint if I have to crawl to another lecture hall. 

Giving these rules don’t better students, they make them smarter liars and forgers. And I’ll be damned if this prepares us for the real world — because when you have a real career, if you happen to wake up and don’t feel like getting up, you call in sick. Are you sick? Not most of the time. They don’t have to give documented evidence where they were like they’re given the third degree.

We are adults, and we can make these mistakes if we want to. It’s going to be me working to the bone to get out of debt in a few years. The least our professors can do is let us make-up an exam that we overslept for.

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected].