Class Attendance Policy
Three basic rules apply to all excused absences, whether excused because of a University policy or at the instructor’s discretion:
- Course instructors shall make final determinations regarding excused absences and any accommodations afforded to students surrounding make-up work, extension of deadlines, etc.
- Students must still meet all class requirements.
- Instructors are encouraged to offer reasonable assistance in making up missed work (e.g., making arrangements for attendance at labs or discussion sessions which meet at other times; providing makeup exams or labs where feasible).
Required participation in athletic events which conflict with scheduled classes is verified by the Athletic Department. Rosters listing students who are excused because of intercollegiate athletic competition are sent to faculty/staff indicating dates of competition/travel at least 24 hours in advance. Student-athletes should inform instructors at the beginning of a course (by the first week of the semester) that they may be absent for sport-related activities and that faculty can check travel rosters. Similarly, student-athletes should inform instructors during the athletic season, as soon as possible, of an event for which they will be absent from class. An excused absence for an athletic event is limited to in-season competitions, both home and away. Practices are not covered by this policy, nor are out of season competitions or training room appointments. Medically-related reasons for missed class are listed under the “health reasons” section below and may require documentation.
Field Trips, Conferences, Performances
Field trips, conference attendance, and performances can be verified by the department requiring or sponsoring a student to participate. Other scheduled activities for students are usually verified by the office or department scheduling the activity. Students should inform instructors of pending absences as soon as they are aware of the schedule conflict.
Absences Not Related to University-Sanctioned Absences
For students treated by medical providers, instructors may require written verification, within the limits of the health care provider’s policy, from the health provider. Where possible, students should notify faculty in advance if they will miss a class because of illness, injury, or medical treatment/appointment.
Students should be made aware that they can leave a message at a department office or on an instructor’s voice mail or e-mail to explain an absence the day it occurs, if possible.
Other Extenuating Non-Academic Reasons
This category includes other valid excuses for missing class, including family illness or death, personal problems or unforeseen circumstances (e.g., automobile accident). While this policy states that instructors have the right to require written verification of students’ absences for such reasons, this is difficult to achieve in many circumstances. We offer several suggestions to cover a number of potential excuses. For court appearances, jury duty, or other legal activity, a copy of the appropriate legal document (such as a court summons) should be provided.
If an absence is attributed to the death of a person close to the student, an instructor can request a copy of the obituary or death notice, and some evidence of the student’s relationship to the deceased. (Instructors should be aware, however, that in a situation of genuine grief and loss, this request is usually perceived as quite callous, or even outrageous, though this is not the instructor’s intent.)
Many extenuating non-academic reasons for absence are not documentable, and instructors have to use their best judgment in evaluating student excuses. When students are unable to contact their faculty and instructors directly, students or family members may notify the Dean of Students Office regarding absences and the Dean of Students Office will provide notification to instructors. If instructors have concerns about a particular case and need advice on how to handle it, they may contact the Dean of Students Office.
Class Absence for Religious Observances
Students planning to be absent from classes due to religious observance must notify their instructors in writing as early in the semester as possible, but no later than one week in advance of the absence, with the exception of holidays falling during the first week of the academic year.
Official Absence Notification
The absence notification is simply that, notification that the student was absent for seemingly legitimate reason(s). It is NOT authorization for an excused absence. Only the instructor on record can make a determination regarding excused or non-excused absences as well as extended deadlines or make-up work.
For inclusion in the student handbook in the section relevant to class attendance, as well as on the university website, and as a point of emphasis in faculty training and student orientations, the following procedures outline official absence notifications not related to university-sanctioned absences.
Class attendance has always been considered an academic matter within the purview of individual faculty members. Even when official absence notifications are sent, students are encouraged and advised to communicate with instructors regarding absences, preferably before missing class, if not, as soon as possible after an absence. Communication between student and instructor is the key, and it is entirely up to the instructor regarding counting the absence as excused or not. Moreover, any extended deadlines, make-up work, etc. is at the discretion of the course instructor.
An official absence notification can be sent to instructors from the Dean of Students Office at a student’s request for documentation purposes only. The student shall provide supplemental documentation when available regarding the extenuating circumstance(s) that resulted in having to miss class.
A student may submit documentation and request that notification be sent to instructors by visiting the Dean of Students Office, 261 Felix Martinez Building, 800 University Avenue, Las Vegas, NM 87701. An official absence notification is sent via e-mail to the instructor on record that includes the student’s name, student ID number, the date(s) of absence(s), the reason for the absence, and any supporting documentation.