Hanover College Triangle on

Student Attendance Policies

September 19, 1941

While much has happened in the past sixty-six years, apparently, at this very college, the problem of students wanting to skip class is no new thing. This article describes action taken by the college administration to combat recalcitrant student absenteeism; shaped by suggestions from the student council, the policy was presented and then adopted at a faculty meeting. The cut system described was the third one used in as many years -- further evidence that absenteeism had been a problem then. The third policy was an amalgam of the previous two and was comparable to those used in other universities at the time. Another article in the same issue of the The Triangle is entitled "Scholarship-Absence Correlation Found." Together, the two articles were probably intended to scare new students and habitual absentees into going to class regularly or, at least, to encourage them to do so. The 1941 plan to cut down absences is much different from the attendance policies we have today, though the promotion of faculty-student interaction in such matters as missing class has not changed. Interesting differences between the cut system of 1941 and current attendance policies are that each abscence detracted from the grade in 1941 and that there were no excused absences, as compared with the three usually allotted today. Furthermore, absences before and after breaks, then called recess, counted as double. Apparently, students then and now enjoy extended vacations.

Also worth noting is the nature of the writing found in The Triangle itself. Repeated grammatical and spelling errors, as well as lack of groundbreaking or, frankly, interesting articles are found in this amateur publication then as now; only the spelling is even worse in this old article, probably owing to the difficulties in correcting such errors in typesetting. -Kurt Melin '10

N.B. The text below is transcribed verbatim, including the occasional typographical error.

"Cut System Seeks Class Absence Curb," Hanover College Triangle, 19 Sept. 1941, pp. 1, 4.

Each year the college administration subjects various features of our college life to a review in an effort to improve the general quality of our educational effort. This past year some dissatisfaction was experienced with the system for dealing with absences. Subsequently an improved system was worked out and presented to the faculty in it’s latest meeting. After due discussion it was adopted. The new system represents a combination of the best elements of the system in force last year and the system used prior to that. It was drawn up after lengthy discussion, during the course of which the members of the Student Council contributed their ideas.

The least workable of the provisions of last year’s system was the getting of excuses for class absences. Consequenty this provision has been eliminated in the new system. There will be no such thing as an “excused” absence. In accordance with the practice in other colleges, all absences except those authorized by the gaculty will be calculated in assessing credit hour penalties. It will no longer be necessary for students to secure excuse slips from the college nurse when they are absent from classes because of illness.

There are a number of reasons why it is desirable and important to refrain from taking deliberate absences. In the study reported elsewhere in this issue of the Triangle, a close relationship was seen to exist between grades and unexcused class absences. The fewer the unexcused absences the better the grades, and the more unexcused absences the poorer the grades.

It is trite but true none the less to say that promptness and regularity in meeting classes and appointments establishes habits of great importance in the building of a career. The individual who is lax in such matters will be handicapped unnecessarily in seeking advancement in business, the professions, and in other avenues of work.

In the past several students penalized for excessive absences have found it necessary to atend summer school and make up lost hours of credint in order to graduate with their classes and have taken the extra work during the summer after their class graduation exercises, thus missing the pleasure of getting heir degrees with their classmates.

The new rules are as follows:

It is expected that a student shall not be absent from any academic class, physical education class, laberatory exercise, private music lesson or rehersal, or appointment with a faculty.

Where absences are incurred they will be dealt with by means of the following measures:

1. Absence from a class may be penalized according to the discretion of the profesor in charge.

2. Students absenting themselves from class may be asked to explain these absences in full to their respective deans.

3. For the first fiteen absences incurred in any semester, one semester hour of credit toward graduation shall be deducted, and for each additional 15 absences or maqor fraction thereof, one semester hour shall be deducted.

4. Students penalized by losing credit are thereby dropped from college and may be readmitted only by giving to the administrative committee satisfactory evidence of their fitness in college.

5. In case of prolonged illness, registration for the semester may be proportionally reduced without further penalty.

6. Absences from laboratories, physical education classes, private music lessons, rehersals, and appointments with faculty members shall count the same as absences from lectures or other class exercises

7. A student absent from the last recitations before a recess, or the first recitations after a recess ni any courses for which he is registered shall receive double absence entries for each class exercise shall receive double absence entries for each class exercise missed.

8. Absences incurred for group or class activities by faculty permission will occasion no penalities by the professor in charge.

The system for dealing with Chapel absences is not affected by the above regulations and will remain the same.

The new regulations must not be construed to mean that the only penalty for absences will be loss of the credit hours toward graduation. If deemed advisable, a student who takes unauthorized absences will be asked by his profesors to take extra examinations or do extra work; he will be asked to explain his absences in full to his dean; letters will be written to his parents or guardians. In event of persistent unauthorized absences more drastic measures will be taken such as directing the student to drop a course. He may even be suspended from school.

Whenever a student is absent from a class, it is his responsibility to explain the absence to his professor. This explanation should cover both authorized and unauthorized absences and should be given before the absence is taken if at all possible. It is not the responsibility of the teacher to seek out the absentee and get an explanation from him of his absence.

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