Faculty Senate debates value of possible absence policy

Andres De Leon

The Sacramento State Faculty Senate resumed its discussion on the student excuse absence policy after the topic was held off the week before spring break.

This policy that would affect all Sac State students still remains under review before receiving approval.

“The issue is, does this give the student a right of appeal when they encounter somebody who is unreasonable,” said Anthony Sheppard, professor for the department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism.

The theme discussion over the two-hour meeting was to target what the policy entails and what it means for students.

“Faculty members need to be reasonable in providing accommodations to students who have to miss activities for things like jury duty or religious holidays that we’re already required provide them accommodation for,” said Matt Schmidtlein, geography professor. “There are faculty members on this campus who refuse to do so, who refuse to let students take a make up exam for any reason whatsoever and that is expressed in their syllabus, and as a result there is nothing the students can do.”

Some faculty members do not give students a reasonable opportunity to make up assignments or exams for missing class even with a legitimate excuse. The policy being discussed and amended by the senate addresses such situations and talks about providing students another avenue for resolving those issues.

“Students have to be provided the opportunity to do makeup for some percentage of the class if they receive an excused absence for one of these defined reasons,” Schmidtlein said.

The policy would allow students to request permission to miss class for a legitimate reason.

“But it is to be decided at the discretion of the instructor at the course time,” said Katherine Pinch, professor for the department of Recreation, Parks & Tourism.

Next week, the debate for the policy will continue, but time will also be allotted to discuss a new program by the Hornet Bookstore.

The manager for the Hornet Bookstore, Jim Ontiveros, presented to the senate a new way for students to get ahold of their books more efficiently and quickly.

The program would make it so students purchase their books when registering for courses and having the cost of the book getting added to the student’s university fees.

Ontiveros said the bookstore would have to determine what the cost would be for that course, and that is included when you register for the classes as an automatic fee.

“The benefit of that when we determine what certain courses that would be included in this program, we can negotiate with publishers to get a better price,” said Ontiveros. “For students, it’s an equal access to material, so all your students will have all their materials on that first day.”

One concern spoken out by faculty was how this program would tie into students deciding to drop courses. Ontiveros answered the concern by saying that students will have the opportunity to return the books up until the university’s deadline day to add or drop classes.