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Class Attendance General Policies and Policies for Athletics & Other Extracurricular Activities

From Faculty Handbook, 2005 Edition

“At the heart of Gettysburg College,” insists the College’s Statement of Purpose “is the academic program.”  Commitments to the academic program take priority over other College activities. But, the College also offers students the opportunity to participate in extracurricular activities because it believes that these activities can make important contributions to their education as whole persons. The following statement describes the appropriate relationship between academic and extracurricular activities.

Gettysburg College’s Policy on Class Attendance

The College recognizes that regular attendance at all classes is an essential part of its academic purpose and clearly is the responsibility of the individual student. Each student is accountable for all work missed because of absences from class, and instructors are under no obligation to make special arrangements for students who are absent from classes. Instructors must explain their individual or departmental attendance policy during the first class meeting and/or in their course outlines.

Instructors may contact a student who has accumulated excessive absences directly to remind the student of her/his obligation concerning class attendance and of the consequence of continued absence from class and may notify the Office of Academic Advising that such a warning has been given. If a student incurs further absences after being warned and exceeds the limit set by the instructor’s policy or the departmental policy, she/he may be required to withdraw from the course with a failing grade.

Class absences will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis by the instructor of the course. If a student will miss class for any reason (for example, religious observances, college trips, family emergencies, or illness), the student must discuss this absence with her/his instructor in advance whenever possible. The student will be ultimately responsible for making up any missed work as a result of a class absence.

[Approved by the Faculty, December 3, 1992 and revised by the Faculty on May 1, 1997]

Practice and Activities Times

The period from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Monday through Friday has traditionally been set aside for athletic practices and other extra-curricular activities. It is intended that activities such as band, choir, theatre productions, community service activities, and athletic practices will ordinarily take place during this time without conflict with scheduled classes or with other academic obligations, including make-up tests.

It is a violation of NCAA regulations for a coach to require an athlete to attend a practice that conflicts with a class. Therefore, no student will be expected to miss a class or leave class early in order to be at practice.

Sometimes, especially early in the second semester, indoor athletic practices must be scheduled. Because the College lacks sufficient space for all teams to practice indoors between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., practices will occasionally meet at other times. No practice scheduled at a time other than 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. can be made mandatory for athletes. If such a practice conflicts with an assigned academic activity, the academic activity must take precedence. Apart from the condition just specified, no formal or informal team practices, training sessions, etc. should be scheduled at times other than 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

It is especially important that faculty let students know if testing; review sessions, extra classes, etc. will be scheduled in the 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. period. Faculty members should make every effort to avoid the situation where the only opportunity for a student to make up a test or complete some other required activity occurs between 4:00 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

An administrator from the College Life Division shall act as a liaison between students, faculty, coaches, and advisors of extra-curricular organizations should complaints or misunderstandings arise concerning the implementation of this policy. It will be the responsibility of coaches and advisors of extra-curricular activities to be sure that all students involved in athletics and these activities are aware of this person and his or her function.

Absences Due to Athletic Contests or Other Extracurricular Activities

As noted in the College’s Policy on Class Attendance, it is the student’s responsibility to request permission from faculty members to miss class because of a scheduled event and to make arrangements with the faculty members to make up any work missed because of an athletic contest or other extracurricular activity. If the level of anticipated absences is so high that the student may have problems in reasonably meeting the requirements of the course for class attendance and other matters, the student has the responsibility of determining whether or not it is possible for him or her to continue to participate in that extracurricular activity. If it is not possible to continue to participate in the extracurricular activity and still meet the requirements of the class, the student must decide whether to withdraw from the activity or, in certain circumstances, to postpone the class to a later semester.

If, for any reason, (including injury or disciplinary sanction by a coach), a student will not be playing in an away game and this is known before the team leaves for the game, a student should be so informed and not be required to travel with the team. Coaches will encourage students who will not be playing in a contest (where the trip to the contest requires them to miss a class) to attend class rather than miss the class.

Advance Notice of Absence

Students should notify their professors when they know in advance that they will be absent from class. At Gettysburg College it is the students’ obligation to let the professors know in advance, if possible, when they are going to be absent. Students should talk to the professors in person if at all possible. If not, a telephone call to the professor is recommended. If students cannot talk to the professors in person or over the telephone, they can send a note through campus mail or an e-mail message. There is no such thing as an “officially excused” absence from a class at Gettysburg. Whenever students are absent, they need to notify the professors why they are absent and to work out the details of making up any missed work.

Professors will want to know at least the following information. Students should be prepared to provide it orally or include it in any written message:

  • The dates of anticipated absences.
  • The reason or reasons for absence. If it is a medical matter, students can simply say for a doctor’s appointment, tests, etc. They don’t have to tell the details of the illness.
  • Students should make it clear that they understand that they are responsible to make up any missed work.
  • Students should ask the professor to let them know if they have any questions about the absence(s) or any instructions to give about making up the missed work.
  • Students should include in any written or e-mail message their campus box number, telephone number, and e-mail address.

Academic Advising occasionally notifies faculty of certain categories of student absences if they are asked to do so by the Health and Counseling Services, parents, or students themselves. Such notification normally is limited to absences where the student is unable to notify the faculty directly. The Health Center does not write notes for students but will contact Academic Advising about student visits or certain diagnoses at a student’s request. These notifications are not to be construed as “official excuses” sanctioned by Academic Advising; individual faculty are far better suited to assess the veracity of students’ explanations for absence than is the Academic Advising office. Academic Advising does not notify faculty of sports or college related absences.

See also the policy covering “Athletics and Other Extracurricular Events.”