Staff Editorial: Exused absences

We, at The Lawrentian, are pleased to see that the Lawrence University Administration has recently revised their policies regarding excused class absences in cases of illness. Now, for absences of up to two consecutive days, students are responsible for contacting their Professors directly to explain their sickness, or health-related reason for missing class. It is up to the individual professor to set and enforce their own excused absence policy. These policy changes have obviously been made with students’ academic needs and personal health in mind.

In past years, students wishing to procure excused absences due to illness had to visit either the nurse or the doctor in the Health Center. Only students with notes from the Health Center would be officially “excused” from class for health-related reasons. This was a time-consuming process that had to be done quite early in the morning, and was a general inconvenience to students that were already sick.

This new policy will take a significant burden off ailing students who are likely already stressed about missing lectures, turning in homework, and above all, recovering quickly. It will also be more accommodating for students with chronic illnesses by relieving them of visiting the Health Center frequently when they could be taking care of themselves or catching up on schoolwork.

We view this new policy as a stellar example of how the Honor Code, which directly fosters honest academic behavior, can carry over into other aspects of our lives as members of the larger Lawrence community. By giving us the responsibility to honestly report our illnesses, this policy has the potential to strengthen our already existing environment of trust.

In reality, there will probably be students who will take advantage of the leniency of this policy, but we strongly believe that this policy will benefit the overwhelming majority of trustworthy Lawrentians. We implore our peers to understand that the flexibility of this policy should not warrant an abuse of the system.

As this is a topic we have addressed in previous Staff Editorials, most recently in the January 27th issue of this year, we are encouraged to see that University Administrators are taking student needs and criticism into account.