Student Absence for Organized Activities

[Faculty Handbook Category #2]

The core of the St. Olaf experience is academics. At the same time, students’ education is vitally enhanced by the wide range of activities that they pursue outside the classroom, and the opportunity to pursue these activities is an essential part of student life. In some cases, it is unavoidable that such activities will interfere with students’ ability to attend class. Such interference is to be handled according to the following guidelines:

(1) Instructors should make their expectations and policies regarding absences clear at the outset of the term. Students must likewise communicate with instructors regarding anticipated absences that result from non-academic activities. These should be noted at the outset of the term whenever scheduling information is available and, in general, should be noted at least two weeks in advance.

(2) Students participating in officially sanctioned music organizations and varsity sports should not be penalized for absences required by these activities, provided that students discuss absences in advance as specified in (1). When such absences entail missing activities that are burdensome to reschedule (quizzes, labs, etc.), instructors should make reasonable efforts to offer a workaround but are not obligated or expected to take measures that place additional burdens on them. In exceptional cases no reasonable solution may be available, and in those cases instructors have discretion to advise students that participation in the course is not appropriate. This determination should be made at the outset of the term as a consequence of student-initiated discussion specified in (1).

(3) Students participating in other organizations should discuss anticipated absences as described in (1). It is at instructors’ individual discretion to determine how such absences will be handled.

(4) All activities should be scheduled so as to minimize, within all reasonable practical constraints, interference with the academic schedule.

(5) Directors of organized activities involving student absence from campus for periods longer than two days shall notify the instructors of participating students.