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Excused Absences

What types of absences are considered to be "excused absences"?

5.2.5.2 Excused Absences

A student shall not be penalized for an excused absence.


5.2.5.2.1 Acceptable excuses

The following are defined as excused absences:

1. Significant illness of the student or serious illness of a member of the student's household (permanent or campus) or immediate family. The Instructor of Record shall have the right to request appropriate verification.*

* The term “significant illness” includes mental as well as physical illness. The standard of verification for “significant illness” that an instructor requires shall be equally stringent for physical and mental illness. For example, if a note from University Health Services that the illness of the student is “significant” is considered to be acceptable verification, then a note from the Counseling and Testing Center or the VIP Center that the illness of the student is “significant” shall likewise be considered to be acceptable verification. [SREC 9/9/20]

2. The death of a member of the student's household (permanent or campus) or immediate family. The Instructor of Record shall have the right to request appropriate verification. For the purpose of this rule, immediate family is defined as spouse or child or parent (guardian) or sibling (all of the previous include steps, halves and in-laws of the same relationship); and grandchild or grandparent.

3. Trips for members of student organizations sponsored by an educational unit, trips for University classes, and trips for participation in intercollegiate athletic events, including club sports registered with the university as well as varsity sports. When feasible, the student must notify the Instructor of Record prior to the occurrence of such absences, but in no case shall such notification occur more than one week after the absence. Instructors of Record may request formal notification from appropriate university personnel to document the student's participation in such trips.

4. Major Religious Holidays. Students are responsible for notifying the Instructor of Record in writing of anticipated absences due to their observance of such holidays. Faculty shall give students the opportunity to make up work (typically, exams or assignments) when students notify them that religious observances prevent the students from doing their work at its scheduled time. Faculty should indicate in their syllabus how much advance notice they require from a student requesting an accommodation. Faculty shall use their judgment as to whether the observance in question is important enough to warrant an accommodation, although the presumption should be in favor of a student’s request. The Offices of Institutional Diversity, the Dean of Students, and the Ombud are available for consultation. [US: 2/14/11]

5. Interviews for full-time job opportunities after graduation and interviews for graduate or professional school. The student must notify the Instructor of Record prior to the occurrence of such absences. Instructors of Record have the right to request appropriate verification. [US:3/20/2017]

* “Appropriate verification” may include evidence that the student had little or no control over the date and time of the interview and that the student is not able to reschedule the interview to a nonconflicting time reasonably close to the originally scheduled time. [SREC: 4/1/2017]

* Programs with learning activities mandated by accreditation or licensure agencies may establish, as a matter of policy, educational consequences for students who have so many excused absences that they cannot complete the mandated learning activities. Pursuant to SR 6.1.1, the published program policies and individual course syllabi must describe these consequences, which may include the student being moved to a different graduation cohort. [SREC: 2/5/2020]

6. Any other circumstances which the Instructor of Record finds reasonable cause for absence. [US: 4/23/90]


5.2.5.2.2 Making up graded work

Except where prior notification is required in SR 5.2.5.2.3.1, students missing any graded work due to an excused absence bear the responsibility of informing the Instructor of Record about their excused absence within one week following the period of the excused absence, and of making up the missed work. The Instructor of Record shall give the student an opportunity to make up the work and/or the exams missed due to an excused absence, and shall do so, if feasible, during the semester in which the absence occurred. [US: 11/10/85 and SREC: 11/20/87; 8/9/2019]

* The instructor shall provide the student with an opportunity to make up the graded work (e.g., quiz, exam, homework, etc.) and may not simply calculate the student's grade on the basis of the other course requirements, unless the student agrees in writing. [SREC: 8/20/1987; US: 2/8/2016]

For students who add a class after the first day of classes and miss graded work, the instructor shall provide the student with an opportunity to make up the graded work (quiz, exam, homework, etc.). The instructor may not simply calculate the student's grade on the basis of the other course requirements, unless the student agrees in writing. [US: 4/13/2020]


5.2.5.2.3 Effect of absences on graded interactions with other students

If the course syllabus does not require students to interact with other students, an instructor, or an instructor’s proxy, and if such interactions are not a criterion for a grade in the course, then the Instructor of Record shall not take any account of a student’s excused or unexcused absence from such interactions when assigning a grade. [US: 2/8/2016; 2/12/2018]

If the course syllabus requires students to interact with other students, an instructor, or an instructor’s proxy or if such required interactions are a criterion for a grade in the course, the following rules apply:


5.2.5.2.3.1 Excused absences from required interactions

If a student has excused absences for the dates and times associated with more than one-fifth of the required interactions for a course, the student shall have the right to receive a "W", or the Instructor of Record may award an “I” for the course if the student declines to receive a “W” [US: 2/9/1987; SREC: 11/20/1987; US: 2/8/2016; 2/12/2018].

* “Required interactions” (SR 5.1.7.3, SR 5.2.5.2, and SR 9.1) are interactions that, if not completed at or by their specified date and time, would penalize a student in a course. Interactions may include, but are not limited to, student engagement with other students (e.g., participating in an in-class or online discussion), engagement with the instructor (e.g., attending class), or engagement with an instructor’s proxy (e.g., attending a guest lecture or uploading a file to the course management system) [US: 2/12/2018].


5.2.5.2.3.2 Excused absences for military duties

If a student is required to be absent for one-fifth or less of the required course interactions (e.g., class meetings) due to military duties, the following procedure shall apply:

1. Once a student is aware of a call to duty, the student shall provide a copy of the military orders to the Director of the Veterans Resource Center. The student shall also provide the Director with a list of his/her courses and instructors.

2. The Director will verify the orders with the appropriate military authority, and on behalf of the military student, notify each Instructor of Record via Department Letterhead as to the known extent of the absence.

3. The Instructor of Record shall not penalize the student’s absence in any way and shall provide accommodations and timeframes so that the student can make up missed assignments, quizzes, and tests in a mutually agreed upon manner.


5.2.5.2.3.3 Unexcused absences

The Instructor of Record shall define any course policy relating to unexcused absences in the course syllabus. If a policy is not stated in the course syllabus or the policy does not allow for a penalty to the student, the Instructor of Record shall not penalize the student for any unexcused absences. [US: 2/8/2016]

* With respect to nonattendance for reason of an employment-related schedule conflict, the student who is a UK employee has exactly the same standing as a student who is working for some other employer. [SREC: 9/17/2012]