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ASCSU, Student Case Management to submit University-wide excused absence policy

Colorado State University has no policy for excused absences for illness, injury, hospitalization, or personal or family emergencies, according to Jennifer Van Norman, CSU Director of Student Case Management.

“Each instructor is responsible for their own attendance policy and there is no University-wide policy that allows for student absences for extenuating circumstances,” Van Norman said. 

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According to Van Norman, it would not be difficult to enact a University-wide policy that does allow for extenuating circumstances because the majority of instructors are willing to accommodate students in those situations.

CSU’s current policy on excused absences only applies to University-sanctioned events, such as athletic contests.  The policy on class attendance regulation reads: “Instructors and departments are responsible for establishing attendance policies for classes and examinations. These policies must accommodate student participation in University-sanctioned extracurricular/co-curricular activities … University-sanctioned activities include competitions, events and professional meetings in which students are officially representing the institution.”

Van Norman has been working with the Associated Students of Colorado State University to create a policy that allows for excused absences in other situations.

Van Norman met with Sen. Samuel Laffey, ASCSU Director of Health Mackenzie Whitesell, and ASCSU Deputy Chief of Staff Lauren Wester about putting together a proposal to submit to the faculty council to change the current policy to allow for extenuating circumstances.

“We’re continuing to work on the student sick day policy,” Wester said. “Hopefully our research and our plan will be put into action before the end of the semester.”

However, not everyone is concerned about the lack of a University-wide policy for excused absences for extenuating circumstances.

“I think with a university as large as CSU, it’s OK not to have a University-wide policy,” sophomore Mary Holmes said.  “It truly does depend on the professor.  School is work, and our professors are our bosses.  If something comes up, you talk to your boss, not the CEO.”

Holmes mentioned that it would be difficult to regulate a school-wide policy, especially because there is a lot of gray area when it comes to determining what an emergency is and what kinds of sickness should be covered.

According to Van Norman, she was approached by ASCSU about the excused absence policy after she spoke to Senate in October.  She explained that one of the services provided by Student Case Management is to work with teachers when students have extenuating circumstances and have to miss class, which sparked questions from ASCSU.

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“I have been very supportive of ASCSU submitting a proposal for ‘excused absences’ to the Faculty Council,” Van Norman said.  “I will continue to support their efforts and offer input when it is solicited.”

Collegian ASCSU Beat Reporter Jonathan Matheny can be reached online at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @jonathanmathen2

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