Military drills + attendance policy review = happier students

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Sometimes, there aren’t any choices in life. For all the State University of New York students with mandatory military drills and training their obligations to their country come before classroom attendance policies. But SUNY’s University Faculty Senate is looking to help them.

A UFS resolution calls on the SUNY chancellor and Board of Trustees to adopt a policy that takes into account all absences from class during military exercises as excused absences. What that means is that time away from class will not count against students who are attending formal drills or training exercises. Sometimes such absences are counted as unexcused absences and can negatively affect a class grade.

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If, however, too much time is missed to effectively and efficiently make up any missed course work then the resolution calls for the students to at least be allowed to withdraw from the class without penalty and that it would also not affect any financial aid.

“As we approach Veterans Day we feel it’s important to show our students in the military that we support them in the classroom and in life,” said UFS President Gwen Kay. “The SUNY Student Assembly and our own UFS Student Life Committee overwhelming support the idea. Helping our students in the military is the right thing to do.”

Academic freedom allows professors to set their course schedules, which means that setting guidelines on how many classes can be missed is standard on many syllabi. Military students will be held to the same policies on grading and course work, but letting them take excused absences during training and drills gives them the chance to get a degree while also serving their country. The students will still be held to the same rigor and expectations on course work and deadlines as all other students in their classes.

The above was provided by the University Faculty Senate, a deliberative body that serves as a resource on educational policies. It is comprised of representatives from each of the 64 campuses.

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