Riverhead and Ammerman campus students surveyed are frustrated with the College’s strict attendance policy. The attendance policy has been in place since the school started in 1959, however; many students can’t help but ask, why?
“Yes, it is a given that there would probably be a lot of students who would never show up but what most of us are asking for is not to have a no maximum absence policy. We’re just asking for maybe a higher maximum like five allowed instead of three. I went to Dowling in my first semester and we were allowed seven absences. That maximum is a lot more reasonable,” said Marissa Hellermann, a nutrition major at the Riverhead campus.
An ongoing anger is felt by students who discussed this policy because they often feel it is unfair. Because they are paying for the classes they are enrolled in, they said they think it is an unreasonable policy. Though students are often in conflict with the rule, teachers insist the policy is smart and something that must be kept.
“It is important for a strict absence policy at this school because I think students believe they don’t have to take this college as serious as others since it’s a community college and not a university, or that they don’t have to do as much work. But that’s not the case here. This school is just like any other college and we intend to keep it that way,” said Christopher Schmidt, a professor in the science department at the Ammerman campus.
According to the SCC student handbook, the current absence policy is that a student is allowed three absences before a professor can withdraw them from the course they are enrolled in. Some teachers interviewed said they are instructed to take attendance every class and report to the registrar’s office with the attendance sheets so they can keep track of a student’s absences. Other professors have stated attendance is determined by individual professors.
According to a survey taken of 10 professors, 7 out of the 10 agree that the absence policy is not overly strict and that it is a good idea.
“If students had lenience, I don’t think they would show up. They would take advantage of it,” stated Chris Cosenza, a physical education professor and tennis coach at the Ammerman campus.
Professor Edward DeLia, an adjunct professor at the Ammerman campus made an interesting point as well, by saying, “Students shouldn’t be allowed to miss class more than three times. If they’re not interesting in coming to class as much, then why do they bother coming at all? They’re supposed to be here to learn, not be absent.”
But students say that isn’t the case.
“I think the max absences allowed should depend on the course you’re enrolled in. Some classes I have taken we don’t even take notes or anything. We’re just assigned reading and papers; it’s more like a workshop. If you want you could just do all the work at home and then hand it in on the due dates. So why should it matter if I’m present in the class more than three times? I obviously wouldn’t have been missing anything if I missed one or two more classes than allowed. I would have just made up the work at home later on anyway,” said a former student, Michael Finnerty, stated something similar.