Explained Absence Policy

Individual faculty members determine the attendance policy for their classes and should have them clearly stated in their syllabi.  However, there are some circumstances that warrant special consideration to determine whether accommodation is possible.  These cases are referred to as explained absences.    There are two types of explained absences:

A)  Absences due to co-curricular activities and out-of-classroom curricular activities.  A co-curricular or out-of-classroom curricular activity is when a student is representing Heidelberg University in a sanctioned event.  University sanctioned events are those that are approved by the Provost as contributing to the overall erudition of the student as well as for the benefit of the institution.  Examples include, but are not limited to, an athletic contest, a fine arts performance, or an academic field trip.  Missing a regularly scheduled class for practice or other non-sanctioned events is not an explained absence.

B)  Verified moral obligations or physical conflicts.  There are many instances when a student has moral obligations that preclude their attendance of a class session.  Examples include, but are not limited to, taking a sick child to the doctor or reporting for duty as required for the military reserve.  Also, students may be unable to attend class due to serious illness or medical necessity, or death in the family.  In these cases, undergraduate students will present evidence in a reasonable time frame to the Dean of Student Affairs who will verify the evidence of the moral obligation or physical conflict, and then contact the professors of the student’s classes.  Graduate students will present evidence to their instructor or director, if necessary.

It is important to note that an explanation of absence does not imply that the student is excused from the obligations of a course or the class work missed.  It is the individual student’s responsibility to consult with his/her instructor as to the effect of explained absences.  Professors are expected to do their best to accommodate explained absences.  This accommodation should in no way sacrifice academic rigor, and the University recognizes that there are cases for which there is no satisfactory make-up possible. 

If prior to the end of the academic term, a student and instructor are in disagreement over accommodations for an explained absence, the student may seek mediation through the Department Chair or Director. Chairs or Directors may request additional mediation through the Academic Policy Committee. 

To minimize potential problems, it is advised that the following protocol be observed for scheduled absences due to co-curricular activities and out-of-classroom curricular activities.

1)  Instructors, coaches, and advisors must provide a list of known events that may conflict with the academic day to students during the first week of each term. Documentation should include the dates and times of the event, and should instruct students to contact each of their professors to identify any potential conflicts.

2)  Whenever possible, students should identify conflicts with their scheduled classes and notify professors the first week of class.

3)  Professors should identify work that will be missed based on these conflicts and make a sincere attempt to find a solution.

4)  Whenever possible, professors should present the student with a clear decision on the accommodations for missed work by the last day to add classes.

Some co-curricular events (notably winter or spring activities and national events, e.g., NCAA tournaments) may not be scheduled prior to the first week of classes.  It remains the student’s responsibility to approach his/her instructor with appropriate documentation as soon as the schedule is set to make arrangements regarding missed work.  Again, intructors are expected to make a sincere attempt to accommodate for these absences and communicate their decisions in a timely manner.

Similarly, coaches/advisors are expected to accommodate for students’ academic endeavors and may not deliberately punish a student for missing a co-curricular event to attend a class or course-required learning opportunity. If the student and the coach/advisor are in disagreement over accommodations for schedule conflicts, the student may seek mediation through the Dean of Student affairs or his/her designee.