University policy recognizes that there are a variety of legitimate circumstances in which students will miss coursework, and that accommodations for makeup work will be made. This policy applies to all course requirements, including any final examination. Students are responsible for planning their schedules to avoid excessive conflicts with course requirements.
- Instructors may not penalize students for absence during the academic term due to the following unavoidable or legitimate circumstances:
- illness, physical or mental, of the student or a student’s dependent;
- medical conditions related to pregnancy;
- participation in intercollegiate athletic events;
- jury duty;
- military service;
- bereavement, including travel related to bereavement;
- religious observances;
- participation in formal University system governance, including the University Senate, Student Senate, and Board of Regents meetings, by students selected as representatives to those bodies;
- taking college entrance exams (PSAT, ACT, SAT) for Post-Secondary Enrollment Option (PSEO) students that are provided at their high school; and
- activities sponsored by the University if identified by the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer’s designee as the basis for excused absences.
- Voting in a regional, state, or national election is not an unavoidable or legitimate absence.
- Instructors are expected to accommodate students who wish to participate in party caucuses, pursuant to Board of Regents resolution (see December 2005 Board of Regents Minutes, p 147.)
- For circumstances not listed in (1), the instructor has primary responsibility to decide on a case-by-case basis if an absence is due to unavoidable or legitimate circumstances and grant a request for makeup work.
Notification, Verification of Absences, and Make-up Work
- Students must notify their instructors of circumstances identified in (1) or other circumstances leading to a request for makeup work as soon as possible and provide information to explain the absence. Some situations will be sufficiently urgent that arrangements for makeup work cannot be made prior to the date of an absence. In such cases, arrangements should be made as soon as possible following the student’s return.
- The instructor has the right to request, and the student must provide if requested, verification for absences, with the exception of a single episode medical absence that does not require medical services.
- The instructor has the right to request verification for a single episode medical absence if (i) the student has had more than one single episode medical absence in the class, or (ii) the single episode medical absence involves missing laboratory sessions,exams or important graded in-class assignments.
- The instructor may not penalize the student and must provide reasonable and timely accommodation or opportunity to make up missed work, including exams or other course requirements that have an impact on the course grade if the student:
- Was absent due to circumstances identified in (1);
- Has complied with the notification requirements; and
- Has provided verification if the instructor has requested further information.
- Colleges and academic units may establish more specific criteria for notifying instructors and completing the associated make-up work, especially when the absence involves activities that may not be possible to make up, such as laboratory or clinical sessions and performances.
- Instructors are not obligated to accommodate a student who has missed so much of the critical components of a course, even for legitimate reasons, that arrangements for makeup work would not be reasonable.
Instructors should take all factors into consideration when determining whether to grant an excused absence and how to make arrangements for makeup work that has an impact on the course grade. If a student has missed a component of the course that cannot be made up in exactly the same manner, the instructor may substitute another activity or assignment in order to assess the missed components. If no substitution can be devised, the missing component(s) cannot be factored into determining that student's final grade for the course.
If a student believes the student has been wrongly denied the opportunity to make up work due to disagreement with the instructor about the legitimacy or unavoidability of an absence, the student should pursue the student's complaint using the usual process for appeals of student grievances. Chairs and deans who have questions about what constitutes an excusable bereavement absence, religious observance, or eligible dependent illness should consult with the senior academic officer for the campus for resolution of the disagreement.
In accordance with the Administrative Policy: Addressing Student Academic Complaints, final authority rests with the senior academic officer for the campus.
For health or safety of a campus, the senior academic officer for the campus or the officer’s designee may waive the requirement that students provide verification from a health care provider for illness.
This policy does not apply to the Duluth campus.
Reason for Policy
The University aims to foster an atmosphere of honesty and trust between instructors and their students. It is in both the University's and the student's interest to outline academic protections for students when they miss class for legitimate reasons. This policy places parameters around what is a legitimate absence, and reinforces the responsibilities of the instructor and the student.