Column: Mandatory attendance unecessary

As classes start back up and the spring semester begins, so too does the semiannual tradition of syllabus week. We’ve all experienced it at least once: the first week of class where students acclimate to the material, classroom and teacher prior to actually beginning to learn the subject matter.

And with the arrival of syllabus week comes the never-ending debate of whether or not it is truly necessary to attend class the first day. More than likely, teachers have little in store outside a short overview of the syllabus and a rallying pep talk spoken in hopes of motivating students throughout the semester.

But I question whether the aforementioned debate goes far enough. Should there even be a mandatory university-wide attendance policy?

Each class is different, and some offer guest speakers, field trips and in-class experiences necessary to ensure augmented learning. However, if you can receive the highest letter grade, therefore proving (by the university’s standards) that you have a mastery of the subject matter without having to actually attend most lectures, then why should you be forced to attend? Couldn’t you spend the extra time learning a new subject?

As for myself, I would probably still attend class every day to ensure I obtain a good grade, but we shouldn’t be forced to attend a class which we can easily master without the aid of classroom instruction.


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