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article 1—student rights and responsibilities

Part 5. Class Attendance

§ 1‑501 All Students

(a) Regular class attendance is expected of all students at the University. The authority to excuse absences rests with the course instructors, subject to the requirement to reasonably accommodate class absences as set forth in this part (Article I, Part 5).

(b) Instructors are strongly encouraged to make a course syllabus available to all students prior to the deadline for an undergraduate student to add a course (see the Office of the Registrar Academic Calendars (http://registrar.illinois.edu/academic-calendars) for the current term for the specific date). A syllabus should include the instructor’s course attendance policy, the due dates of all major assignments, quizzes, and examinations. The student is encouraged to inform the instructor of any known conflict as soon as possible, but no later than one week before the date of the quiz or examination or due date of the assignment. (Note that conflict policies stated in the syllabus take priority over this rule.) Students should notify the instructor in advance of missing any class or as soon as possible thereafter. If a student is unable to contact instructors due to hospitalization or other emergency, the student may contact the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students during business hours to request that email notification be sent.

(c) Students whose absences meet the criteria below may contact the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students to request an absence letter, if it is required by an instructor. Absence letters, however, do not excuse students from class or ensure that make-up work will be permitted. This authority rests with each instructor. These letters are intended to provide information to the instructors who require them and can be used to help the instructor determine whether or not to excuse the absence and allow make-up work. Except for absences related to religious beliefs/observances/practices, which are addressed in § 1‑501(c)(4) below, students should request absence letters as soon as possible after the student’s return from the absence, but no later than 10 business days after the student’s return to class. The Student Assistance Center will not provide letters requested outside of this timeframe.

An absence letter may be requested for documented absences resulting from:  

(1) Prolonged illness or injury of student of 3 days or more. The illness must be formally documented by a health care provider who has provided the student treatment and must be on the provider’s letterhead. Students with chronic health conditions and/or disabilities that may affect their class attendance should register with Disability Resources and Educational Services (DRES) if the students are not veterans or the Center for Wounded Veterans in Higher Education (CWVHE) if the students are veterans of the U.S. armed forces, in accordance with § 1-110.
(2) Life threatening or serious illness or injury of an immediate family member including parents, legal guardian, spouse/partner, siblings, children, or grandparents. Relatives in law and step relatives in categories above are also included. The condition of the family member must be formally documented by the treating health care provider and must be on the provider’s letterhead.
(3) Death of a family member (See Student Bereavement Guidelines http://odos.illinois.edu/community-of-care/resources/students/bereavement/).
(4) A student’s religious beliefs, observances, and practices. University policy and state law require that all instructors reasonably accommodate conflicts with class attendance and work requirements resulting from a student’s religious beliefs, observances, and practices. (See § 1‑107.)  Students seeking an excused absence for religious reasons should complete the Request for Accommodation for Religious Observances Form, which can be found on the Office of the Dean of Students website. The student should submit this form to the instructor and the Office of the Dean of Students by the end of the second week of the course to which it applies.
(5) A student serving as a volunteer emergency worker, as defined in the Volunteer Emergency Worker Job Protection Act. University policy and state law require that all instructors reasonably accommodate conflicts with class attendance and work requirements resulting from a student’s serving as an volunteer emergency worker.
(6) Significant and compelling circumstances beyond a student’s control. This may include medical treatment or surgery related to a prolonged illness or injury; pregnancy; legal matters; citizenship or naturalization processes; or acts of nature which cause destruction to the student’s primary residence or which disrupt air travel such that a student is unable to return to campus as planned. These circumstances must be documented. Absence letters will not be approved for classes missed: (i) to attend family events such as weddings, graduations, or reunions; (ii) to be present for circumstances related to extended family members including illness; (iii) to attend job or graduate school interviews; or (iv) for other reasons which do not satisfy the standard of significant and compelling, as determined by the Student Assistance Center.

(d) University policy and state law require instructors to reasonably accommodate students whose class absences result from religious beliefs, observances, and practices or from serving as a volunteer emergency worker under the Volunteer Emergency Worker Job Protection Act.

(e) Instructors must also reasonably accommodate students whose class absence resulted from formal participation in scheduled activities of officially recognized groups such as athletic teams, performing groups, and the Urbana-Champaign Senate. Policy governing class attendance of student athletes, as adopted by the Senate, is found in § 1‑502.

(f) Instructors shall hold all students who miss class for the reasons set forth in § 1‑501(d) and § 1‑501(e) to the same standard. Accommodating absences for some groups but not others amounts to invidious discrimination and is against University policy. (See § 1‑108.)

(g) For an absence to be excused and make up work to be accepted, the student must provide an explanation to the instructor and supply supporting evidence as required by the instructor, which may include an absence letter, when the absence meets the criteria outlined above. The student must make arrangements with the instructor to make up missed work expeditiously. (See § 3‑201 for information about absence from final examinations and § 3‑202 for information about absence from evening, midterm, and hourly examinations.) Any student may appeal in writing an instructor’s decision regarding an absence to the executive officer of the academic unit offering the course. Before taking action, the executive officer should request that the instructor explain his or her denial in writing.

(h) The instructor decides when a student’s attendance becomes irregular. In this case, the instructor may send oral, written, or electronic notice of the student’s irregular attendance to the dean of the student’s college. The dean shall then notify the student in writing, with a copy to the instructor. The notification may be in the following form:
____________________ has notified this office that your attendance in
 ____________________ has become irregular. Please contact the instructor immediately. The instructor may refuse to grade, return, or record any assignment, quiz, or examination until you have met with the instructor to discuss your attendance problem.

(i) If, after receiving a notice described in subsection (h) above, a student’s attendance continues to be irregular, the instructor may report this fact to the student’s college dean. The dean of the student’s college, in consultation with the instructor, may determine that the student’s attendance has become so irregular that the student’s scholarship is likely to be severely impaired. The dean may require the student to withdraw from the course with a grade of Withdrawal or Failure. (See § 3‑312.)

(j) General Provisions
(1) A student may notify the Student Assistance Center in the Office of the Dean of Students if the student will be unavoidably absent from class because of illness, death in the family, or other emergency. The Student Assistance Center will pass this information along to instructors and the student’s college as is appropriate. This communication is meant for information and does not certify the validity of the student’s reason for absence.
(2) Class absences before and after vacations are treated like any other absences during the semester.
(3) Regularly scheduled classroom or laboratory work shall have precedence over instructional field trips except on the second Saturday of each month.
(4) Because McKinley Health Center does not provide medical excuses, instructors should be aware that a student may not be able to provide formal documentation for minor illnesses of less than 3 days.