CLAS Absence Policy and Resources for Students

To: Departmental Executive Officers
From: Helena Dettmer, Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum and the Humanities
RE: CLAS Absence Policy and Resources for Students

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CLAS Absence Policy

CLAS and UI policies mandate that students be allowed to make up exams missed because of sickness or unavoidable circumstances beyond the student's control. Likewise, a student must be allowed to make up an exam because of mandatory religious obligations or because of official UI activities.

Typically, homework is not included in this policy, but many instructors choose to allow students facing serious problems to submit homework after the deadline.

Definition of Terms

  • An “illness” might be a routine cold or could involve hospitalization, with each calling for a very different response. A student who misses one class because of a minor illness should not be asked to provide medical documentation since a doctor’s visit is not helpful or needed. A student with a pattern of absences, however, may be asked for this documentation, with greater support provided if warranted.
  • Any “official UI activity” is accompanied by an official letter or email from the related UI office or person; if you do not receive or see such a letter, you do not need to excuse the activity. Activities that are optional choices for students, such as rushing for a sorority or attending a UI club meeting, are not considered official activities.
  • Likewise, “unavoidable circumstances” do not include routine but important activities, such as getting an UI ID card, going to the bank, or to a routine doctor or dentist appointment. Instead, “unavoidable circumstances” include major life events beyond the student’s control, such as the death of a family member, but does not include a reunion, a family vacation, or a wedding.
  • A “mandatory religious obligation” can vary by religion and culture. Talking to the student in detail about the event should help guide the decision of whether or not an event qualifies.

A student who frequently misses class could need your help. Please report your concerns to my office by email or phone (319-335-2633) and to the Early Intervention Team in the Office of the Dean of Students (319-335-1162). A reporting form is also available for your use at this link:  

The online “Quick Guide for Helping Students” may be found at this link:  Many students at this time of the year start to experience academic and personal difficulties; keeping this guide close at hand can be very useful.

Please remember that I am always happy to consult with you on these matters, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Thank you for all the help and the many kindnesses that you extend to students.