Absence Policy Addendum

Per CLAS Policy (https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/attendance-absences), students must provide documentation to the instructor BEFORE the ABSENCE/EXAM for official UI Activities, religious obligations, and “planned” unavoidable circumstances (e.g., military duty, jury duty). 

The sociology department requests that students give instructors at least one week notice to ensure that appropriate accommodation plans are in place prior to the ABSENCE/EXAM. If a student fails to provide documentation BEFORE the ABSENCE/EXAM, it is up to the instructor if make-up opportunities will be given.

For students facing “unplanned” unavoidable circumstances (e.g., family tragedy) or illness (see “Short and Long-Term Illnesses” in https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/attendance-absences), documentation must be presented to the professor AS SOON AS POSSIBLE in order for a make-up exam to be considered.

Students are welcome to speak with the DUS or the Chair of the Sociology department if they are unsure of whether an event qualifies as an excused absence.

Relevant Definitions

The following terms are from the CLAS student handbook: https://clas.uiowa.edu/students/handbook/attendance-absences. These definitions have been augmented with examples from the 10-5-2016 DEO mailing on the Absence Policy: http://clas.uiowa.edu/deos/mailing/october-05-2016/clas-absence-policy-and-resources-students

  • Authorized activities include participation in intercollegiate athletic teams, in the marching band and pep band, and attendance at events scheduled by recognized University groups (such as mock trial competitions).
    • Examples of official UI activities include activities such as the golf team at an event or the marching band at an official competition. This does not include personal activities such as rushing for a sorority; employment; volunteering for a club activity; or taking care of routine business, such as getting an UI ID card. An official activity is accompanied by an official letter from the related UI office or person.
    • 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.
  • Unavoidable circumstances might include participation in University field trips, service with the National Guard, and jury duty, for example. (Note: Routine employment obligations are not included in this category.)
    • “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.
    • Students with unavoidable circumstances such as a family tragedy or involvement in an automobile accident should contact their instructors as soon as possible or ask a family member to do so.
  • 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.
  • 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.