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The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

New dean’s excuse form to standardize absence policy

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The last change to the dean’s excuse policy came over four years ago.

On March 20, the Office of Advising launched a new way to request a dean’s excuse: an online form located on the Advising website. Prior to this change, students were directed to email their class deans when seeking an excused absence. 

“​​Students would request dean’s excuses via email in most cases,” Chris Selena, the associate dean of advising and co-curricular programs, said. “That’s problematic if one of us is out for an illness or whatnot.”

Because there was no timetable on when the deans would approve excuses, individual excuses were not considered urgent. However, if a dean’s excuse was not granted following a class absence, it would not be excused. The online form is a way to circumvent this problem. 

“We implemented the request form,” Selena said. “It’s not mandatory, necessarily, yet, [but] I think we may end up just pushing everybody to that.”

The online form provides the Office of Advising with a quicker means of approving dean’s excuses. This will allow more students to know the status of their requested absence before it occurs.

“The request form also allows the Office of Advising to gather more data regarding dean’s excuses,” Selena said. “It will be able to track things like illness across campus, mental illness and other types of issues.”

Selena said that the Office of Advising will likely standardize the dean’s excuse request procedure to the online form beginning in fall 2023. The procedural change will not change the dean’s excuse policy itself.

According to Selena, the last change to the dean’s excuse policy came upon a request by the Student Government that was ratified by a faculty vote in late 2018 or early 2019. The change, at the time, ensured that students may be excused from classes for religious observances. Prior to this change, the dean’s excuse only allowed absences due to active conference participation, bereavement, family emergencies or extraordinary circumstances. Though dean’s excuses are utilized to account for class absences that are necessitated by a predefined set of circumstances, professors are permitted to excuse students from class for any reason.

“Ultimately, faculty has significant influence over the classroom,” Selena said. “Which is a good thing, because they’re not being bogged down.”

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Emma Sylvester
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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