Skipping classes: Despite rules, a long tradition – and an expensive one

Derek Radtke_Skipping Class 2 (color) .jpgThe Norwich University (NU) attendance policy (it’s located on the Norwich website at www.norwich.edu) states that once the maximum number of absences are met then a “faculty members may assign a grade of ‘F’ to students whose total absences,” exceeds 15 percent of class meetings. But the classes that are skipped most could not be figured out because, according to the Registrar’s office, almost no faculty members report their attendance.
Since there is a lack of records for absences, it’s impossible to estimate how many students skip classes on average. But there is no doubt many do.Jacob, a student wishing to be anonymous, stated he skipped classes twice a week. “Monday, Wednesday, Friday, I have four to five classes a day and I’ll skip maybe just one of them, (while) Tuesday and Thursday I only have (one class) and I usually skip this once a week.”Jacob is aware that doesn’t make professors very happy. “I think they are frustrated because it brings down the amount of people in class,” Jacob said. “What is the point of teaching if there is no one there?”

He added that he thinks teachers keep attendance because they have to, “not because they want to,” Jacob said. “I think the school tells them they have to at the beginning of the year, just to see who’s going.”

Jacob said that when he skips a class it is either to sleep or get caught up on homework. The homework he has to do is not from skipping the class, but rather just procrastination.

Though he does it himself, Jacob’s advice for everyone is: “Skipping class is bad.” Jim-bob, another student wishing to remain anonymous, said, “It is up to you, if you want to skip that class or you can afford to then go for it (but,) if you can’t, probably go to class.” A factor in that view is that, according to the NU bursar’s office, students pay $925 per credit.

With an average tuition being around $31,550, according to the Norwich website, that means after being divided by two the estimated cost per semester is $15,775.

When $15,775 is split by four classes each worth four credits, then each class is worth an estimated $3943.75. Assuming this is an average student schedule, when someone skips a class that meets three times a week for an hour, they are wasting almost $22 per hour per class.

Since Jacob skips at least two classes per week for the semester, that comes to around 30 classes, meaning he wasted approximately $660 of his tuition on just that semester.

Students offer varying reasons for cutting class. “I have skipped a class once,” Jim-bob said. “I skipped it for very interesting reasons that would not happen at pretty much any other school.”

“It was during Parents Weekend last year, and I believe it was a Friday,” he said, “I had a German class, prior to the class, that weekend there were banners up and all the little rookie motivation stuff.”

“One of the things that was done was 5th Company banner was constructed on Paine, and 4th Company did not like that,” according to Jim-bob. “So, a couple 4th Company members went up Paine and relieved that 5th Company banner of its duty.”

“(We) put up our own 4th Company banner,” Jim-bob said. “I was looking forward to a German class, and they needed people to stay behind and make sure that nothing happened to the 4th Company banner.”

“German wasn’t one of my favorite classes, and one of my strongest classes so I wasn’t going to miss anything,” he said.

“I decided I would linger back and make sure that 4th Company banner flew proudly on Mount Paine, where the entire campus could see it,” Jim-bob said. “I stood watch diligently for quite a bit until, I believe some other people from 5th Company came up to try and reinstate their banner, but we were having none of it.”

“There were like me and a few others,” he said, “and eventually they had to go.” 5th Company tried to put their banner into a tree, but in the end gave up, according to Jim-bob.

“The 4th Company banner stood proudly, the reigning company banner of Mount Pain,” Jim-bob said.

“Then things got interesting,” he said. “A parent came up with a spray paint can and they decided to spray paint 5th Company on the hill as opposed to having a banner.”

“It was a little outside the box (and) I thought it was a little against the rules of engagement because I’m pretty sure that parent was not in the Corps of Cadets,” Jim-bob said. “There wasn’t much I could do about that,” he said. “They left (and) I was hiding in the bushes, so no one would find me or see anything that I was doing.”

“I put the 4th Company banner over the 5th company thing and that was pretty fun,” Jim-bob said. “I guess they saw that, came back and I was there.”

“I was outmaneuvered at that point,” he said. “It was me versus a can of spray paint.”

“By that time the entire corps was at a parade,” Jim-bob said. “I figured the battle had been fought to the very end and I should make my way back to barracks.”

Jim-bob has not skipped any classes since then because there has been “no calls for it, no banners put up, no need to rally the troops.”

“If you are going to skip class, make it for a good reason like (mine,)” Jim-bob said.

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