Professor tardiness not a valid excuse to leave class early

Ashanka Kumari

Many University of Alabama students believe that if their professor is 15 or more minutes late to class, it is an understood rule that they can leave the class without penalty.

However, Cathy Andreen, director of media relations, said that this 15-minute rule is not an official University policy.

“If there is a problem with a particular faculty member coming to class late, the student should talk first with the faculty member,” Andreen said. “If that is not satisfactory, they should talk with the department chair or the dean.”

Freshman Amy Ackerman said she thought that the 15 minute rule was a University policy because all of her professors discussed it on the first day of classes, and she feels that it is a valid concept.

“I completely agree that after 15 minutes if the teacher is a no-show then there is no reason for class to be held,” Ackerman said. “In a 50-minute class, it basically leaves no time. Students are accountable to be on class on time and teachers should be held to the same accountability.”

At the same time, Brian Dunlap, a senior majoring in electrical engineering, said that regardless of the time his professor entered the classroom, he and his classmates would continue to try to study for that class.

“If my professor was late, my classmates and I would probably try to study in that time instead of wasting it,” Dunlap said. “I’d go over the lesson even if my professor didn’t show up, so it doesn’t matter. However, if the professor showed up, he or she should not be allowed to take a graded assignment.”

Brooke Marshall, a senior majoring in journalism, said she feels that a 15-minute rule is fair to maintain accountability on both the student and the professor’s ends.

“Students are punished for being late to class and the same should apply to the professor,” Marshall said. “We pay for our education, and it shouldn’t be our fault nor should we have to wait around for a professor if they are going to be late. If they can’t make it to class, they should send us an email.”

Ackerman said students should not be punished for showing up to class as they are expected to do.

“I understand if it is an emergency situation, but it’s absurd for students to have to wake up for an early class like at 8 a.m. and have to wait around for a professor who never arrives,” Ackerman said. “There’s an old saying that ‘time is money,’ and if I’m paying for the class, then I expect to be taught for the entire class period. If the teacher’s not there to teach the whole time, I shouldn’t be obligated to stay and keep waiting.”