If military students have to miss a couple of days of class due to training, they have two options: Save the country or do a homework assignment.
This very predicament was on the floor for discussion during the second University senate meeting of the semester on Monday afternoon. The Educational Policy Committee, chaired by Harold Kirkwood, drafted the document that would allow for excused absences for military students.
The document read, “Purdue University recognizes that those who are actively serving in the Reserves or National Guard of the United States are required by their military contract to attend mandatory training with failure to attend punishable under law. The University therefore provides the following rights to students required by their military contract to attend mandatory training through the Military Absence Policy for Students.”
If passed, students who qualify will be eligible for 15 days of excused absences per academic calendar, with no more than 10 consecutive days missed. Some will be given additional absences to account for travel considerations.
Many professors were in agreement that such accommodations for military students are needed, but some were skeptical of placing a strict policy in the first place.
Yuehwern Yih, a professor of industrial engineering, voiced concerns about what the professor can and cannot do in these situations.
“This kind of policy kind of takes away ... for the professor to look at each case under certain circumstances,” Yih said. “Participation and discussion is part of class. You work by just being there.”
Wayne Campbell, a professor of nutritional science, said the professors need to look at why the policy was created.
“This policy was for some of our most cherished students,” Campbell said, “and to nitpick over the nuances of the policy language is appropriate. But I think it sidesteps from the importance of this basic issue.”
The senate will discuss again and vote on whether to pass the policy during the next University senate meeting at 2:30 p.m. on March 24 in the Stewart Center, Room 302.