Cal Poly policy reads “serious illness of a close relative” is an excusable reason to miss class. Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) voted to ensure that policy will now include sick children.
Under a resolution passed unanimously Feb. 5, the ASI Board of Directors urged the Academic Senate to update Cal Poly’s excused absence policy to say “any extenuating circumstances” involving children, partners or grandparents would be excusable. The resolution itself does not change the policy. It is up to the Academic Senate, which is the elected government body for faculty members, to formally change the policy.
Four campus members sent letters to support the resolution, and another four spoke at open forum at the Feb. 5 meeting to support the resolution.
“Between getting our dependents ready for school, finding child care while we are on campus and our long commute, the last thing we want to do is miss class,” resolution co-author and masters candidate Ashlee Hernandez said at open forum.
Social sciences professor Joan Meyers said she always allowed a “family emergency” to count as a reasonable excuse to skip class, but that some student-parents did not think that sick children constituted a family emergency until she spoke with them.
“This is something that needs to be formalized, so that other faculty know how to communicate their understanding to students,” Meyers said.
The resolution said the policy was tied to racial and social equity. One-third of first-generation and low-income college students are parents, according to a paper cited by the resolution from the Institute for Women’s Policy.
“This is just one small effort to remove another barrier on this campus,” aerospace engineering graduate student and ASI Vice Chair of the Board Alan Faz said.
Faz and ASI representatives Tess Loarie, Kylie Clark and Dominique Morales co-authored the bill.