Policies on Excused Absences in Fantasy & Science Fiction
Students, naturally, have the right to attend or not attend as they choose any class for which they are registered. Attending, however, is vital for participation and participation is vital for learning. Therefore, attendance is a significant factor in judging participation and participation is a significant factor in determining course grades. Nonetheless, circumstances may sometimes legitimately prevent a student from participating even though s/he wants to. In such cases, the student should request that his/her absence be excused. Here are policies that apply to the granting of such requests.
(1) Absences will not be excused unless such an excuse is requested. Under most circumstances, any such requests should be addressed to the student's discussion-section leader.
(2) Absences will be excused, on request, for the local observance of major religious holidays.
(3) Non-religious absences may be excused but only if the request is based on their being caused by major, unavoidable circumstances the occurrence of which is supported by appropriate documentation. If the circumstances are foreseeable, the request must be made before the absence occurs.
(If you are flying home for a holiday observance and therefore will miss more days than just the holiday, the holiday will be excused on request but the additional days, no matter that they are documented, will not be excused. If you miss a class for a religious event, such as a wedding of a dear friend, that is entirely understandable, but in terms of this course, it does not constitute grounds for excusing an absence. Note though, as explained in the syllabus, that a single unexcused absence does not put a ceiling on your participation grade, so there is some leeway built into the system.)
(4) If a paper is due such that submitting it would interfere with the observance of a major religious holiday, we will willingly accept the paper at the immediately preceding class meeting (be it lecture or discussion section) on request; we will not accept it later. Since holidays are predictable events, there is no reason they should warrant breaking the principle of papers being due before lectures on the books. We do not need documentation to support a request for early submission based on a predictable absence for a major religious holiday observance.
(5) If papers are to be returned at a time when their retrieval would interfere with the observance of a major religious holiday, we will, on request, extend the revision process by a compensatory amount. Normally, if papers are to be returned on a Thursday, any revision you might want to do must be requested of your GSI, permission obtained, the revision done, and the work submitted by the next Thursday. This usually means seeing the GSI right after class on Thursday or in the office or both. If a major religious holiday falls on a paper return date, you may collect that paper at the next regular paper return date—normally the next Thursday—and, if you then request an extension of the revision deadline of a paper that non-observers were to have retrieved the previous week, you will be granted it. We do not need documentation for such an extension, but you do need to make us aware at the time that you request the revision opportunity that you need an extension so that your GSI can note that extension on the paper and hence remember to treat the revision you hand in with the annotated original as being timely.
(6) Please notice that (5) refers to the day the papers "are to be returned" rather than to the day they "are returned." A failure to pick up a paper does not automatically grant a student an extension of the revision opportunity. However, if you miss picking up a paper because of a religious holiday, you need only ask for such an extension to receive it. On the other hand, if you miss picking up a paper because of serious illness, accident, or some other major difficulty, the extension will be granted only on request supported by appropriate documentation.