Words by Lukas Kazmirski
Myth: If your professor is 15 minutes late, students can leave class without penalty.
This whisper: False
For years now, there’s been a rumor going around campus about how students can leave class without a penalty if their instructor is over 15 minutes late. Though nobody is really sure when this rumor began, it doesn’t seem to have too strong of a case.
From the legal and by-the-book standpoint based on university policy Chapter 3 – 01.2, “Administrative Policy Regarding Class Attendance and Class Absence,” there is no official, written policy stating that students will not receive a penalty if they leave class because their instructor is late.
When asked about this issue via email, the Student Affairs office replied, “There is no policy regarding this rule, but it is the responsibility and choice of the instructors to take attendance in their classes.” Though there is no legitimate rule, there may be certain instructors who show leniency.
Communication studies graduate appointee Samyak Moktan says if the rumor has any truth at all, “it would depend on a number of factors,” including how long the class is to begin with, if the instructor sent an email or warning ahead of time, the size of the class and whether or not the instructor takes attendance daily.
Other instructors, such as JMC professor Tiffany Alexander, wouldn’t be surprised to find their students missing from class. “If I was late, and I walked in to find at least some of my students gone, I would assume they’d just left, and that would be my fault for not notifying them,” Alexander says.
In some instances, professors might decide to skip taking attendance and leave catching up on the lecture to their students; but officially, this rumor is false.
While sitting in class watching the clock tick for 15 minutes might seem hopeful, it’s not worth it. Though an instructor may be late, if they choose to still give a lecture that day, anyone who left risks receiving both an absence and missing important information.