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Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

All Faculty Meeting discusses excused absence policy, University Budget

All faculty meeting

UW-Whitewater held an All Faculty meeting to discuss a handful of topics, ranging from student class absence policy to university budget. The March 19 meeting had 64 faculty members in attendance over Webex, including Chancellor Corey King.

Chancellor Corey King calls the all faculty meeting to order over Webex on March 19 at 3:30 p.m. (Jayden Kimpel)

Whitewater Student Government members Abby Reiser, director of academic affairs, and President Angelina Izzo were in attendance for the meeting. The WSG representatives were present to discuss a proposed excused absence policy.
“The purpose is to ensure that students with documentation are not unreasonably penalized for their missed class time,” said Reiser. “This policy is not going to protect students who arbitrarily miss class, but it’s the idea that if a student presents documentation to the faculty member, then in most situations, there’s the expectation that the faculty or instructor works with the student to allow them to make up the work.”

The proposed policy was questioned because of issues such as the lack of documentation distributed by Ambrose Health Center. The campus health center does not provide documentation to prove a student’s absence, which has allowed scenarios to happen in which professors deny students opportunities to make up the work they missed in a class. Even when students do have documentation this scenario has occurred, a problem the policy hopes to resolve.

“The biggest complaint that we received from students is that they have documentation proving that they were gone for legitimate reasons, but they are still denied the opportunity to make up that coursework, even though they have documentation,” said Resier. “This ultimately leads to their grade being negatively impacted. This policy is going to be key to promoting student equity and success, and it will enhance student retention. Ultimately, we are just trying to create more clarity in student and faculty and instructor responsibilities about what to do when there is an excuse for absence.”

WSG has been working on an excused absence policy since 2017. The document titled, “Retention Initiative: Request to Adopt a Revised Excused Absence Policy” is two pages long. It recognizes the need for faculty to have a more understanding standpoint on student absences. 

Whitewater Student Government members Abby Reiser, director of academic affairs, and President Angelina Izzo discuss a new excused absence policy.
(Jayden Kimpel)

“The reason we decided to do this excused absence policy is that the current policy is just a recommendation,” Reiser said. “What we all wanted to do was just move what is highly recommended and make that codified policy, so then faculty and instructors can go back and see what is part of the policy. A student can go through an appeal process because there is a policy for the students to go through. Without that, it’s really difficult to make a decision based on just recommendations. We wanted to have a more specific policy so that an appeal process can be created.”

The motion for the new excused absence policy to be created won with a 72% vote in favor of it.

Prior to the end of the meeting, Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs Brenda Jones shared her presentation on UW-Whitewater’s budget from Chancellor King’s State of the University address. 

UW-Whitewater is very much a tuition dependent institution,” said Jones. “Our primary source of revenue is tuition and fees, and the primary focus is really on the tuition generating areas and their related expenses.” 

Brenda Jones, Vice Chancellor of Administrative Affairs, shares her budget presentation that was previously shown at Chancellor King’s State of the University address. (Jayden Kimpel)

The presentation reaffirmed points regarding UW-Whitewater’s budget, focusing on the current year forecast, how UW-Whitewater expects to end the year financially and how. 

This year, UW-Whitewater is budgeted to have over an $11 million deficit. However, according to Jones’ presentation, Whitewater is expecting to finish the year with an almost $1 million surplus.

Jones stated that there are several factors that go into the deficit and surplus calculations.

“Overall, this is a really good position to be in, in relation to other campuses within the Universities of Wisconsin System,” said Jones. “We are probably one of the best positioned campuses other than UW-Madison.”

For more information about faculty senate and to view all meeting materials, their meeting materials are available for viewing. The next faculty senate meeting will be held April 9.

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Jayden Kimpel, Assistant Campus Editor

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