Students speak out about last-minute class cancellations

By Dasha Tuck, Staff writer

Murray State students have noticed a recent increase of professors canceling class with little to no notice and they are speaking out on the issue.

“I had a class that did this all the time and it was really frustrating! I know accidents happen, but for it to happen nearly 3-4 times a month is a bit excessive,” said Paula Jaco, senior business administration major from Metropolis, Illinois.

Jaco said she had this issue in several departments but mainly in the English Department. Other students have pointed out the professors who teach in the political science, biology and sociology departments.

Reviewing Policy

Murray State’s Student Handbook (2016-17 version) clearly outlines the policy and procedures for students who miss class. It says: “students are expected to attend all classes in which they are enrolled for credit or audit purposes including the first day of class.” It also states that excused absences fall into two categories.

Category one is defined as an absence because of “personal illness or death of immediate family or other extraordinary personal circumstances”. For an absence to qualify as category one it would require “appropriate authentication or documentation”.

For example, if a student claims they have had a death in their family the professor would require the student to submit a copy of the deceased relative’s obituary.

Category two is an absence because of a University Sanctioned Event “in which a student serves as a representative of the institution.”

The expectations for students missing class is very clearly laid out but what about for a professor canceling class? The handbook does not have a policy listed.

Hearing From Students

Alex Brown, junior Agribusiness major from Hopkinsville, Kentucky, said he has had professors just stick a note to the classroom door that simply said no class today.

Brown said that is extremely frustrating to him because he commutes to campus. After getting up for class, making sure he is prepared, finding a parking space and trekking across campus to his building just find out class is canceled. Brown said it adds extra stress.

Wuanya Banks, sophomore TV production major from St. Louis, Missouri said she thinks canceling class frequently with little to no notice is unprofessional.

“I feel like college is a business and it should be treated as such, Banks said.  “If I am expected to be at your class every meeting day on time then you should have enough courtesy to cancel on me in reasonable time.”

Banks said some of her professor count attendance as part of the course grade.

Jake Clark, senior nursing major from Paducah, Kentucky, said he is far too familiar with professor canceling classes at the last moment.

“When I am under a lot of pressure for another class or the weather is nasty, I get annoyed especially if I lost precious time to study or finish a quiz,” Clark said.

Giving Students Notice

All of these students said they understand that emergencies or illness can strike professors suddenly just as they strike students.

Brown said even an hour ahead of time would be sufficient. He said teachers commonly ask students to email them when they aren’t going to be in class but they don’t always give students the same courtesy.

“Being someone who frequently checks my email, Jaco said, even 15 minutes before class is better than getting there and finding a note on the door.”

Alec Brock, alumnus from Louisville, Kentucky, said it always made him feel like the professors did not care about his time.

College is a stressful time for students with being away from home, learning to live in new environments with new people, attending challenging courses and trying to stay afloat.

“We don’t need anymore added stress,” Brown said.