Attendance Requirement

1. Required Class Attendance

Regular and punctual class attendance is required of all students in all courses, including in any course a student is auditing. This requirement applies to all semesters and all sessions offered by the Charleston School of Law. Faculty members are required to take attendance in all courses. Attendance sign-in sheets shall be used, and students have the responsibility for ensuring that they sign the sheet.

2. General Rule

Students are required to attend at least 85 percent of the classes for each course.  Therefore, no student may miss more than 15 percent (rounded to the nearest whole number) of the scheduled class meetings in any course or seminar. “Scheduled class meetings” is defined as the total number of classes that are established for that particular course during that particular semester or session schedule, as established by the published schedule, with such number remaining the same in spite of modifications that might arise during the semester (speakers, inclement weather, professor cancellation, etc.). No absences from class are “excusable” for purposes of determining whether a student has violated the Attendance Requirement.

a.     Number of Permitted Absences

Students must refer to the course syllabus for information regarding the number of permitted absences for that course in that particular semester or session in which it is offered.

b.    Absence for Being Unprepared

A student who is present but unprepared for class may be marked as absent if the professor adopts this policy in his or her course syllabus or in writing during the first week of the semester. If the professor has this policy, the syllabus or writing must address what is “present but unprepared.” In addition, the student found to be absent because he or she is unprepared shall be so advised by the instructor during or immediately after the class in question

c.    Absence for Tardiness or Leaving Class Early

A student who is tardy or who exits class early may, at the discretion of the professor, be marked as absent. The syllabus for a particular course must address what is considered “tardy” and what is “exiting early from class.”

d.    Absences Accrued Before Adding a Course

Absences from class before adding the course during the drop/add period are counted toward the number of absences from the class.

3. Notice

Students must keep track of their absences. The Law School is under no obligation to keep track of students’ absences or to warn students when their absences reach a certain point.

4. Sanctions for Excessive Absences

Any student who misses more classes than allowed by the above formula shall not be eligible to earn course credit.  A grade of “WA” [withdrawn for absences] shall be given if the student has a passing grade. If a student has a failing grade at the time the student is withdrawn, a grade of “WF” shall be given. In the case of extraordinary circumstances, a student shall be allowed to withdraw and receive a grade of “W.”

Please note: Students should refer to the Grading Standards: Interpretation of Other Letter Grades for information regarding the GPA impact after a student has received three WAs.

5. Waiver of 85% Attendance Requirement

In extraordinary circumstances, a student who has missed more than 15% but no more than 20% of the class meetings may petition the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs for a waiver of the Attendance Requirement.  Using the appropriate form available from the Office of Academic Affairs, the petition shall contain a complete explanation of the reasons for each of the student’s absences from the particular course and must include appropriate documentation. Once notified of the excessive absences, the student must submit his or her petition within 2 business days to the Associate Dean. Failure to submit the petition within this time-frame will result in the dismissal of the petition without consideration.

Upon proof of extraordinary circumstances, such as serious personal injury or illness; serious illness, injury, or death of a member of the student’s immediate family; or other exceptional circumstance beyond the student’s control which prevented the student from meeting attendance requirements, the Associate Dean may grant whatever relief he or she deems appropriate under the circumstances. In ruling on such petitions, the Associate Dean shall balance the necessity for maintaining high academic standards and fairness to the student in light of the extraordinary circumstances.

If the Associate Dean denies a petition for waiver of the attendance requirement, or if the number of absences exceeds 20% of the class meetings, a student may petition the Academic Standards Committee. If the committee considers the petition, the Attendance Rule will be waived only if a majority of the committee members present vote to grant the petition.

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