The Electric Commentary

Friday, January 28, 2005


In keeping with our K theme, Professor Karlson discusses students skipping class:

Northern Kentucky University has adopted a policy, which has the Superintendent's endorsement, under which students who do not show up for the first week of classes may be removed from the course rolls. That prompts one miscreant to object.

I have never been a fan of the attendance policy. This isn't because I have bad attendance myself, but because I have never agreed with the university having the right to dictate to the students how many times they may miss class without consequence.

Playing hooky in college is an interesting phenomenon. Later he quotes Jonathan at Cliopatria, who states that:

First, let me respectfully point out to Mr. Dressman that every student who attends NKU is subsidized to the tune of about 50 percent of costs. These funds come from state funding, the campus endowment, grants, donations and the like. Think of this as an automatic scholarship provided by the fine people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky, along with people from a host of organizations, corporations and alumni groups who have seen fit to invest in NKU students. They do so because they believe that a liberal arts education is good for both the individual and the wider community. Students are not simply customers; they are also the product.

Further, Mr. Dressman needs to be aware that he is attending an institution that was built with money other than his own. Current tuition only helps maintain the facilities and services that others generously helped to establish. When you cut class - missing class for a good reason is another matter - you throw away not only your own money but that of the generous people who helped to build this campus. That is a rather ungrateful thing to do.

All true. However, all of these contributions and subsidies to the college experience probably have something to do with students skipping classes. After all, what is their incentive, other than altruism, to not waste other people's money. This outcome is expected in a situation where students have largely been relegated to the role of free-riders (or at least cheap-riders). Read the whole thing.


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