Disability-Related Exception to Attendance Policies
1. In most cases, class attendance is critical to a student's
mastery of the knowledge and/or skills that are taught in a
2. Students are expected to follow the attendance policy
established by the instructor in each class. However, the
University recognizes that there may be times when a qualified
student with a disability cannot attend class because of
3. If such a student believes it may not be possible to abide by
the attendance policy because of medical issues related to a
disability, the student should contact Student Disability Services
(SDS) at the start of the semester or as soon as possible after the
need for the exception to the policy arises, to discuss the matter
of a possible accommodation. Determination of eligibility for a
disability-related exception to the attendance policy is made
through consultation with the instructor of the course and the
staff of Student Disability Services. If necessary, the department
chair or other appropriate administrator may also be included in
the discussion. In every case, the proper relevant written
documentation from an appropriate professional must be submitted to
SDS before an accommodation request can be considered. For
additional information regarding documentation guidelines, contact
SDS in Jordan Hall 136 or refer to www.butler.edu/disability.
4. Essential Course Requirements: While Butler University makes
every effort to reasonably accommodate a student's disability
related needs, academic requirements are not generally waived if
doing so would fundamentally alter the essential nature of the
academic course. Faculty members are responsible for identifying
and defining essential or fundamental academic requirements for
their courses and instructors may establish acceptable number of
excused absences in light of these essential requirements.
Attendance requirements for each course are generally stated on the
The following questions need to be considered when determining
the extent to which attendance is an essential requirement of a
course and whether an exception to the attendance policy may be
a. Is there classroom interaction
between the instructor and students and among the students
b. Do student contributions in class
constitute a significant component of the learning process?
c. Does the fundamental nature of
the course rely on student participation as an essential method of
d. To what degree does a student's
failure to attend class constitute a significant loss to the
educational experience of other students in the class?
e. What does the course description
and syllabus say regarding attendance?
f. By what method is the final grade
5. As with all disability accommodations, exceptions to the
attendance policy will be determined on an individual, case-by-case
basis depending on:
a. the extent to which the submitted
medical or psychological documentation from a licensed professional
qualified to diagnose and treat the disability in question supports
the need for an exception to an attendance policy, and
b. the reasonableness of this
accommodation in each requested class as determined by discussions
between Student Disability Services and the course instructor based
upon the above criteria. In questionable cases, the academic
department head and/or other appropriate academic administrator may
be included in these discussions.
6. An exception to the attendance policy does not mean that
unlimited absences can be permitted. The number of additional
absences a student may receive as a reasonable accommodation will
be determined on a case-by-case basis for each class, depending on
the student's individual disability, the nature of the course and
the degree to which class attendance is an essential requirement of
the specific course as outlined in Paragraphs 4 and 5 (a) and (b)
of this Policy.
7. Exception to the attendance policy does not mean exception to
any of the other academic requirements of the course. Students are
required to fulfill all course requirements and will be held to the
same evaluation standards as specified in the course syllabus.
8. Students who are approved for an exception to the attendance
policy are expected to contact instructors in advance of an
anticipated absence if possible. This is particularly important if
the anticipated absence will result in the student missing a quiz
or exam or a deadline for turning in an assignment. For emergencies
or unexpected disability-related absences, contact should be made
as soon as possible to verify the reason for the absence and to
discuss make-up work.
9. Students should be aware that although an exception to the
attendance policy has been made for them, absences may have a
negative impact on their academic performance simply because of the
content and experiential learning they may have missed by not being
in class. For this reason, students should make every attempt to
attend class and to observe deadlines for submission of
10. Students should be aware that exception to the attendance
policy may not be possible in every course because class attendance
is an essential, integral part of some courses, as discussed in
Paragraph 4 of this policy.
Please contact Student Disability Services in Jordan Hall 136
with questions or concerns.