Class Absence Guidelines - Colgate University Skip Navigation

Class Absence and Attendance Guidelines

Colgate's class attendance policy is described in the university catalogue.

You can review the current catalogue online.
Open communication between students and faculty is important when confronting classroom absences.
At the time of this writing (October 2014), the guidelines read:
Students who have enrolled at Colgate have made a commitment to participate in the educational program of the institution. Attendance at all classes is expected and is an important part of one’s academic development. Since most faculty at Colgate put a premium on student participation in class, absence is likely to be detrimental to the student’s learning in any course.

Attendance practices for each course will be announced by the faculty member at the beginning of each term. Conflicts between curricular and co-curricular activities should be avoided by careful planning and scheduling of activities. The rare but unavoidable conflict should be worked out well in advance by the student with the faculty member’s permission.

Students may request that an administrative adviser notify faculty members about prolonged absences due to serious health problems. Such problems must be verified by Student Health Services. Students should consult an administrative adviser immediately if non-health-related obligations will force them to miss several classes. Single or brief absences should be discussed by the student and faculty member without necessarily contacting the student’s administrative adviser.

In April 2015, the Academic Affairs Board approved a memo on course scheduling conflicts that offers guidance to the community. READ HERE

Student-Athlete Attendance and Absences

The Intercollegiate Athletics Philosophy in the Student Athlete Handbook, available on the athletics website, states: 

The educational purposes of the University and the welfare and commitment of the student-athletes to formal education are paramount considerations within each program and are not compromised in the pursuit of competitive excellence. Coaches understand and support the fact that academic achievement is the priority for every Colgate student-athlete. Athletic practices, competitive schedules and travel are arranged with that principle in mind. Athletic team workouts, meetings and practices should not conflict with the daily class schedule and every attempt should be made to schedule games and travel in ways that minimize conflicts with classes. 

Student-athletes are responsible for attending all classes, completing all classroom assignments, and conducting themselves in ways that are consistent with acceptable classroom performance. Student athletes are required to meet all Colgate academic requirements as well as the eligibility requirements of the NCAA, Patriot League, and ECACHL. Attendance at all classes is expected and plays an important role in one’s academic development. Student-athletes are not permitted to miss class or mandatory class activities to attend practice (including weight training or ‘lifting’). As outlined in the Academic Affairs Board memo on scheduling conflicts (see above), student-athletes must know and follow course attendance policies closely, and if the policy is not clear from the syllabus or other course information, students should ask the faculty member. 

In the end, it is the student's responsibility to decide how to manage any scheduling conflicts

The student-athlete handbook provides the following procedures, approved by the Committee on Athletics, for students to follow in order to identify and address scheduling conflicts involving intercollegiate athletic competition: 


It is extremely important that student-athletes communicate with their coaches and professors, at the start of each semester, about potential conflicts between athletics and academics. Since some instructors wish to communicate solely with students, while others prefer to communicate with coaches, the recommended steps for communicating about potential conflicts are as follows:
Guidance by the coach
  1. As early as possible in the practice season, student-athletes should be given the schedule of athletic contests and estimated departure times.
  2. Student-athletes should identify any conflicts between academic and athletic contests.
  3. In a team meeting early in the practice season, coaches should instruct studentathletes that it is each student's responsibility to meet as soon as possible with their course instructors to discuss class attendance and the instructors' class absence policies.
  4. Student-athletes should be encouraged to make an appointment with each course instructor to discuss potential conflicts rather than just handing the instructor a list of the games and proposed travel schedule.
Discussion with the course instructor
  1. Student-athletes should discuss with each course instructor the implication of class absences arising from games and travel for covering class material and meeting course requirements. At this time the student can seek clarification regarding the instructor's policies about class attendance and excused absences. The student should also check whether there will be any special out-of-class speakers or academic events that might require missing athletic activities.
  2. The student should also ask whether the instructor would like to receive a letter or phone call from the coach concerning the athletic schedule and possible permission for a student to miss a class. This will give the course instructor the opportunity to express his or her preferences about contact with the student and/or coach concerning class absences.
  3. The student should also alert the instructor that the arrangements for possible post-season competition are determined late in the season by non-Colgate officials.
Follow-up with the coach
The student-athlete should let his or her coach know the outcome of the conversation with the academic faculty. The coach can then respond appropriately.