THE PACE CHRONICLE

Pace Professors on Late Policies and Student Excuses for Late Work

Professor Timothy Waligore (pictured above) is among many professors who have heard a variety of student excuses regarding late-work.

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Professor Timothy Waligore (pictured above) is among many professors who have heard a variety of student excuses regarding late-work.

Callie Anderson, Contributing Writer

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Throughout the course of a semester, a year, or four years at Pace, students will likely hand in class assignments late at least once or twice.

A typical college student will put thought into what excuse they will give their professors in hope that they will make an exception to their late policy and still give them full credit on the assignment. Some students will tell the truth about their situation, while others will make up a tale hoping to earn their professors’ sympathy. Either way, professors have heard a lot of student excuses over the years.

For Professor Timothy Waligore of the Political Science department, the most commonly missed assignments are pre-class Blackboard writings and papers.

For Blackboard writings, Waligore does not accept late submissions.

“My policy is not to accept late ones since one of their purposes is to spur class conversation. That can’t be done if they are turned in after class,” he explained.

For papers, Waligore does accept late submissions, but each day late carries a one-third of a letter grade penalty.

“I tell [students] to take the late penalty and move on,” said Waligore. “It’s a fine, not a crime. No moral judgment. But that’s what is fair to other students who did their best to turn it in on time.”

Even with his late policies in the syllabus, Waligore still receives student excuses for late or missing work. The most common excuse he receives is that a student had computer problems. The worst excuse he receives is a student claiming to forget emailing the assignment to him. The most unique excuse Waligore has received is when a student said they were being evicted.

Professor Ama Wattley of the English Department has also heard many student excuses during her career at Pace. She regularly teaches Writing in the Disciplines and 200 and 300-level literature courses. The most commonly missed assignments are drafts of papers and homework assignments.

For papers, Wattley reduces their letter grade for each day it is late. If a student gives her an excuse for their late or missed work, they will still receive the penalty unless there are extenuating circumstances.

“Even if a student cannot be in class to submit a paper, I tell them they should send it as an email attachment on the due date,” said Wattley.

The most common excuse for Wattley’s classes is student illness. The most memorable excuse a student has told her is that the student’s computer was infected with a virus that erased her essay as she was typing it.

Professor Michael Finewood of the Environmental Studies and Science department says he does not accept late assignments unless the student discusses it with him ahead of time, but he does offer extra points through other assignments if the student wishes to make up the points.

“Policies are hard to enforce universally because students and situations can be so different,” Finewood explained. “The absolute best thing a student can do is reach out and talk to the professor about it, preferably before the assignment is due. Just don’t assume the solution will be what you want.”

Most commonly, students will tell Finewood that they did not know what assignment was due, when it was due, or where it was due. Even though this information is usually in the class syllabus or in an email, Finewood will periodically accept late assignments.

“I try to take each student’s experience into account,” said Finewood. “But it is also hard because you want to be consistent with your policies and fair to yourself. Late assignments usually mean more work for the professor.”

All professors at Pace have had their fair share of student excuses for missed or late work. Students should remember that it is most helpful to communicate with their professors about assignments they struggle to finish on time because that is likely the only way professors will be able—and willing—to help.

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About the Writer
Callie Anderson, Contributing Writer

My name is Callie Anderson, and I am a first year Global Studies major with a concentration in political science. I enjoy covering news stories and connecting...

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