By Charles J Paulin
BANGOR, Maine– Athletes under Husson’s totalitarian and juvenile attendance policy (granting the University among certain students the nickname “Husson High”) have been forced to suffer as of late. As if the attendance policy wasn’t harmful enough to the average student (the inherent lack of trust itself is rather insulting) under normal circumstances, student athletes seem to have been specifically targeted.
Brianna Bires, a junior in the Journalism major at the New England School of Communications, plays on the Husson softball team. Over Spring Break, Brianna and her teammate Olivia Smith are traveling with the rest of the team to Clermont, Florida to train for the upcoming season.
Bires says of the impending spring training: “I am really excited, it is a great opportunity to make our team better and get ready for our upcoming season.” The softball team leaves for Clermont on Friday, March 3, a day which most of the team has classes.
Despite the knowledge of sports teams’ schedules, Husson does not count sports absences as excused absences, which seems like a deliberate move on Husson’s part to make student athletes more prone to failing classes.
“It’s hard because [Husson] wants students to be student-athletes but expects you to always go to class [even though] you are going to miss class for games,” Bires explains. For certain classes, depending on how many times a week they occur, missing more than one class can be grounds for failing a class.
Being a student athlete requires more organization on the part of the students because of class and game conflicts. Further work is necessary for student athletes to not miss anything crucial to passing the class. “I make sure my work is always done, and if I am not going to be in class, I still turn it in and make sure I don’t miss anything,” Bires said.
Despite putting in extra work organizationally, some students still have trouble fitting homework and study time, mandatory class time, socializing, twice daily team practice, games, let alone taking care of themselves emotionally and physically. Smith said, “I do find it affects my grades. My grades can start to slide a bit when we are on the road a lot. Most of the time the buses have wifi so [I’m] able to do homework, but sometimes we don’t get so lucky and that makes it harder to get things done. You just have to use your time wisely that’s for sure.” Time management is something the average college student struggles with, without the further pressures of practices and games, as well as mandatory attendance. Bires even had a bad experience with one particular professor who tried to fail her for missing classes due to softball games.
Smith said, “I personally don’t like the Husson attendance policy. I am paying for the class so if i want to miss more classes than what Husson allows I should be able to. This is college, not elementary school. I find it annoying.”