Campus myths: Tardy professors

By Matthew Rainwater

After settling into a seat for the first class of the day, textbook open, notebook and pen ready, you find yourself staring blankly at the front of the classroom, with no professor in sight.

What choices do you have? Either patiently wait for the professor to finally arrive, or just leave.

Your professor doesn’t show up after 10 minutes of waiting. Are students allowed to leave? Maybe after 15 minutes? Many students and even some NIU faculty don’t know the answer.

Question: True or false, does NIU have a policy about how long a student must wait for a professor who doesn’t show up to class on time?

False: There is no policy, but students leave anyway.

– Nicole Meo, junior special education major

True: There is a policy: Students can wait 15 minutes and then leave.

– Spencer Williamson, sophomore marketing major

False: It’s a myth that was created by students.

– Emily Mohan, physical therapy graduate student

True: There is a policy, because I’ve heard it from other people.

– Dan Melchin, junior communication major

The final word

While students may disagree on this popular myth, Vice Provost Earl Seaver says there is no actual policy in place about students having the option to leave if a professor hasn’t shown up after 15 minutes. Nowhere in the NIU student handbook does a policy such as this exist.

“It’s just one of those things that gets passed on from group to group over the years,” Seaver said. “This myth has been around for as long as I’ve remembered, even from being a graduate student.”

NIU Ombudsman Tim Griffin polls thousands of students and faculty members throughout the year and always finds half of those polled think there is an actual policy. Griffin says this is a very common myth well-known throughout campus.

“I get calls all the time from students that feel it’s unfair for a teacher to mark them as absent and dock their grade,” Griffin said. “I always have to tell them that there’s no actual policy for this, and have to ask them if the professor stated their own policy on this in the class before.”

This popular, well-known myth has officially been busted.