At Texas State, instructors are free to establish their own attendance policy, as long as it is reasonable and fairly implemented (see PPS 4.01.10). This policy must be specifically stated on the syllabus.
Faculty can, if they wish, have a policy in which a student's grade is lowered after a particular number of absences. In practice, they may want to take into consideration extenuating circumstances (such as illnesses or documented emergencies). It is important, however, to make sure that the policy is consistent -- if leniency can be given to one student, it should be given to all students who share similar circumstances.
It's also a good idea to explain the purpose of attendance on the syllabus, especially in FYE classes with workshops, hands-on learning, and student-centered pedagogy. Because so much of the work in FYE is done in class, student attendance is truly valuable and necessary.
Instructors can't control or eliminate grade appeals, but they can do their best to reduce them and to make their policies as defensible as possible. The English Department encourages all faculty to have defensible, consistent attendance policies in their syllabuses.
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