I have a student who's missed class since about the second week of classes. Stu hasn't turned in much in the way of required work for the class (a couple quizzes from the first week, that sort of thing).
Stu, as you might have guessed, has a serious medical problem. We've been in touch by email, and I helped him get in touch with the proper campus folks early in the semester.
Yesterday, I got an email from a deanling in that office basically asking us (the collective instructors of this student's classes) to do what we could to help him catch up. So this morning, I emailed back for clarification, giving the deanling the numbers about work completed and work not completed, and suggesting that withdrawing was the best idea for this student.
This afternoon, I was coming out of a meeting in the big shots' building and saw the deanling. He waved me over and asked for a minute to clarify the email. Sounds good.
The deanling, let's call him "F the deanling," said that it wasn't a good idea for Stu to withdraw because he'd lose eligibility for [sport]. I clarified, asking if [sport] was happening this semester. Yes, F the deanling assured me, it is, and Stu has been doing well and is getting a lot of support from the coach.
Then F the deanling suggested that maybe Stu could catch up on the five weeks he's missed, if I could give him more help. I'm sorry, I said, but I just don't have the time to teach an extra five hours a week. F the deanling then suggested that Stu could work with the tutoring center, or the professor involved in directing the tutoring center, to catch up. I asked if F the deanling thought that teaching a class might require more than a tutor, and suggested that the professor directing the center might not have an extra five hours a week, either.
F the deanling then suggested that Stu could take an incomplete, and I could help him make it up over the summer. And here, having tenure, I told F the deanling that I wasn't working unpaid over the summer, and that it was unreasonable to ask. And to F the deanling's credit, he agreed that he shouldn't actually ask that.
Then F the deanling wondered if Stu couldn't just do the work left to do for the class and make up what he could in order to pass. Like pretty much every college class I can think of, this one builds skills so that students need to have practiced and learned the skills in the early assignments in order to succeed at the later assignments. Imagine saying, well, the student missed the first half of German 1, but hey, they'll just finish the rest of the class and that will be fine. So I said I didn't really think that would work. F the deanling frowned.
So I asked how he expected Stu to catch up in all his other classes. If a student has missed five weeks of a full class load, it's pretty nigh impossible to catch up over the rest of the semester. There just aren't that many hours in a week. That's when F the deanling told me that Stu had been going to the other classes, more or less, along with [sport]. (But then, Stu apparently told F the deanling that he had done a fair bit of work for my class, too.)
So, Stu is well enough to play [sport] and attend some classes, but not mine? Yeah, I'm afraid I'm less than fully sympathetic.
F the deanling emphasized how important it is to maintain Stu's eligibility to play the sport; it's one of those cases when being in the sport is all that is keeping Stu focused on college. (Stu must be really good at this sport, to be playing already as a first year, eh?)
I know I'm a bitch, but really if a student is well enough to play [sport], s/he is well enough to fail a class.
I'm really pissed at F the deanling, seriously irritated. It's not that the student was BSing with me; this was a deanling, someone who should actually be focused on helping students get an education not maintain eligibility.