UW student gov: Requiring doctors' notes for missing class is racist

The Associated Students of the University of Washington Board of Directors passed a resolution calling on the university to ban professors from asking for doctor notes if a student is absent.

The resolution was passed by a vote of 49-0-2 on November 7 and says that the ASUW “strongly endorses the revision of Student Governance and Policies Chapter 112 to specifically prohibit faculty from requiring documentation from medical professionals to determine whether to grant accommodations for student absences due to short-term medical causes...”

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Justification for the resolution includes that doctor excuse notes may be racist by, “requiring students to procure and submit medical excuse notes significantly disadvantages students from marginalized communities who are less likely to be adequately insured (low-income students, Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students, minority students, etc.)”

Another concern the students brought forth in the resolution is that the health center is overbooked which can make it difficult for students to get excuse notes, “Hall Health is booked to and overcapacity, thus students who want to procure medical excuse notes without having a substantial medical need are inadvertently decreasing access for students with who require care and need to be seen.”

Sam Ayeko, the ASUW Director of University Affairs, said during the meeting that they did not want to define specific medical conditions because they do not want to define definitions to the faculty and do not want to sidetrack faculty senate conversations.

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The ASUW says that they are passing this resolution to encourage faculty groups, “to develop guidance and curricular support to strengthen student-faculty communication concerning student absences, ensure the academic integrity of student work, and promote the health and well-being of all University of Washington students.” 

Campus Reform reached out to the ASUW and the University of Washington but both declined to comment.

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