January 23, 2019 | ° F

Rutgers reviews class syllabus after students complain it violates policy


Professor Glass has since apologized for a policy that does not excuse student absences for Yom Kippur


Front-Arnold Glass-Rutgers.edu
Photo by Rutgers.edu |

Arnold Glass, a professor in the Department of Psychology, emailed students apologizing for his policy that does not excuse student absences during Yom Kippur, after initially defending his syllabus in a statement to The Daily Targum.


A class syllabus is under review by Rutgers following a series of student complaints claiming a professor is in violation of University policy.

Arnold Glass, a professor in the Department of Psychology, is teaching a cognition course this semester that some students have taken issue with, including its dress code, grading policy, prohibition of cell phone use and unexcused absence for the Jewish holiday Yom Kippur, according to student complaints submitted to The Daily Targum and posted on Reddit

Most recently, in an email to his students, Glass apologized for preventing them from going home for the Jewish holidays and said it was in violation of Rutgers policy, according to an email obtained by the Targum. It is unknown whether changes to the syllabus have been made.

Prior to this, University spokesperson Neal Buccino said, “Rutgers is reviewing the concerns raised by students to determine whether the class syllabus violates University policy, and commends the students for coming forward. Rutgers is home to one of America’s largest and most vibrant Jewish student populations and prides itself on having an inclusive campus culture,” according to an email sent to the Targum. 

The syllabus states that:

Missing class for Yom Kippur will not be excused. The syllabus states there is adequate time for students to make it to service on campus after the end of class. 
Students should dress appropriately and should not put their feet on the seat in front of them.
A student who asks a question that is already on the syllabus will have a point deducted from their final grade.
If a student is called on in class and does not respond, but responses were recorded for them, they will fail the course — regardless of whether they were not paying attention or stepped out of class for a moment. 
Anyone using a camera, camera phone or any other unauthorized recording device will receive an F in the course.

The syllabus adds, “If you miss class because you choose to go home for the holiday then the reason for the absence is a personal preference, not a religious obligation and it is not an excused absence.”

Some students claimed this is not enough time to make it from class, back home and to service on time and that there are preparational aspects to the holiday that make it difficult to meet this time constraint. 

In an email to the Targum, Glass said he always attends holiday service on campus and has been able to make it on time. He added that students have the option of taking the 3:20 to 4:40 p.m. section he teaches prior to the 5:00 to 6:20 p.m. class and that this is the first year he remembers class conflicting with service in a decade. 

“I cannot remember seeing for a very long time a student specially dressed up for the evening service. In fact, I cannot ever remember seeing any of my students at the service. So I am skeptical that there has been a real student who I inconvenienced,” he said in the email.

In regard to his other policies, Glass said it is his responsibility to teach students how to dress appropriately, not “semi-nude,” in a way that promotes acceptance of diversity and does not offend or threaten others. 

“Anything that you would not wear to a white collar job in an office, you should not be wearing to class ... People are, appropriately, judged on their first appearances because these are their personal advertisements for themselves. How a person dresses is an indication of how much respect they have for the people around them,” he said. 

Glass said students who do not attend lecture but claim class credit on their phones are being deliberately deceptive and deserve a failure. He feels those who ask questions that are already answered in the syllabus disrespect him and his time, according to the email. 


Christian Zapata

News@dailytargum.com

Christian Zapata is a School of Arts and Sciences senior majoring in journalism and media studies and minoring in philosophy. He is a news editor @ The Daily Targum. For more updates, follow him @c_zapata161 on Twitter. 




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