Students deal with attendance policy and Seahawk parade

Junior Alex Gallo and first-year Kiera Stevens hold a sign at the Seahawk parade in Seattle on Feb. 5. 2014. Gallo's professor dropped him from his class for attending the parade without making prior arrangements.
Junior Alex Gallo and first-year Kiera Stevens hold a sign at the Seahawk parade in Seattle on Feb. 5. 2014. Gallo’s professor dropped him from his class for attending the parade without making prior arrangements. Photo courtesy of Alex Gallo.

Unlike Seattle Public Schools, which excused absences for students who attended the Seahawk parade Feb. 5, Pacific Lutheran University made no exception to its attendance policy.

The day before both the Seahawk parade in Seattle and the first day of spring semester,  Academic Advising emailed students a reminder of the PLU’s first-day attendance policy: students who don’t attend class on the first day may be dropped from the course.

Junior Alex Gallo, who attended the parade celebrating the Seahawks first Super Bowl win in franchise history, was dropped from a religion class, but said it was worth it.

“It was worth the risk, for me personally,” Gallo said. “I lost a class, but picked up another. I had a really great experience talking to fans.”

Gallo found a class that fulfilled other requirements for graduation, so he wasn’t too concerned, he said.

After receiving the email from Academic Advising, Gallo emailed his professors, but didn’t get a response. He said he would have emailed them regardless.

He didn’t specifically say he was attending the parade, but made it obvious he was going to Seattle to celebrate. Gallo told professors he was “going to visit his Hawk family up north.”

After no response, he decided to go to Seattle. “Basically, I didn’t get told I couldn’t go,” Gallo said.

Regardless, he received an email from the Office of the Registrar, informing him he was dropped from the class for not making prior arrangements with the professor.

Gallo said he does not regret his decision to attend. “Looking back, I would say I’m glad I did it and a part of something that big and that collective,” Gallo said. “It’s neat to be able to say I was a part of history.”

However, Gallo wasn’t the only PLU student to join the hundreds of thousands of Seahawk fans in Seattle.

First-year Angelo Mejia attended the parade and was not dropped from the one class he skipped.

Mejia, who also attended the rally at Century Link Field, left Tacoma at noon, found a free parking space near the parade and joined the crowed before the Seahawks passed.

Mejia also emailed his professor and didn’t get a response, but said he felt the parade was worth the risk of losing a class.

“It’s a historical moment,” Mejia said. “Looking back later, I can say I was at the first Seahawks Super Bowl parade – that’s pretty cool.”

As a ROTC student, Mejia is required to have all the classes he wants to take planned out. He knew before attending the parade that if dropped, he could take the class next spring.

“I took responsibility and emailed my professor,” Mejia said. “If you want to do something that is important to you, tell your professor.”

Unlike Mejia and Gallo, some students were unable to take this risk, like junior Steven Bock. “I felt after reading the Academic Advising email that if my professors enforced it, I could risk a lot,” Bock said.

Bock’s class is a prerequisite for Capstone. If dropped, he would be forced to do a “victory lap,” or stay at PLU an extra year. “Victory laps are common in my major unfortunately,” Bock said.

Bock said he wanted to join the 12th Man for the parade and wished PLU had made an exception to the first-day attendance policy. “From the perspective of a student, [one day] is not a big loss, but it’s going against a few of PLU’s core values,” Bock said.

Unlike many students, Bock did not find the email from Academic Advising threatening. “By telling students about the policy beforehand and not acting like a surprise, I think that was actually a considerate thing to do,” Bock said.

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