‘A nasty thing to do’: Some Sauder profs are locking late students out of Zoom

A new online lecture late policy from a small number of Sauder professors has left some students frustrated.

According to a September 29 post on the r/UBC subreddit by user RampagingBoner69, some Sauder professors have enacted a rule of locking the Zoom meeting five to ten minutes after class starts. Those who are locked out lose participation marks.

The user, who did not respond to an interview request, called the new policy “absolute bullshit,” noting that such a rule would not exist within a normal classroom setting. A majority of commenters supported these sentiments, stating that the policy is unfair, especially for those who face technical difficulties like faulty Wi-Fi connections.

Instructors adopted the policy to mirror a professional setting, the user said. “They have some rule that’s like a meeting and in real life you have to be on time,” wrote RampagingBoner69 in a comment.

Commerce Undergraduate Society (CUS) President Kristian Oppenheim said he understands professors’ motivations but believes they executed the rule poorly.

“Especially being online, compassion is so important, and locking students out just because they came late, that’s just a nasty thing to do.”

While the extent of this policy is unclear, it is not faculty wide. Oppenheim estimated that around five courses have such a rule in place.

Oppenheim first heard of the late policy while campaigning for CUS president earlier this year. Since being elected, Oppenheim has continued to receive complaints through the CUS’s academic portfolio.

“I have yet to speak directly to any of the professors who are doing it. And, considering that I have spoken to quite a few [faculty], I think that is a good testament to the fact that there are not a ton who are doing it.”

A comment under the Reddit post identified COMM 205 and 292 as classes that have adopted the new rule but three professors of these courses have denied this claim in emails to The Ubyssey.

The CUS has regularly been in contact with faculty members as they try to resolve the issue. Most reactions from professors have been sympathetic toward students, viewing the rule as “ludicrous,” according to Oppenheim but the CUS is limited in its ability to change academic policies of professors.

“In the CUS jurisdiction, we don’t have the ability to make profs to outright change academic policy,” he said. “We can advocate and collect information and then we can deliver that to the faculty for the faculty to make that decision.”

In an emailed statement, Dr. Kin Lo, senior associate dean of students for Sauder, acknowledged that the faculty was aware of student concerns.

“Please be advised that Sauder does not have a blanket policy on this issue, but in accordance with the principles of academic freedom, professors are able to set their own conditions on lateness and attendance so it is possible that some classes have made this a rule,” he said, suggesting that students speak directly to their professors to express their concerns.