ASMSU academic committee discusses grief absence policy
The latest ASMSU Academic Committee meeting featured a presentation on the Grief Absence Policy and potential revisions.
Assistant Dean for University Advising Debra Dotterer spoke on this topic, and told ASMSU that they're looking at revisions to make the policy clearer for students.
Dotterer began her presentation by explaining what the policy's purpose is.
“One of the things we’ve been asked to do is take a look at the Grief Absence Policy, which is something ASMSU worked with the University Council of Undergraduate Education in developing to support students who encounter some type of grief event with a family member or close friend,” Dotterer said.
One aspect, clearing up who qualifies as a relative or loved one, comes after Dotterer said a number of students filed grief absence claims following the loss of a pet.
“I could easily see where a student could think — I mean pets are an important part of our lives," Dotterer said. "We have pets that are service animals. We have pets that are support animals. They can be an important thing, so I can see where a student would think that, but they can’t. So, we are looking at clarifying that piece a little bit more.”
Dotterer also responded a question from the committee regarding acceptable verification to prove that one is truly out of school due to loss.
“We’re working on trying to standardize that," Dotterer said. "Let me explain why the letter from the funeral director is what is the preferred because sometimes you might have a grief absence for someone that is not related to you. So, your name is not going to be listed in the obituary.”
The meeting also featured reports from ASMSU's Office of the President. Vice President for Governmental Affairs Tyler VanHuyse gave an update to the committee regarding his department's research into a bill passed in the Michigan state senate that would allow people to concealed carry in formerly forbidden areas.
“This bill that’s being pushed through the legislature right now, it’s passed in the senate and it’s going to the house, did not have an opt-out for local municipalities, which means that people could potentially just carry guns concealed into school districts and into schools,” VanHuyse said.
However, VanHuyse noted that it may not impact Michigan State University's policies regarding guns on campus.
“I know that the university has regulations on this kind of policy, guns on campus specifically, and to my knowledge from our research, it does not seem like they will be affected, but we’re still going to be doing research in order to make sure that that is the case,” VanHuyse said.