News - October 11, 2012

Proposition: Latecomers should not be allowed in to lectures and exams

Marlies Bos (the left-wing fluffy type) and Jillis Herweijer (the right-wing Hooray Henry type) rarely see eye to eye on matters of politics, the environment or student life.

Marlies: My brother tells stories about lecturers who lock the door when they are ready to start (in Amsterdam). The same thing must happen at other universities. But here I can recall few lectures where no one arrived late. Even the lecturer. Of course, it is annoying for others, but to lock the door in response? I think that is a massive overreaction. And there is a good chance it wasn't the person's own fault. Who wants to have to study again for a resit because of a bicycle puncture? And public transport to Wageningen is not always great. I know that often it is your own fault, but I think measures like this are ridiculous. And very un-Wageningen. Let's keep our relaxed attitude.
Jillis responds: It is a shame you let your own 'relaxed attitude' take precedence over the way a lecture is supposed to proceed. Try asking lecturers what they think and you will learn how hugely irritating it is. The same goes for many students who make the effort to be on time only to be disturbed by someone behaving oh so relaxed.
Jillis: Everyone is familiar with the phenomenon: the lecture has already started and people are still dribbling in for at least the first 10 minutes. It is immensely disruptive for both the lecturer and students. And if it stops after 10 minutes, you are lucky! Often people arrive much later. That is why I'm in favour of the lecturer locking the door when the lecture begins. It is extremely childish but necessary, unfortunately. Many students themselves are evidently so childish that they cannot arrive on time. It should be introduced for exams as well. The fact that fewer students are late for exams shows that it is a question of mentality. It shows that you have to compel people to be on time. Otherwise some people will carry on their lazy habits.

Marlies responds: Personally I do not think it is so bad and I know few people who are as irritated by it as you are suggesting. In my experience it resolves itself if you simply point it out to the person. Locking doors smacks of using a sledge hammer to crack a walnut, if you ask me.