By Janice Phonepraseuth
OSCARplus, McMaster’s online career portal, has a “No-Show Policy” that is effective when students who have signed up for an event fail to show up and fail to cancel their registration. It seems, however, that students don’t know about it.
The policy states that after the first and second “no-shows,” students will receive a warning email from the campus office. After the third “no-show,” students will receive an email with a contact for the career centre. The student then has to explain why they didn’t attend the events.
If there is no justification given for why the student has missed the event, the student will be barred from signing up for any more events for the remainder of the academic year. They will be able to register for events again in September of the following academic year.
When entering the event, students are asked to present their student ID cards, which will provide information that is used to track the student’s attendance.
Although the policy was implemented in 2007, many students do not know about it. The Student Accountability Policy is not stated on the OSCARplus website itself, but is found through a link under “Student Resources.”
It was created by a student accountability committee, and is supported by career and co-op related offices in the faculties of business, engineering, social sciences, and science.
Students, upper-year and first-year, were surprised to hear about this policy and thought it should be clarified.
Souzan Mirza, a first year student, said, “I didn’t even know about the policy until I got the first email. When I tried to find it, I didn’t find it through legitimate routes, I found it through the MacInsiders website which isn’t run by the school but the students.”
“I don’t condone it; I think there should be more than 3 strikes before you’re out. People may want to sign up for many things and things happen and they can’t make it,” said Lindsay Ceschia, a second year Honours Social Psychology student. “They should put something visible that everyone can see right when they are signing up,”
Gisela Oliveira, Employment Services Coordinator at McMaster’s Student Success Centre, explained why the policy was established.
“We were having a lot of trouble with attendance for these events. Companies were coming on campus with a specific number of guests in mind, when only half of that amount showed up,” she said.
“The issue here is kind of bi-fold: first is missed opportunities for students, and second is the school’s relationship with the employers.”
By following this procedure, students get their opportunity to participate in these events, and the school’s relationship with the employer is unharmed.
“I thought it was a bit much that it’s for the whole year, but I guess it makes sense because they don’t want people registering for the events and not showing up,” said Mirza.
One fourth-year honours political science and religious studies student agreed. “I understand the reasoning behind the switch,” he said, “but the fact that they’re limiting student opportunities for success is a little discouraging.”
The policy was set up to ensure students who signed up for these events showed up. If they cannot attend, students must cancel their registration online by 11:55pm the night before the event on OSCARplus, or by 9 a.m. on the day of the event, by phone or in-person. Students who fail to do so are marked as a “no-show.”
Oliveira noted that there are exceptions for students who become ill shortly before the event takes place.
“So when we send you the ‘no-show’ email, you contact us and explain to us that you were ill, and the ‘no-show’ is removed. There are exceptions,” said Oliveira.
“It was implemented…to teach accountability to students and also to keep the relationships we have with employers,” she explained. But it remains to be seen whether the students need to learn to be accountable, or whether the system could be more accountable to student needs.