By Dylan Morris; The Whetstone
Dr. Anthony Armstrong sat at his desk during the last week of classes for the semester when a student walked into his office.
Although Armstrong knew he was in a class he taught, he had never seen the student before or received any of the course work from him.
The student insisted he give him a D for the class. Not a chance.
“He then threatened that he would go to the academic dean with untrue accusations that could get me fired,” Armstrong said. “I told him to go ahead. He didn’t follow through with his threat.”
Wesley College professors said they’ve heard it all when it comes to student excuses for not doing work – let alone threats like the one Armstrong received.
“I even had a father of a student who was failing several of my classes call me from New Jersey implying he was with the Mafia,” Armstrong said.
Some students blame their animals or their computers.
“The best one recently was that a student’s cat destroyed his homework, then a couple of weeks later it was his dog – and he had pictures from both,” said Dr. Cynthia Newton. “There are a lot of relatives that die, graphic descriptions of illnesses, convenient computer problems, and the ever popular Wesley IT-related ones.”
Junior London Young aid she often uses technical issues as an excuse.
“I usually say the printer wasn’t working, the computer was down, or the Wi-Fi was off,” she said.
Dr. James Wilson said the most common excuse he’s heard has to do with corrupted files.
“Students seem to know that a file can be corrupted at upload, meaning a file name will go through but the professor will be unable to open the document,” he said. “So, if a student simply uploads a blank document, he or she can say that it must have been corrupted. This can give them just enough time for the student to complete the work when asked.”
What students don’t seem to know is that there is a way to tell if a file is actually corrupted. Corrupted files will show a zero kilobyte file size when uploaded, whereas a blank file will load as one kilobyte, he said.
“Moreover, a file’s history can be examined,” Wilson said. “If a file has been worked on for any length of time and has multiple saves along the way, we can see it in the file’s statistics.”
Sometimes a student uses an old favorite.
“I just say that I was sick,” freshman Ariana Reza said.
Another professor said that family emergencies are common excuses.
“One student had a nest of angry bees in their chimney and had to get it removed,” Dr. Brantley Craig said. “I’m more accepting when people are genuine about getting the work to me as quickly as possible.”
Dr. Nancy Rubino said that the most unusual excuse she heard was that a student’s horse sat on the student and broke several of her ribs.
“It ended up being a true story and the student was hospitalized as a result of the injury,” she said.