This is a pretty incredible story:
As I mentioned, earlier in the week, I received an email from a student at UC Davis. I won't directly reproduce her email here, but the back story is that she is friends with a veterinary student at the university and, as a result, became privy to a communication sent fro the presidents of the 3rd year students to the rest of the class. The note reads:
One of our classmates recently gave birth and will be out of class for an unknown period of time. This means she will undoubtedly miss one, or more, or all quizzes in VMD 444. Dr. Feldman is not sure how to handle this and has requested the class give input and vote. He has provided us with 6 options on which to vote and is open to any other ideas you may have. Most likely a CERE poll will be up next week and a voting will close no later than Wednesday. If you have other suggestions please email them to Dan or I ASAP. We will alert you to the opening of voting. Below are listed the options that Dr. Feldman has suggested. Please reserve comment on these options and provide us your opinion on them by voting when the time comes. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.
a) automatic A final grade
b) automatic B final grade
c) automatic C final grade
d) graded the same as everyone else: best 6 quiz scores out of a possible 7 quiz scores (each quiz only given only once in class with no repeats)
e) just take a % of quiz scores (for example: your classmate takes 4 quizzes, averages 9/10 points = 90% = A)
f) give that student a single final exam at the end of the quarter (however this option is only available to this one student, all others are graded on the best 6 quiz scores and the % that results)
Please let us know if you have other thoughts on how to handle this situation and please keep your eye out for the upcoming vote.
Thank you for your time and consideration,
A full-scale denunciation of the "proposal" is set forth at the linked blog. What's absurd isn't just having students vote on how to grade a classmate for being pregnant -- which might not even require any accommodation! -- but that the faculty member didn't do the obvious thing when confronted with a situation beyond his or her capacity for managing:
Go to the Dean of Students and ask him/her to see if any accommodation is needed and if so, to recommend said accommodation.
Over my past nine years of teaching, I've had three Deans of Students (two at Iowa, one at Lewis & Clark), and they have all been wonderful at interfacing with students who ask for accommodations. A good Dean of Students makes life on this front easy for faculty members by making recommendations in such situations. They obviously have far more experience than I would at determining what is or is not a reasonable accommodation.
To be sure, there's no indication from the email that the student in question actually did request an accommodation, which makes the situation even worse. But even if the faculty member were being proactive -- maybe imagining something like "what if she goes into labor during the final exam?" -- it would still make much more sense to check with the Dean of Students.