Class starts at 12:30. It’s 12:37. Your professor is nowhere to be found. People are muttering about being able to leave after — what was it — ten minutes? No, fifteen. That is the rule, isn’t it? If the professor is not in class after fifteen minutes have passed, the students can leave. Right?
The rumor is that after fifteen minutes of class with no professor, students are free to go. Different versions of the “15-minute rule” have to do with the status of the professor. If they have a doctorate you wait fifteen minutes, but if they have a master’s degree, you only wait ten.
Unfortunately, this is not true — at least not for Huntington University students.
There is nothing in the handbook about this rule.
Junior Marty Harris says she’s never been in a class where the professor didn’t show up.
“The latest a professor has ever been was maybe six minutes at max,” Harris says. “Even if it was a rule, I don’t think it would ever get used.”
It did, however, get used for a Drawing I class fall semester of 2016. After adjunct professor Brandon Furniss was nowhere to be found for his 1 o’clock class, students decided to take the absence into their own hands.
Sophomores Sarah Bradford and Kara Mounsey said their class was aware of the rule and collectively decided they would adhere to it—after a precise 15 minutes, of course.
“We waited to hear from him for a while, [like] an email or something,” Mounsey says.
After not receiving any word, they decided they would make sure he knew they were all present.
“We took a selfie, sent it to him, and left,” Bradford adds.
The next day, another art professor told the students their MIA teacher was actually in a minor car accident, and that’s why he was tardy.
“We were kind of joking about a situation like that,” Mounsey says. “But we really didn’t think it would happen.”
“Responsibility goes both ways between the instructors and the students,” chemistry professor Philip Janowicz is quoted saying in an article published in the University of California, Fullerton’s newspaper. “If we are 5 minutes late, running in, that’s OK, but if I am 15 minutes late and there is no indication of where I am going to be, feel free to leave. There is no responsibility on the students part because, obviously, I’m not showing responsibility.”
This seems to be the idea of a few professors around campus, including Luke Fetters, professor of ministry and missions.
“I expect my students to show up to class on time,” he explains, “so they should expect the same out of me.”
Fetters says he would probably send an email if he was running late or not showing up.
HU isn’t the only university that has no official policy on this rule. Taylor University also has nothing in their handbook. In an email, Barbra Bird, dean of faculty development at Taylor, says that they leave the discretion to the professors.
“The professors can make their own rule if they feel it’s necessary,” Bird says.
Although there’s no official rule on leaving, 90 out of the 100 students in a convenience survey through Twitter said they believed the rule was true.
Junior Justin Coleman was no stranger to the faux fact. In the fall of 2016, his adjunct historical perspectives professor, Jennifer Reeve, didn’t quite make it to class on time.
“I waited for the 15-minute mark,” Coleman said. “As soon as it hit, I jetted up out of there.”
Unlike the unfortunate car accident of the art class, Coleman never figured out why Reeve never joined the class.
“I didn’t care enough to wonder,” Coleman said. “All I know is that it gave me a day off class.”