This WU is in particular about mandatory attendance in college
and why I think it is a very bad idea
There are some classes that perhaps can bear skipping once in a while. Perhaps you already know about whatever's being taught that week. Perhaps the prof is a complete failure when it comes to lecturing skills. Perhaps you just have something better to do. In order for this to work, quizzes would have to be abolished, as would most exams, and only midterm and final exams could really be used.
This writeup is prompted by the incredibly rude people in my class --- that is, of the same major and year as me at my university. They insist on talking continually, often over the professor's lecture. We're not talking about a large lecture hall here, but rather a room that holds around 40 students, max, with a relatively low ceiling, and no soundproofing to speak of.
Obviously for these people, regardless of the above points, the most important thing to them is their social life, which just can't stay out of the classroom. I mean, this isn't elementary school where all of your time is spent in the same room. You only have to sit in lecture 50 to 75 minutes, and then you are free. Many of these people would rather be out of the classroom as I suggest, doing whatever it is highly social people do, or even just carrying on the same conversations that they do in class.
It would be very beneficial to all parties involved if attendance were not required. Many college courses do not officially require attendance, though some do. Regardless of the professor, the university usually does. Outside of that, quizzes and homeworks, due in class, generally mandate attendance on those days. Were none of these things factors, the people that did not want to come to class, did not want to hear lecture, that do not care or get sufficient information from the textbook, would not have to attend, and people that chose to would not have to try to listen to a lecture over the babble of the other people in the room.
Instead of being more lax about this, universities are moving to more strict policies, with greater penalties. At least mine is. Maybe I should just go to Oxford.
I suppose the origins of mandatory attendance range back to the idea of shepherding students. The idea is to move people through the school, and maintain retention. I attend a private university, so maybe this behavior is profit-driven. I think a writeup from a different type of uni might be a good complement to this one. Without this mandatory attendance, people might not attend class, they might flunk, and there may be a decrease in income for the university. How dreadful.