Professor late, how long should you wait? The 15-minute Myth

Many students at Citrus College have heard the myth that they are allowed to leave after waiting 15 minutes for their professor to show up; however, there is no official rule saying that students can or cannot leave.

“There is nothing in writing,” said Brenda S. Fink, manager of human resources and staff diversity, of the myth.

Though there is no official rule set, students like Aaron Fuentes, architecture major, believes that it exists.

“In my English class, the professor didn’t show,” Fuentes said. “He said the next day that he forgot to tell them last class.”

Other students have heard the myth and choose not to believe in it.

“I’ve been hearing it since high school, but I don’t see why not,” Joshua Montellano, computer science major, said.

Students are not the only ones unsure of the myth. Dr. Arvid Spor, dean of academic affairs, said that he was unsure of an actual rule being in place that states if students can leave or not.

Having been a professor of English, Dr. Gina Hogan, dean of language arts and library, recommends students be the one to take initiative and ask someone, such as Campus Safety.

Another way to find out if a professor will show up for class is by checking with the dean of the department that the professor is teaching, Fink said.

Nowadays, professors and students are better able to communicate through technology to notify if they are not going to be to class on time whether through email, cell phone or Canvas, Spor said.

Spor said it is common to see postings left on the doors of classes in which the professor is not able to make it or is running late, however, there are times when the posting has not yet been made yet, so waiting for a little while is best.

“Students should wait a little longer than 15 minutes, because there is always traffic and situations that pop up,” Fuentes said.

When students are late, professors do not simply lock them out. Instead, they allow them time to arrive to class, which is what students should do for professors, Cathy Day, administrative secretary, said.

Overall, students should take initiative to find out where there professor is and show respect by giving them time to arrive, Day said.

At the very least, students should wait and make a roster to provide proof that they were there, Spor said.


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