Take a look. The school in question is Dartmouth, but the problem is widespread throughout colleges and universities.
My policy for absenteeism is simply this: I don't care if you skip or not since everyone is free to torpedo themselves as much as they are free to work hard to succeed -- the choice is yours. But know this: You skip my class at your own peril. So don't come crying to me later.
I've purposefully designed my classes so that in order to do well on my exams, you have to BOTH do all the reading assignments AND come to the class lectures. Yes, I am wickedly controlling the information as much as I can. Besides, I'm an awesome lecturer, so you don't come, you're missing out, so there! :-P
I have had some students whine that I assign too much reading, to which my standard reply is "Shut up and get back to work. If you spent as much time working as you do whining, you'd be done with your assignment already." OK, I use more diplomatic language than that, but the basic message is the same.
I have to say, though, there's been a new wrinkle on the "lazy student who doesn't want to read" phenomenon. I got this question last week: "The syllabus says we're supposed to read pages 50-100. Are we really supposed to read all 50 pages?" *snort of derision* ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
What I wanted to say: "Yes, and just for being a pain in my neck, you get to do a class presentation on those 50 pages and also write a full book review of the entire monograph that the 50-page selection came from."
What I actually said: "Yes."