Call me cruel, but I love this stuff:
Dear Mr. ———,
This letter is just my opinion, but I think many of the other students will agree. I want you to know that I enjoy your class, and actually look forward to coming. However, I think that 3 hrs is way too long. I know that it is the time given to you, but I am sure that by the last hour of class most or all of the studens are in a different zone.
Three batches of posts on the Chronicle of Higher Ed's Wired Campus blog here, here and here. More on the associate Chronicle forum.
The comments on the posts are great too, even if there is the occasional spoilsport:
How smug and mean-spirited to drag out these emails in public and sneer at them. We shouldn’t throw stones in our academic glass house. Yes, some students make lame excuses and some lie. But we also have to remember that our students are people, and not objects to ridicule. As for the second e-mail in this article, it may have been poorly written, but we must remember that technology does occasionally fail even the most cautious of students. I say this as both an IT professional and an educator.This student may have been making up an excuse, but s/he also just may have been frustrated and anxious to the point of tears. One never knows.
And just to prove I'm an equal opportunity mocker, here's a link to Ellen Degeneres's post on librarians.