Although faculty meetings can be hazardous to one's emotional well-being, they are nevertheless a seemingly necessary evil. Attendance is not mandatory, but it's best to go if you can. Sometimes, however, professional travel and other responsibilities conflict with faculty meetings, and it is not possible to attend. In these cases, you can typically give an opinion by email or leave a proxy vote if something of significance is being decided.
In some cases, it is possible to arrange your travel so that you don't miss a faculty meeting, but an itinerary that allows faculty meeting attendance might be more expensive than one that involves missing the meeting. A colleague and I were discussing this situation recently, and wondering what price we would put on attending a faculty meeting.
Assume that a meeting is not a momentous one at which a hiring or promotion decision is being made. Assume that one is a reasonably good department citizen and tries to attend faculty meetings if possible. Assume also that the various possible itineraries are basically the same other than their cost, but the cheaper one requires missing a meeting and the more expensive one allows attendance at a meeting. How much is a routine faculty meeting worth?
This is what we decided through the first round of intense discussion and bargaining at a local cafe: (the prices listed indicate the differential between the hypothetical itineraries)
$25: definitely pay the higher price and go to the meeting
$50: pay the higher price and go to the meeting
$100: think about it for a few minutes, but then pay the lower price and skip the meeting
> $100: don't even think about it, just pay the lower price and skip the meeting
So, it seems that my colleague and I would place the value of a routine faculty meeting somewhere between $50-100, though perhaps on the lower end of that range. I propose that routine faculty meetings are worth $57.25, but I would be willing to bargain.
8 years ago