In my experience, most instructors spend a large portion of the first period in a term talking about the syllabus. This seems to serve to pass responsibility onto students:
Students see the deadlines. No student can claim to not know about an assignment or deadline.
Students see the course rules. No student can claim they did not know they were breaking a rule.
In the past, some students have tried various methods, such as skipping lessons, then claiming to not know about requirements, in an attempt to get the support of the administrators to back their case of "I didn't know".
I have lots of material to cover within the term, so do not like to waste lots of time with talking about the course and would rather get started. Is "here is the syllabus, read it" sufficient for passing responsibilities onto students? If students do not read it (many won't) is the responsibility nevertheless still passed?