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Student Senate protests proposed class drop plan

By Kimberly DeLande
On March 21, 2012


Last night, President David Coates brought attention to a piece of legislature that will be discussed at a Faculty Senate meeting tomorrow. The legislature will make it so students will only have three weeks to drop a course, and after the three weeks have passed, it will be marked on their transcript that they "withdrew" from the course.

This piece of legislation was the result of a request from the Provost's Office issued last year to change the drop period. The Faculty Senate originally came into an agreement with Student Senate on the content of the legislation. However, when it was brought to the floor to pass, the Faculty Senate "made it drastically stricter that it had been agreed upon," according to Coates.

The Student Senate lobbied the three-week drop proposal up to the President and the Faculty Senate Executive Committee, and they agreed to delay enacting the legislation until this year. The Student Senate's proposed compromise to change the legislation would be to have six to nine weeks to drop instead and not to have a stamp on a student's transcript with a "withdrawal" mark if he or she drops the course in this time frame.

"We are fundamentally opposed to branding student transcripts," Coates said. "There are a large number of individuals who won't be able to speak with an advisor or get the relevant information needed to drop a class in three weeks."

The Faculty Senate also rejected the Student Senate's proposal for second grade option changes. According to Coates, the University of Rhode Island's policy on retaking courses is "stricter than other schools." In most colleges, Coates said, students are able to retake classes at any point in their career. However, at URI, students are only allowed to redo a course in their freshmen year. This policy, and policies like the three-week drop period, could end up delaying students, said Coates.

"If I felt comfortable enough to say that a student would have the proper resources to make the decision to drop a class in three weeks, then I would have no problem with a drop period that's shorter than the add period," Coates said. "The bottom line is, we're not there yet. We're light years away, and that's something the administration needs to take into consideration."

The Faculty Senate meeting in which this legislation will be discussed will take place today, at 3 p.m. in Kirk auditorium. Coates encouraged "any and all students to be there" to let their voices be heard.

In other news:

  • The budget meeting in which tuition hikes will be discussed will be held tomorrow at the State House. Coates has urged students to show up and "tell their story" at the meeting.

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