Policy to give ability to drop class after finals

A new policy could allow students who fit certain criteria the opportunity to have an awful semester erased from their transcripts.

The procedure of retroactive withdrawal would provide students with the ability to have an exemption in situations that are beyond their control, according to Mark Gromko, vice provost for academic programs.

“Retroactive withdrawal refers to requests to withdraw from all classes after final exam week,” Gromko said. “The need for such a policy arises because there are extreme circumstances, such as hospitalization or coma, where a student is neither able to attend class nor to request withdraw before the last day of class. Such circumstances are dealt with on a case by case basis.”

Since retroactive withdrawal is in the developing stages in the Undergraduate Council, Gromko would like to see a single policy agreed upon by all the colleges, stipulating the conditions a student may apply for retroactive withdrawal, as well as documentation as it pertains to financial aid and state subsidies.

If the policy passes, the University will not be the only college to have a plan for retroactive withdrawal. Kent State, Wright State and Ohio University have policies in place, Gromko said.

Even though an official policy has not been enacted, various colleges at the University have different guidelines on what they consider a valid reason for retroactive withdrawal.

Their policies are a case by case basis and the chance of one being granted this privilege is slim, said Simon Morgan-Russell, associate dean for the College of Arts and Sciences Department.

But, the aforementioned policy has at least one student livid.

In the fall of 2005, then junior Abbie Ryan, sent in an application to be considered for retroactive withdrawal for health reasons and was denied.

According to Ryan, the signed letter she received from the College of Arts and Sciences contained the exceptions such as severe personal injury, diagnosed depression or family death.

Also, on the current student withdrawal information form, medical, financial and personal issues are some of the exceptions one can check if they decide to withdrawal.

“I think it is really demeaning how they treat their students,” Ryan said. “Basically, they don’t give a shit about their students.”

But, concern for the students is not the only reason why Ryan is furious.

“I’m trying to get into the grad schools I want, and the administration [College of Arts and Sciences], is hindering my future,” Ryan said. “Why do they claim to offer this to students, if they are not going to accept anyone?”

Ryan also sees other problems in the current system.

“It’s so ambiguous and you don’t know if you are able to apply for this or not,” Ryan said.

Ryan also offers a solution on what she believes would be more conducive to every students needs who want to apply for the process.

“If we have a policy at all, it needs to be specifically outlined instead of doing guess work on problems in the past,” Ryan said. “Also if a case by case basis is needed, the field needs to be widened a little bit because not everyone falls into the three categories.”