The Scholastic Standards Committee is concerned about a loophole that may allow students to take advantage of the system for retroactively adding classes.
This system allows students to petition to add classes after grades have been posted. Petitions to retroactively add courses are looked at critically in order to ensure students don’t take courses with the intention of exploiting this loophole.
“What is to prevent students from only adding the classes that they do well in? From not paying for courses they sit in on? Those students have taken instructors’ time and energy,” said Liane Gough, coordinator of the Academic Support Program and chair of the Scholastic Standards committee.
This and other concerns force the committee to be discriminating when evaluating petitions they receive.
“Of all the petitions, academic adds are the ones we look at most critically. They are also denied the most,” Gough said.
To determine whether a petition should be approved or not, the committee receives a statement from the student explaining why they are asking to add the course, as well as a statement of support from the instructor.
“We require a lot of documentation in order to remain consistent and fair,” Gough said. If there is not enough information the petition is sent back.
Despite this, it can be difficult to tell when students have legitimate reasons for not registering on time, and when students intentionally did not register.
“Some of the ones we’re approving, maybe they’re not sincere, but we’ll never know. I think students for the most part are honest and sincere, but I’ve seen the other side too. I have to give a critical glance. It has happened in the past,” Gough said.
There are penalties if a student is found to be attempting to exploit the process. If forged documents are discovered or anything dishonest or untruthful is found, it will be sent to Student Affairs.
These students do not make up the majority of petitions, and most students submit petitions for legitimate reasons. The most common reason a student would not have registered during the 10 weeks allowed by the system is a hold placed on their account. These holds typically result from an academic warning or from outstanding fees due to Accounts Payable.
While students are expected to register within the 10-week period, “sometimes students just can’t or won’t deal with what is holding them up, but they really intend to add the course. There are legitimate reasons,” Gough said. “Mostly we deal with students at a tough place in their lives.”
The committee, which meets every Wednesday to go through more than 50 petitions from students asking to add or drop courses, have grades changed or be academically reinstated at Portland State University, is focused on “maintaining the integrity of the system,” Gough said. “We are just trying to maintain the fairness and equity.”
The committee is continuing to strive to make more students aware of the process. “Students who are struggling are not often the ones who know we exist. A lot of students are out there with very legitimate issues,” Gough said.