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Faculty senate support add/drop deadline change

By : Sarah Lifshin

The University Faculty Senate this week adopted a resolution that would change the current campus- wide drop/add deadline from the ninth week to the 10th business day of each semester.

During their Tuesday meeting, senators approved a motion that called for the two deadlines to coincide on the 10th business day.

The senate’s resolution is an advisory recommendation and a final decision will be made by Provost Mary Ann Swain. “The University needs a uniform add/drop policy,” Swain told the senators. The resolution calls for the first 10 days to become an open add/drop time. During that time, drops are not recorded on the official transcript, and courses dropped between the 10th day of class and current drop deadline would remain on the transcript with a W or withdrawl.

There would be no limit to the number of W’s and no justification required. Freshmen in their first semester would be allowed to drop classes until the current drop deadline, and courses would be removed from the official transcript.

The senators also voted down an amendment that would allow departments to determine their own deadlines. Several senators said that allowing individual departments or classes to create their own deadlines could create confusion among the students, faculty and staff.

The debate over the change was heated since the proposal to change the deadline was first introduced last spring. Since discussions began, senators have voiced both support and concern to the potential changes.

The change would be similar to the deadlines of SUNY’s three other university centers, which each have a two-week drop deadline.

Some senators who supported the change said that the later drops disrupt classes and leave empty seats that could ultimately affect the University’s enrollment, while others argued that moving the deadline up would not provide students with the freedom to experiment in courses and could affect GPAs.

Student Association President Jordan Peck voiced concern about changing the deadline and said students could be affected throughout the campus. “Dropping a deadline is not going to inflate grades,” Peck said. “We are still learning; we are still getting through our classes.”

When courses are dropped before the deadline, they are removed from the official transcript. In order to drop a class after the deadline, a student must petition and demonstrate extraordinary circumstances. Approved petitions result in a W or withdrawal being placed next to the course of the student’s transcript.

Harpur College Council debated the change in 1991 and 1996. Research has shown that during the 1996 semester, 3,000 drops occurred between the add and drop deadlines and that during fall 2001, 3,500 drops occurred.

Current Harpur College drop policy allows students to drop full semester classes on or before the fifth class day after the midpoint of the semester. This fall that date was Thursday, October 30.

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Last Updated: 10/14/08