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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

Students draft petition in response to proposed S/Cr/NC changes

<st week, the Education and Curriculum Committee proposed three S/Cr/NC policy changes to the CSA. The first two, removing the pre-S/Cr/NC option and requiring a professor to sign off on S/Cr/NC-ing a class, have been received positively by most students on CSA. The third, however, is raising concerns among students and CSA representatives.

The third proposed change to the policy would move the deadline for S/Cr/NC-ing to the last day of seventh week. Currently, the deadline is the last day of classes, before reading days and finals. The proposed change has prompted such a strong reaction among Carleton students that several CSA senators, including Patrick Burke ‘14, Rebecca Gourevitch ‘12, Kelsey Han ‘13, Gracie Ogilby ‘12, and Ben Somogyi ‘12, have joined together to draft a petition voicing their concern with the deadline change. The petition is not a CSA project, rather it is organized by a group of students who are on CSA.

Ogilby and Han outlined the main reasons that they believe keeping the deadline on the last day of classes benefits the student body. They say that students don’t know by seventh week if they want to take a class pass/fail, especially since many professors  provide helpful feedback during the last three weeks of the term. 

Next, Ogilby pointed out that having to “scrunch” seventh week is a disincentive to work hard for the remaining three weeks of the term.

For many, Ogliby said, the end of the term determines how a student feels about their work in a certain class.

The final concern is that the policy may lead to unequal treatment of students in the classroom. Because the new policy requires that professors be notified of all S/Cr/NC decisions,  professors will know three weeks prior to the end of class who is taking the class for a grade, and who is not. Some are concerned that this could lead to inequalities in the way professors treat different students.

“The bottom line is that whatever motivates students to learn is good,” Ogilby said. “The intention of the S/Cr/NC policy is to allow students to explore academic areas that they aren’t comfortable in without penalizing their academic record.”

Ogilby, like the rest of those who have organized the petition, are hopeful for a compromise. Their ideal policy changes would keep the first two proposals (eliminating pre-S/Cr/NC and requiring a professor’s signature) but would keep the deadline for S/Cr/NC-ing a class at the last day of classes. They believe that this will benefit both professors and students, without undermining the fundamental principles behind a liberal arts education.

These proposed changes are in addition to adjustments to the late-drop policy that have already been approved earlier this year. The late-drop policy will be changed from the last day of classes to seventh week.

“This was before myself and two other new ECC members were appointed,” said Burke, in reference to the changes to the late-drop policy.

“My understanding is that professors feel that the new deadline will help students prioritize their remaining classes. Students who don’t stand a chance in a class are currently able to delude themselves that they can pass until the end of the term, and professors feel that those students could better budget their time by committing to their other classes earlier. The majority of late drops are in only a few classes (Calculus 2 for example).”

As of Thursday evening, the petition had been signed by 340 students, and is still open for signatures. Please contact the CSA representatives listed in this article with any further questions.

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