The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday March 21st

Horrendous Timing

Journalism school officials should have let students know in advance that they were eliminating JOMC 50 as a requirement for graduation.

Last week, School of Journalism and Mass Communication officials announced that JOMC 50, "Electronic Information Sources," would no longer be a requirement for journalism majors to graduate.

The reasons for this decision are sound. But the timing of it absolutely could not have been worse.

If officials had any inkling before or during the summer that they might remove the course from the list of curriculum requirements, they should have worked to come to a conclusion sooner - at least a month sooner, when students had much more of an opportunity to tweak their schedules.

Now, students who registered for JOMC 50 because it was a requirement, and not because they necessarily were interested in the course, are stuck between a rock and a hard place.

If they believe that they don't need the course and wish to drop it, they can do so. But it's basically too late for them to choose a new class as a replacement.

Even if students get permission to join another class - which would require demonstration of exceptional circumstances - more than a month of the academic year has passed, and most classes already have covered numerous readings, assignments or quizzes.

To call the amount of catching up that students would have to do inconvenient would be a serious understatement.

By taking JOMC 50, students can learn vital Internet-related skills, improve their ability to do research online and build their own Web page. But some journalism majors, including students who are taking the course now, might not think that these benefits are worth a semester's worth of class time.

The next time officials in any school or department on campus see fit to eliminate a course as a graduation requirement, they should let students who would be affected know about the change ahead of time.

Students should be given time to process information that would influence their choice of classes. They deserve the opportunity to pick courses that they want to take in addition to those that they must complete.

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