While UNC-CH students and faculty have expressed outrage about systemwide changes to the period during which students can drop a class, most of the state’s public universities will not see major changes.
The policy, passed by the UNC-system Board of Governors in April and set to be implemented next fall, requires students to drop classes within 10 days, or a withdrawal will show up on their transcripts.
The most ardent opposition to the policy has come from UNC-CH and N.C. State University, which are the only system schools that do not already have a drop period within the first 10 days of classes.
The NCSU Student Senate adopted a bill in January opposing changes to the drop period.
“(Students) won’t be able to take a test, write a paper or work on a project yet and really get a feel for how the class fits into their life and plan,” said Morgan Carter, chairwoman of the NCSU student government academics committee, in an email.
Carter said a survey distributed among NCSU students showed strong support for the current policy that allows students eight weeks to drop a class — the same amount of time UNC-CH students currently have.
“While we have a reputation for a more major-specific focus than UNC-CH, we also received a lot of student commentary on the inability to try new classes,” Carter said.
But most system universities already have a course selection period of about 10 days, said Joan Lorden, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at UNC-Charlotte. Lorden chaired the system Academics First Workgroup, which created the new policy.
“If the shopping period lasts longer, it is hard on faculty who have students coming and going in a class,” Lorden said in an email.
Under the new policy, students will still be able to withdraw from a class after 10 days only four times during their college career. Withdrawals for extenuating circumstances, like sickness or military deployment, do not count toward the four-withdrawal limit.
Similar to most UNC-system schools, UNC-Greensboro students have five days to drop a class. UNC-G student body president Crystal Bayne said students have not complained about any adverse effects of a withdrawl on their transcripts. She said the limitation of four withdrawals during a college career will likely be the biggest change to current policy.
Still, UNC-CH students are hoping to change the policy, with more than 7,500 signatures on a recent petition.
UNC-CH student body president Christy Lambden said his administration has not yet decided the best way to leverage the petition results, but eventually plans to present the findings to the UNC-system General Administration and the Board of Governors.
While Lambden said it might have been better to protest the policy last fall, he said efforts to fight the policy can still be effective.
“We still have the opportunity to voice our concern, and I do believe we have the ability to overturn the policy,” he said.
But Joni Worthington, system spokeswoman, said the policy has been discussed by board members for a long time.
“When you have this many campuses, you’re not going to have in every instance every campus coming out in the end with exactly what they wanted.”
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