New policies affect seniors, off-campus activities

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Among the recently approved items from the Faculty Senate are the graduating senior registration priority policy, missed classes due to participation in university-approved activities policy, and the revised policy on retention of student work.

The modified registration priority policy states that a student who receives graduating-senior registration priority twice and who does not graduate will not receive graduating-senior registration priority a third time and will return to senior registration priority status.

CSUN President Jolene Koester approved the policy, which was approved by the Faculty Senate last spring, on June 30, and the policy will take effect one year from then.

This policy change was enacted due to graduating senior students’ abuse of the system, according to Ron McIntyre, professor and president of Faculty Senate.

Students would fail to graduate and would resort to reapplying year after year, McIntyre said.

Biology adviser and Emeritus professor Joyce Maxwell said she has had experiences with students who did exactly that.

“In the 35 years I have been at CSUN, I have seen students who were ‘graduating seniors’ for many years,” she said. “Sometimes this was due to unrealistic expectations, but other times students were applying to graduate ahead of their true anticipated graduation date because they wanted priority registration.”

With this registration policy, limits are imposed so that students will not be as free to reapply as many times as they wish, something that could encourage students to try and graduate on time.

“This forces them (graduating seniors) to take graduation seriously,” McIntyre said. “No one will be permitted to receive the graduating senior registration priority three times.”

The Faculty Senate also passed a new policy on Feb. 17 that focused on students who wish to miss classes because they are representing CSUN in official curriculum-related and approved activities.

The policy was initially proposed to the Educational Policies Committee by kinesiology professor Barbara Swerkes, athletics faculty representative, and Koester approved it on Feb. 25.

To be eligible for such accommodation, the student is obligated to provide the instructor of the class with written documentation signed by the school employee supervising and give specific information about the activity. The document must be submitted to the instructor during the first week of the semester or as soon as the information becomes known.

The policy depends on the professor’s cooperation because they reserve the right to refuse pardon to any student for any reason, according to McIntyre.

“That’s why it is between the professor and the student to talk things out and reach an agreement,” he said.

The student must speak with the professor and submit a document specifying the dates and reasons why a student would miss class work. If the professor agrees and has read the stipulations, his or her signature is required in order to validate the student’s excuse.

McIntyre said that last fall a student athlete in one of his classes came up to him the second day of semester with the proper documentation, and they were able to set up a future schedule for make-up, he said.

McIntyre also said he was in favor of this new policy because it balances university-involvement and academic obligation.

Michael Neubauer, mathematics professor and Faculty Senate ex-officio member, said he was also in favor of the policy because he thought it emphasized responsibilities in a clear and helpful way.

“Student involvements are very limited here on campus, and so (the policy) helps ensure equity across campus,” he said.

Maxwell, on the other hand, said she was not in favor of the policy because she does not think it resolves the problem of students missing coursework.

“I’m afraid I don’t support it because it doesn’t take into account the great difficulty involved in replacing missed laboratory or field study classes,” Maxwell said.

The retention of student work policy revised the way that students and their professors can arrange a time and place to pick up finals, projects and assignments.

The policy sets a timeline for how long faculty must retain student work, such as final projects, following the end of a semester. The policy also states that when a faculty member has received notice as to the filing of an academic grievance or grade appeal from Student Affairs, all related course materials, including electronic materials, should be retained until resolution.

Jelly Mae Jadraque can be reached at city@sundial.csun.edu.

On the other hand, if a student work is lost or disposed in the hands of the professor due to the student’s failure to pick the work up on an agreed time and place, then the policy absolves the professor of any responsibility or blame.

“It gives reasonable protection for both sides (the student and professor),” McIntyre said.

Neubauer said he too favored the new policy because he thought it clarified things and spelled out the purpose of the policy.

“It clears up the proposition,” Neubauer said.

Maxwell also favored the retention of student work because she said it makes sense if handling grievances takes too long.