By Mili Chizhik, News Editor
The last date to drop a course without getting a “W” (withdrawal) on the transcript in both the fall and spring semesters of the upcoming academic year is significantly earlier than those of the previous semesters. Typically, that date is after the semester’s midterms, allowing students to withdraw from a class if they are not doing well without it being recorded on their transcripts. However, in the upcoming fall and spring semesters, this date is four weeks and two weeks, respectively, prior to the start of midterms.
Following the release of the calendar of the 2020-2021 academic year, undergraduate students are deeply concerned about this remarkably earlier date. The 2020-2021 student council presidents composed a letter to Mr. Chad Austein, Chief Enrollment Management Officer at YU, asking on behalf of the entire student body for a postponement of the last day to drop a class without having it recorded on the transcript. They describe the importance of a later drop date for the students, their transcripts, and GPAs. It “allows for students to have more flexibility with their schedules, allowing them to sign up for extra courses with the possibility that if they don’t do well they can drop it with no ramifications. Having the option to drop a class after midterms provides students with a buffer, as it lessens the stress in test-taking and ensures that students are able to find the perfect balance between learning material relevant to their future careers and receiving grades which will help them secure a job after college. However, this is not possible with the current date,” they wrote.
They further expressed their concern for the stress that students may incur due to this unusually early date. They noted “that this semester is not the time to make such a drastic change given the uncertainty and tumult of the current COVID-19 crisis.”
TAC President Nina Siegel commented that she and her fellow student council presidents “thought this was an important email to send because this policy can be harmful for all students, particularly during these challenging times.”
In response to student concerns, Mr. Austein stated: “When the academic calendar was created for the 2020-2021 academic year, we incorporated an update to the withdrawal policy and timeline to be consistent with other colleges and universities. YU’s calendar still gives students the flexibility to add/drop courses during the designated period and the flexibility to withdraw from classes within the first month of classes.
“Both the fall and spring semesters have consistent timelines. Students are permitted to drop a course and have it removed from their academic record according to the add/drop timeline and refund period. The last date to do this is the fourth week of the semester. Any drops after that point are considered a course withdrawal and will be graded with a W grade. After midterms, there is a final deadline to withdraw from a course, during the 12th week of the semester; after that point and upon completion of the course, a final grade, will be given to the student.
“At this time, we are evaluating the needs of our students and the uncertain nature of the upcoming semester and will keep the community informed of any revisions to this policy.”
YSU President Zachary Greenberg said, “I am very upset about the drop date being moved early. Many students, including myself, have used the later drop date to be able to take more courses with the flexibility of knowing if you don’t do well that you can just drop it.”
SCWSC President Shira Schneider added, “when the calendar came out, I was surprised to see that the drop date was significantly earlier than it has been in previous years. Having the drop date later is beneficial to students as midterms serve as an important benchmark in the semester, and this new date does not allow students ample opportunity to experiment with their classes and discover what works best for them.”
Both SOY President Akiva Poppers and SYMSSC Wilf President Adam Baron remarked that they “are working hard to help the students in any way we can.”
*A petition titled “Return Drop Date Without a “W” to after Midterms” has been started by Zachary Greenberg