Admissions and Standards Committee


Revision of Hardship Withdrawal Policy

Motion:

Students may be granted hardship withdrawals when non-academic emergency situations which prevent them from completing their course work occur after the midpoint of the semester. Hardship withdrawals are subject to the following restrictions:

1. Students are not eligible for hardship withdrawals in any course in which they have completed the course requirements (e.g., taking the final exam or submitting the final project).

2. Students must initiate an application for a hardship withdrawal no later than one academic year after the semester in which the courses were taken.

Hardship status normally applies to all the courses a student took in a semester but in some cases may be granted for some of a student's courses. Students requesting a hardship withdrawal in some but not all of their courses must provide documentation to justify such a partial withdrawal. If a student is granted a hardship withdrawal, the instructors of the courses from which the student is withdrawing must award a grade of W or WF, depending on whether the student was doing passing work as of the effective date of the hardship.

Decisions regarding hardship withdrawals shall be made, in the first instance, by the Dean of Students. The Dean of Students is not authorized to grant exceptions to the two restrictions above. If the student or the faculty members involved in a case wish to appeal the decision of the Dean of Students, or if the Dean of Students feels that an exception to the two restrictions above is justified, the student's case shall be considered by the Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee. If a the Hardship Withdrawals Committee is considering granting an exception to the first restriction, the instructor of the course(s) in question shall be contacted in advance of the Committee's meeting and offered the opportunity to write a letter to the Committee stating anything the instructor feels is relevant to the case. Appeals of the decisions of the Committee may be initiated by either the faculty or the students involved in the case and shall be heard by the Provost.

The Hardship Withdrawal Appeals Committee shall be composed of two faculty selected by the Chair of the Senate Committee on Admissions and Standards and two individuals chosen by the Vice President for Student Services. The Dean of Students shall serve as Chair but shall not have a vote. The University Attorney shall be an ex-officio member of the Committee but shall not have a vote. A decision to override the decision of the Dean of Students or to grant an exception to the two restrictions above must be supported by three of the four voting members of the Committee.

Rationale:

Here is the current policy on hardship withdrawals:

A student seeking hardship status must complete an application form with the Office of the Dean of Students, where the existence of hardship status is determined. Application for hardship status should be initiated prior to the end of the semester in which the course or courses were taken, but it must be initiated no later than either the end of the next semester in residence or one calendar year after the semester in which the course or courses was taken whichever occurs first. A student is not eligible to apply for hardship status unless hardship status is sought for all courses in which the student is registered for a given semester or for courses in which the student completed the course requirements.

If a student is granted hardship status, the instructors of the courses from which the student is withdrawing then will award a grade of W or WF, depending on whether the student was doing passing work as of the effective date of hardship status.

Five changes are made in the policy. For some time, some have felt that faculty did not have adequate input into the granting of hardship withdrawals. The revision makes two changes in response to this concern. (1) The membership of the Hardship Withdrawals Committee is formalized, faculty membership is increased to half of the committee, the voting structure is changed to increase faculty input. Previously, the this Committee was selected by the Dean of Students and only one faculty member was on it. (2) Faculty are given the right to appeal the decision of the Dean of Students and the appeal route is explicitly set out. Three other changes were made. (3) The requirement that a hardship withdrawal must be given for all courses taken is removed. Due to semester conversion, the number students with a valid reason for a hardship withdrawal in some but not all of their classes has risen dramatically. (4) The time limit on the initiation of a hardship withdrawal request is simplified to reflect current practice. (5) Because the Dean of Students office makes the initial hardship decision, the Dean of Students does not vote on appeals of this office's decision.

Note that faculty are only allowed to give a W or an WF if a hardship withdrawal is granted. This limit on the ability to faculty to assign grades is parallel to the faculty's inability to give any grade other than WF or F if a student withdrawals after the midpoint in the semester. If faculty member feels that another grade is justified, they must appeal the hardship withdrawal decision.


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Revised 10/26/00