New drop policy concerns faculty

Staff-initiated drops
now need secondary review

Lexy Garcia / Reporter

A new rule makes it tougher for teachers to drop a student from a class. Recently introduced as a new practice, any student who is withdrawn from a class by a professor is now placed under review by department chair before further action can be taken.

Previously, a faculty member would go straight to the registrar’s office to withdraw a student. Staff-initiated drops will now be submitted and reviewed by the department chair, and a secondary review by the necessary dean, who will forward the drops to the dean of Student Outreach and Enrollment, Gil Becerra, if approved.

The re-evaluated drop guidelines have been put into practice to align Del Mar Colelge drop policy with Title IX withdrawal guidelines, and to ensure students are not being discriminated against.

Last year, federal law under Title IX enacted stricter regulations regarding rights granted to pregnant students. If a student was pregnant and had many absences because of childbirth, dropping them would be violating their rights, according to Teresa Klein, instructor of psychology and Faculty Council chairwoman.

“A lot of the faculty has expressed difficulty because of how quickly this went through, and there was no explanation given,” Klein said. As Faculty Council chairwoman, Klein has been filtering the commentary regarding the change. She asked her council to collect opinions from all constituents to identify the concerns.

Klein’s main concern is the timing.

“If we’re going to start something like this, we should start it in the spring semester, not in the middle of the fall semester,” she said. “No one on our faculty wants to discriminate against students. We always ask the students to please let us know; we can’t help if we don’t know.”

Details regarding how the policy should be implemented by professors haven’t been made clear, and there are many questions left unanswered, according to Paul Gottemoller, associate professor of political science.

Gottemoller is concerned that the attendance policy written in faculty member’s syllabi will hurt instructors’ credibility.

“You don’t want changing rules in the middle of a semester,” he said. “I’m not even sure what the review process is. It seems like it’s taking a little control over the way we handle our classrooms away from us.”

This change will initiate a new discussion within the faculty committee, chair council and academic standards committee to establish whether attendance is a trigger for withdrawal according to Provost Fernando Figueroa.

“With faculty-initiated withdraw, you’re taking a drastic step for a student. We need that chain of command to ensure it’s the best decision for the student,” Figueroa said.

A public faculty council meeting will be held Dec. 5 on West Campus where the provost will be directly discussing the new withdrawal guidelines.

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