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CUC proposal to limit add/drops to four after two weeks proves misguided

By Thresher Editorial Board     9/4/14 10:07am

The Center for Undergraduate Curriculum proposed in April that students be limited to four dropped classes between weeks two and seven during their four years at Rice, with any extra drops being indicated by a ‘W’ on their transcript.

The Thresher believes the CUC’s proposal does not address difficulties in registration at their root and, instead, unnecessarily penalizes students.

Instead of tailoring a solution specific to the problem, the CUC has crafted a policy that will broadly and negatively impact the entire student body. The CUC proposal unfairly punishes students with exigent circumstances that force them to drop classes after the week two add deadline, as well as those who drop classes that are not at maximum capacity, an action that does not contribute to other students’ inabilities to register for classes in any way.

If the issue is students front-loading their schedules with distribution classes they plan to drop, then the CUC should focus on changing students’ thought processes during registration, not their dropping proclivities.

But the real problem is students being unable to get the classes they need, and the cause, which has conveniently been ignored in the CUC’s proposal, is Rice’s stagnant number of professors and course sections offered, despite a growing undergraduate population. Students should be offended that the administration is placing the burden squarely on their shoulders for purportedly registering for too many classes.

Measures have already been taken that discourage over-registration. For example, it is now nearly impossible to register for more than 20 credit hours. The administration should demonstrate effort towards changes that would not negatively impact students.

More sections of popular Distribution II introductory subjects, such as sociology, psychology and economics, should be offered to ensure that students are able to fulfill distribution, while also allowing those majoring in the social sciences to take the classes they need.

More humanities courses should be classified as Distribution I, thereby providing options for non-humanities majors and decluttering popular humanities distribution classes.

Students pay for a Rice education. The Thresher believes that students should not have to worry about another imposition on their class selection, especially since creating such a burden would not address the underlying problems surrounding a growing student population and a stagnant academic program. The CUC should recognize that students need more courses and more professors, not more bureaucratic restrictions.

Unsigned editorials represent the majority opinion of the Thresher editorial staff. All other opinion pieces represent solely the opinion of the piece’s author.

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