This could have been a reality for Jessica Gandy and Christine Jensen, both transfer students graduating in June.
Policy 75-21—as it’s known—the Honors at Graduation policy, included language that prevented the students from being eligible for honors. Due to the students’ conviction, the policy has been updated and Gandy and Jensen will receive their honors.
“The most stressful part about it was that everyone kept saying to us I’m really hopeful for you, but policy change takes a long time. I don’t foresee this happening in time. Everyone told us it wasn’t possible,” Gandy said.
Gandy and Jensen’s issue stemmed from the 90-credit minimum of in-residence courses at Seattle University, mandated in policy 75-21. They thought they met the minimum, but the policy had a caveat that the two and their advisors were unaware of.
The policy read, “Should a student elect the pass/fail (P/F) option for any one course as part of the 90 credit minimum, eligibility for honors at graduation will be lost.” But this clause did not take internships into consideration. Many internships are graded CR/F, which means for credit or fail, and are therefore ineligible towards the 90-credit requirement
Meeting the 90-credit minimum is not difficult for a student who attended Seattle U for their entire graduate degree, according to Jensen.
“If Jess and I had been four-year students at SU, there is no way that we would have less than 90 graded credits, because that would mean we took over one year in P/F credits, which obviously is not realistic,” Jensen said.
“I’m taking 20 credits this quarter when I was going to be taking 12,” Gandy said.
Despite overloading on classes, 20 credits were almost not enough for Gandy to graduate with honors.
When she realized the discrepancy, Gandy contacted the Office of the Registrar for clarification. She received a short response, confirming her ineligibility for honors. The Registrar would later be instrumental in the policy change, but that initial message was frustrating for Gandy. When speaking about the issue in class, Gandy learned that Jensen had the same problem. Like Gandy, Jensen was unaware that her past internship didn’t meet the requirements because it was taken as CR/F.
The two filed for exemption from the policy, but were denied. Associate Provost Charles Lawrence delivered the bad news, but then began to work with the students to possibly get the policy changed. Lawrence explained that he contacted the Registrar, which began the process of proposing new language for policy 75-21. The proposal inserts “Credits from CR/F courses will not count toward the 90 minimum with the following exceptions: (1) coursework in the major mandatorily graded CR/F and/or (2) internships graded CR/F. Under these exceptions, the minimum required resident graded credits may be reduced to 80,” into policy 75-21. This new language does not affect non-transfer students.
“For students who transfer to SU, this adjustments allows them to complete up to 10 credits of internship, with a grade of CR, and earn Latin honors,” said Andrew Anderson, an Associate Registrar for Operations in the Office of the Registrar.
After this new language was agreed on, it went through three layers of approvals. First the Council of Deans, where, according to Lawrence, it passed unanimously. Next, The Academic Assembly reviewed and passed the new language. Finally, it went to the Provost where it was ultimately approved and adapted into policy.
Gandy and Jensen had secured their honors.
The two are relieved that they successfully secured their honors, but are still frustrated that they had to fight for them. Gandy expressed concern towards those transfer students who were negatively affected by this policy in the past, and wondered just how many were denied their honors. Gandy and Jensen found the support they needed and hope that other transfer students will as well.