February 11, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 73  

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WDN: trivial or mark of death?

By Laura Katsirdakis
Gazette Staff

If a student at Western drops a course after the add/drop period ends but before the deadline for academic penalty, their transcript will show the course dropped along with an indication they withdrew from it. The Student Caucus On Governance thinks this is unjust and is preparing to lobby for an end to the practice..

A draft policy written by SCOG explains, “it is without question that a WDN is a negative mark on a student’s academic record. When a student must provide a copy of her academic record to an institution, in applying to [graduate] school or professional schools for example, this mark detracts from the strength of her application, and must in turn be justified by the student.”

The policy goes on to explain the purpose of marking a course withdrawn is to discourage students from dropping courses, thereby affecting the cohesiveness of the classroom environment, and to accurately reflect the student’s academic path at Western.

“It is not our purpose to present the transcript in a way that favours the institution or the student, as we are an impartial office — we present the facts as they are,” said Krys Chelchowski, manager of business operations for the registrar.

“All courses attempted have to be shown on the transcript — it is part of what we have to follow through the Senate [regulations],” she explained.

“The first time [a student] withdraws from a course [and sees the WDN mark] it catches you off guard,” said Dave Vaillancourt, student senator at large and chair of the SCOG.

“The policy will be going before the SCOG next Thursday for ratification,” he said, adding if approved it will be taken before the Senate for consideration.

“The [SCOG] has been developing policies on academic issues that we feel students would like to have addressed,” said Dave Ford, University Students’ Council VP-education and ex-officio member of SCOG. “In the fall we spoke to different councils and students and tried to get an idea of what were some pressing issues with regard to university academic and financial aid policies and procedures.”

Ford noted the SCOG will also be lobbying the Senate and Board of Governors on extending library hours and getting a study week or study days prior to exams.

“If it says there is not going to be a penalty then [the WDN] shouldn’t be there — academic penalty deadlines and the add/drop period should just end on the same day then,” said Lisa Volchoff, a fourth-year sociology student.



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