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OPINION: Students upset over confusing foreign language credit email

OPINION: Students upset over confusing foreign language credit email

By Juan Carlos Puente
Social Media Manager
Published Thursday, Nov. 30, 2023

[Editor’s Note: This opinion piece is in response to a Thursday, Oct. 5, email from the Office of the University Registrar that read, “Our records indicate that you are under a University Catalog which has the Foreign Language Graduation Requirement. As a directive from the University, this graduation requirement has been removed from all University Catalogs and therefore, its completion for graduation will no longer be required.”]

I received an email alerting me that the foreign language graduation requirement was removed. I read it during my foreign language class—I won’t specify which course out of respect for the professor—but this email frustrated me.

Mainly because, yes, I could just drop the class then and get my time back for the rest of the semester, but what about my money? That’s still $1,000 I can’t get back and the time I’ve already spent in class was wasted.

Juan Carlos Puente portrait
Juan Carlos Puente

The systems in charge are also a major pain. Before enrolling in this course, I asked my academic adviser about taking the College-Level Examination Program in order to bypass the requirement. Imagine my confusion when I was told I still need to take the foreign language class despite taking the CLEP.

So instead of the CLEP, I chose to study a new language because I also can’t afford to study abroad. I ultimately decided to stay in the class so I can at least learn something by the end of this semester. From the time I’m writing this, I’m actually enjoying it and I was glad I could at least have this experience without having to take another course the following semester. At least that’s how I felt before beginning to register for this coming spring semester.

I looked through my DegreeWorks and noticed I still needed a foreign language credit. I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt and assumed they just didn’t update the site. Ultimately I was wrong.

Prior to registering, I called the Registrar’s Office to ask about the website and what it meant. They essentially told me nothing really changed and I’m still required to take the secondary class next semester; this raised more questions.

Why send an email at all if nothing’s going to change? They’re basically asking me for more money by taking the class anyway. They even told me to study abroad to get it over with, which really came off as fishing for money.

As for the other students who dropped their foreign language courses after seeing the initial email, they now have to retake the classes they dropped. This all happened because the message was unspecific and no real changes were at all. It was utterly unreliable and seems to be a product of poor management.

I feel it would benefit students who dropped their foreign language course as a result of that email to receive a refund. It’s not something I believe the University would actually do. They will likely stand by their decision and blame students for not verifying the information before dropping the classes. They should have been more specific in the email, though.

I believe the University should and can do better.

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