UBC emailed students on March 2 to inform them of a course withdrawal deadline extension, a few weeks after the Senate approved the change and amid some confusion from students.
In mid-February, Senate extended the course withdrawal deadline for winter term 2, to April 14 or the last day of a course, whichever is earlier. The term one withdrawal deadline was also extended in a last-minute email vote last December.
Concerns arose in the meeting about the wording being confusing for students, and that the change might not be properly communicated to students.
In the meeting, Student Senator Max Holmes said that Senate has had issues communicating changes like this in the past.
“This motion aligns with the language of what was adopted at the UBC Okanagan Senate for both term 1 and term 2. The language is also parallel with what the UBC Vancouver Senate adopted for term 1 for the course W deadline extension,” said Joanne Fox, chair of the Senate Teaching and Learning committee in an email to The Ubyssey.
Fox and the committee, developed this motion with the goal of giving students “flexibility and compassion” during the pandemic.
The motion initially presented to the Senate would have established a single course withdrawal deadline, in order to ensure clear communication with students and to minimize potential confusion.
But this decision was overturned at the full Senate meeting when Faculty Senator Ingrid Price suggested changing the motion to accommodate the fact that there were multiple start dates for courses this term, with different courses starting in the week of January 4 and the week of January 11.
“Following debate on the amendment the Senate agreed on a form of words that suits all Faculties and that can be communicated clearly and unambiguously to students, faculty and staff,” said Price in an email to The Ubyssey.
Fox said the extension of the course withdrawal deadline this term has received “broad support” from the UBC community.
When contacted on February 25, first-year arts student Kaitlyn Ha wrote in a message that she didn’t know there was a withdrawal date extension — and neither did her friends. Students on the UBC subreddit also expressed confusion around the decision.
However, Ha said she was happy the deadline was extended.
“I think that this change will relieve students from their stress a little bit. Many courses are quite difficult and it’s hard to make the decision of whether they should withdraw or not. It is nice that we are given some more time to decide if we want to stay in a course or not,” Ha wrote.
In the March 2 email, Kate Ross, associate VP and registrar wrote that students who want to withdraw from a course after March 13 must request withdrawal through their faculty’s advising office.
“Closer to March 13, your home faculty will follow up with details on how to request a withdrawal between March 13 and April 14, or the last day of the class,” Ross wrote.