The student is responsible for making the case for the petition, but input from other professionals is necessary to inform the Petition Committee's decision-making process.  Generally, the committee will not review a petition until we have responses from the appropriate individuals including course faculty, health practitioners, faculty advisors, and/or department chairs. 

The Committee on Academic Standards (CAS) has developed the following guidelines for petition submission and support, with the intent of making the petition process efficient, expeditious, as well as clear and transparent.

GENERAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR ADVISING A STUDENT REGARDING A PETITION

Petitions should be reserved for situations in which students find themselves dealing with circumstances that are unusual, unexpected, or beyond their control.  Students submitting petitions must not assume that the petition will be granted. Therefore, students should continue with class attendance and preparation until the results of the petition are known. While students may submit a petition for any reason, the following types of petition have a very low likelihood of success:

  • Petitions that seek to waive graduation requirements, including the residency requirement.
  • Petitions that seek relief from problems stemming solely from poor planning, poor choices, poor work habits, and/or poor performance.  
  • Petitions that arise because a student claims not to have known a rule, especially when this claim is made more than once.
  • Petitions that arise simply because a student misses a deadline. 
  • Petitions that ask for a late change to or from Pass/D/Fail to protect or enhance the grade-point average.

The committee will consider each petition on its own merit. The registrar will write the student and those who wrote in response to the petition concerning the decision. A copy of the email along with the petition in the student's file. Decisions of the petitions subcommittee of the Committee on Academic Standards may be appealed to the full committee.

FACULTY ADVISOR

When consulting with a student who is considering filing a petition: Remind students that petitioning is a last resort.  Encourage students to pursue other avenues first, such as consulting with course instructors or with staff from the Academic Advising Office, and to petition only when other options are exhausted.

  • Inform students that they must not presume that the outcome will be in their favor. Students should expect a negative response and have a contingency plan in mind. There is no such thing as a "routine" or "sure thing" petition.  Therefore, students should continue with class attendance and preparation until the results of the petition are known.
  • Petitions must reference the specific regulation(s) under consideration. Petitions must describe the circumstances that are extenuating, unusual, or beyond the student’s control.
  • Be honest and candid about the likelihood of a petition’s approval. (If you are uncertain of that likelihood, please recommend a meeting with staff from the Academic Advising Office.) Keep in mind that compelling evidence of extenuating or unusual circumstances beyond the student’s control is required for exception to college policy.
  • Encourage students to submit petitions that present their case completely, accurately, and requesting all of the appropriate support. Petitions will not be considered without recommendations from the course instructor, student's advisor and from any other person (Deans, staff members from Student Accessibility and Support and the Health and Counseling Center, etc.) who may be affected by or have special knowledge bearing on the petition. Petitions involving a medical claim must have medical support from a qualified professional.  Without medical support, such a petition will be tabled until medical documentation is received. 
  • Faculty advisors may want to review a petition before it is submitted, but are not required to do so.

When submitting comments on a petition:

  1. Would the petition, if approved, supports a reasonable academic plan?
  2. Tell us what you know about the circumstances beyond the student’s control that warrant consideration of the petition. Describe the communication you have had with the student regarding these circumstances. If you are unfamiliar with these circumstances, be honest about your inability to comment.
  3. Where possible, provide specifics, not generalities. For example, provide dates and details of interactions or meetings with the student where possible.  Comments on a student’s character or general support are not as helpful as specific information. If the student hasn’t been in communication with you, it’s OK just to note that.

COURSE FACULTY

When submitting comments on a petition:

  1. Tell us what you know about the circumstances beyond the student’s control that warrant consideration of the petition. Describe the communication you have had with the student regarding these circumstances.
  2. If there is information that the student neglected to include that might help the committee make an informed decision, please include it. This information could include academic performance to date, attendance issues, and concerns, overall work ethic, responsiveness to outreach, etc...
  3. If you are unfamiliar with these circumstances or in disagreement, be honest about your inability to comment or support.

Off-CAMPUS COUNSELING/HEALTH PROFESSIONAL

This student has submitted the following petition identifying you as a medical or mental health practitioner who has specific information regarding their circumstances. Students may submit a petition requesting a waiver of an established academic rule or requirement imposing a needless hardship on them. Given the nature of the student's petition, it's imperative that the Petitions Committee has a response from you before considering the petition.

Before responding, be sure that disclosure of student information conforms to FERPA and HIPAA guidelines.  Obtain written permission if needed.

When submitting comments on a petition:

  1. Tell us what you know about the circumstances described by the student in the petition. If you are unfamiliar with these circumstances or in disagreement, be honest about your inability to comment or support.
  2. Describe the extent of Counseling/Health Center contact the student has engaged in with regard to these circumstances.
  3. Will this student require continued medical/counseling support for these circumstances going forward?

DEPARTMENT CHAIR

When submitting comments on a petition:

  1. Consider the following: Does the student’s plan to graduate on time seem feasible to you? What extra work will be required of any members of the department? Please consult with other department members if necessary. Please provide details about the departmental discussion.
  2. Describe the communication you have with the student regarding the circumstances described by the student in the petition.
  3. Is the student asking anything extra of the department members to accomplish the plan? If so, what.