President Potter and his administration have tried ignoring the transcript fiasco because they can’t justify their actions. That’s because the potential ramifications are significant. Let’s look at some of those potential ramifications:
- admission to major; some degree programs like the aviation major require a 2.5 GPA, Social Work requires a 2.6
- transferring to other universities with specific GPA requirements
- getting accepted into law or medical school
- keeping a student on good academic standing (typically a 2.0 “C” average) to qualify for financial aid.
- Getting scholarships, which typically requires higher GPA’s
- Students who get a grade removed might get a refund
- Allowing a student to take the same class a 3rd time without instructor permission because their 2nd F was scrubbed from the transcript (SCSU Chemistry problem)
Before getting into these potential benefits, let’s remember that the transcript fiasco isn’t just about changing Fs to Ws (Ws are the code for Withdrawals). In numerous instances, it’s been verified that a student’s participation in a class just disappeared from the student’s transcript.
This has happened frequently enough to the point that professors have started calling these disappearing grades “poofs”. HINT: When something happens often enough to get a nickname, it’s happening too frequently. But I digress.
President Potter hasn’t talked about whether the poofs have helped students get into majors that require higher GPAs. It isn’t a stretch, though, to think that an administration that’s deleting a student’s participation in a class from their transcripts would think about deleting grades to help a student get into a major.
Another specific question that President Potter hasn’t addressed is whether students have benefited from a poof in getting a scholarship. That’s a big question, especially if a poof student got a scholarship over a student who worked hard and got better grades without getting ‘administrative assistance.’
Does President Potter think it’s ok for students to get poofed, then get accepted into law school or medical school? I’m not saying that’s happening. I’m simply saying that it’s a possibility.
There’s another possibility I didn’t list earlier. How would employers feel if they hired a student straight out of college who had benefited from a poof? Would they be angry that the university had given that employer an inaccurate picture of a student’s academic accomplishments?
Here’s what Adam Hammer, Director of Media Relations and Publications for SCSU, said about the transcript fiasco:
In addressing this concern at a meet and confirm meeting conducted amongst university professors and administration, Hammer said the cause for concern primarily dealt with late drops and withdrawals.
Here’s what Devinder Maholtra said in a memo in January:
Recently, questions about student registration and transcript changes, specifically late withdrawals and drops, at St. Cloud State University have been reported in a few media outlets.
Notice the slight change in wording? Hammer said the cause for concern “primarily dealt with late drops and withdrawals.” Maholtra’s statement said that questions about transcript changes dealt with “specifically late drops and withdrawals.” Maholtra’s statement could’ve swapped out the word specifically and swapped in the word exclusively without changing the meaning of the sentence. If you swapped out the word primarily from Hammer’s statement and replaced it with exclusively, the meaning of the sentence would change significantly.
The specific question I’d direct to Mr. Hammer is simple: What other transcript changes were made besides late withdrawals and drops? Is Mr. Hammer not talking about the poofs? Is that intentional? That’s a distinct possibility, isn’t it?
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.