UC Berkeley College of Letters and Science announced a modification to the Late Change of Class Schedule policy Tuesday that will allow students to drop courses and change grading options until Dec. 4 this semester without penalty.
This modification updates the college’s existing policy, which typically allows Letters and Science students to make one or two late schedule changes in only one semester of their college career. This semester, changes students make regarding late drops do not affect their eligibility to make late changes in a future semester. Students who have already made late changes in a previous semester will also be able to drop courses or change grading options this semester under the new policy.
The policy does not allow the late addition of classes, according to campus Dean of Undergraduate Studies in Letters and Science Bob Jacobsen. He added that the addition of classes is not a solution to stress.
“We allow students to drop late once in their time at UC Berkeley,” Jacobsen said. “This change means that if they’ve already dropped, they’re going to be okay.”
According to Jacobsen, this modification was instituted for two reasons. The first is that students may be under an inordinate amount of stress due to this abnormal semester, in addition to home and family issues. The second is that Letters and Science would not have enough advisers to have one-on-one meetings with each student facing these problems.
Additionally, Jacobsen did not think other colleges at UC Berkeley were implementing a similar policy.
“Students in other Berkeley colleges should also be afforded this flexibility in their academic decisions for this semester,” said ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu in an email. “My office and I will be advocating for other colleges to follow in the steps of L&S by making similar policy modifications for fall 2020.”
Jennifer Johnson-Hanks, chair of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate, believes that few students will use this updated policy but said it was still important to enact in order to accommodate students’ challenges.
Johnson-Hanks called the modification a “reasonable balance” between short- and long-term challenges and expectations students face.
“We are in a period where more people than usual are facing challenges, and it is important to have some sympathy and give people a little more leeway than usual,” Johnson-Hanks said in an email. “At the same time, students also need the university to ensure that their grades and degrees are meaningful–it would not be in students’ long-term best interests if we relaxed standards too far.”
Due to misinformation from a source, a previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the new policy would allow students to drop units from variable unit classes. In fact, it would not.