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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Brandeis bungles class waitlist

Published: October 7, 2005
Section: Opinions

So, imagine this youre on the waitlist for a class. The professor starts off his lecture on the first day of that class and says that he can almost guarantee that everyone will be accepted into the class. Terrific, right? You can relax and drop your fourth class to make room for this one.

Fast forward to the last week of September. Youre still on the waitlist. The head TA isnt telling you anything helpful. The professor says the head TA is doing everything she can. The registrar isnt being flexible. Theres a paper coming up and youre being told, well, whether or not you do it is your own prerogative.

This is the reality that about 20 Brandeis students are facing right now. Even after the add/drop period came and went on September 15, these students have been strung along on the waitlist, the Brandeis equivalent of class purgatory. We were told that it was imperative to go to lecture and discussion sections. We didand still, no progress. A twelve page paper is approaching, and again, it is up to us if we want to do it. Sorry, but its not that simple. It is very possible that if someone does the paper, they still wont get into the class. Someone might not do the paper, and then shortly after be told that someone has dropped and they may take that spot. To do a paper without a guarantee of receiving credit for the class is absurd.

Where was the preference on the waitlist for seniors? Those who have planned to take Wealth and Poverty from early on in their academic careers? Those who cant just take a couple of extra classes to make up for the fact that Wealth and Poverty cross-lists with everything and its mother?

Ah, and the registrar. I remember my experience at the academic fair…explaining to a representative from the registrar that I was a senior and needed this class for both my major and my minor. She didnt care. I mentioned that the class was at 206 at that moment Thats because there are 206 seats in that room. Oh yes, that explains why the current enrollment is at 230. Thanks.

The professor says that it is likely that enough students drop the course eventually to let people in off the waitlist. How much longer would you like us to wait? Maybe until after October 14th, so we can get a nice big W on our transcripts for dropping a course and being able to take a normal course load. The W doesnt stand for winner. Or how about just let us know now that we wont be able to get into Wealth and Poverty, even though weve attended every lecture and discussion section in September. Maybe then we can go back to the course we were originally planning on dropping for Wealth and Poverty, as weve probably been neglecting that course for about 20 days already to do the work for W & P.

Students on the waitlist have received emails saying were doing our best…were doing our best. What about an independent study that cross lists between politics, economics, and sociology? What about moving the class to a larger auditorium? How about we all just attend classes and lecture and get credit for it next semester? How about hiring another TA? Well, honestly, your best isnt good enough. Let someone else handle it, whose best can actually get students off the waitlist and into the class.

Its time to get the act together. At an institution such as Brandeis, the bungling of something as simple as this is a disappointment.