February 2, 2020

EDITORIAL | ‘Please Drop this Class in Student Center’

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You are a second semester sophomore or junior (maybe even a freshman) here at Cornell. The classes you signed up for during pre-enroll are working out great. You have time for lunch everyday, you go to bed at a reasonable hour each night and maybe you are even enrolled in a few classes that are helping you knock out those hefty graduation requirements early.

Then, on the second Friday of the semester, an email from the registrar pops up in your inbox. It reads like a more stern version of the following:

“Dear student,

To make room for a second semester senior who is struggling to meet their graduation requirements, we have decided to remove you from a class you love. We will not help you get into another course, and we will not explain the situation to the professor whose course you will end up in so that you won’t have to make up the work. So sorry for the inconvenience. Please drop this class in student center.”

Yes, students have really received emails like this over the past few days.

While it is understandable that Cornell has an obligation to accommodate students who are concerned about graduation, maybe the best solution is not shunting other students out of their classes two weeks into the semester. For goodness sakes, the add period ends on Tuesday. Instead of compromising other students’ graduation tracks, perhaps Cornell should be focusing on adding spots for seniors who need assistance in completing their requirements.

Recently there have been reports from students across colleges that they have been removed from courses that they had successfully pre-enrolled for in the fall to make room for students who are trying desperately to fulfill a distribution.

This issue can be linked directly to the size of Cornell’s student body, as overpopulation is becoming an issue across all departments. In Kennedy Hall’s Call Auditorium, classes are so beyond capacity that students are forced to sit on floors. During seminar style classes, students often sit in leftover chairs feet away from the discussion table, scrambling to contribute over the heads of their peers.

The large student body has only made enrollment more difficult. It has become noticeably harder — even in the short time that current students have been on campus — to build a schedule that fulfills requirements without making sacrifices.

Finally, many classes have caps and minimums for students of different years. Although seniors pre-enroll first, they don’t have access to all spots in a given course. And it is impossible to expect that every student complete their graduation requirements early due to the maze of enrollment limitations.

Look no further than the College of Arts and Sciences website to see just how confusing Cornell’s graduation requirements can be. This is even more true for students of the humanities as their majors often have no clear-cut track for matriculation and primarily require classes that have limited seating — Goldwin Smith’s smallest classroom seats about 18 students.

“Any person, any study” implies that it is the responsibility of the University to empower students who want to learn. Forcing students out of classes when they only have a week left to find a replacement is not the solution.

The above editorial reflects the opinions of The Cornell Daily Sun. Editorials are penned collaboratively between the Editor-in-Chief, Associate Editor and Opinion Editor, in consultation with additional Sun editors and staffers. The Sun’s editorials are independent of its news coverage, other columnists and advertisers.