New ‘three strikes’ course policy to be implemented at community colleges

Students only have three chances to pass their classes after a recent policy change.

These changes are going into effect at the start of the summer 2012 term, according to the changes made to Barclays Official California Code of Regulations, specifically to Title 5, education.

Currently, students are limited to seven times, a student can withdraw up to four times and fail three times.

However, when these changes go into effect, students will have a total of three times to pass a class at one school district, with withdrawal ‘W’ grades counting towards the three times you have to pass, according to an email sent to students from the Los Rios Community College District.

With students facing these changes, faculty say they feel the need to let students know about the changes and reinforce the idea that students need to stay on top of their studies.

“It was one of the reasons why we were so concerned about getting the information out to students to begin with,” said Professor of Theater Arts Kale Braden, president of Cosumnes River College’s Academic Senate. “The administration and the academic senate had really started to talk about this before the semester started to get faculty to let students know this was coming.”

Hoyt Fong, chair of counseling at CRC, said that the appeal process to remove a ‘W’ from a record will be “difficult.”

Some students said the changes are a bit unreasonable.

“ I don’t really think it’s fair, that we have three chances to pass, with ‘W’s’ counting towards that,” said Roger Cha, a 22-year-old business major. “I don’t think it is too fair based on dropping, but I could understand if someone failed three times.”

Faculty said they have mixed feelings about the decision.

“ I can’t even give you a number (of) how many students this will impact, but I think it will hurt a significant number of students who want to get into key majors and careers,” Fong said. “The intention of the change is good, but the timing is horrible.”

The changes would not punish a student who has dropped a class before the first four weeks or 30 percent of the semester and would not count towards the number of times a student is allowed to repeat the course for a satisfactory grade, according to the California Administration Code Title 5, section 55024.

The issue is making sure students know about these changes and letting them know they need to stay on top of their studies.

“If you’re going to take a class, stick to it,” Braden said.