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CONTACT INFORMATION
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114 Tillman Hall
Rock Hill, SC 29733
803/323-2225
803/323-3001 (fax)

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Faculty Governance

Policy Title
Undergraduate Petitions Committee/ Process and Procedures
Policy Description

The Undergraduate Petitions Committee is a standing committee of the Winthrop University Faculty Conference. The Faculty Conference Bylaws, Article XII, section 10, describe this committee as follows: "This committee shall be responsible for acting on petitions from individual undergraduate students for variations in the general education requirements and other University-wide academic regulations."

General Policies of the Petitions Committee

The academic regulations and General Education curriculum of Winthrop University are established by the Faculty Conference, Academic Council, the General Education Committee, and the Committee on Intensive Writing and Intensive Oral Communication. The Petitions Committee can grant exceptions to those policies, to the extent allowed by the Winthrop University Undergraduate Catalog, but the committee cannot change decisions made by the groups mentioned above. A petition is unlikely to be approved if the student does not show that the circumstances are significant enough and exceptional enough to justify an exception to the regulation or General Education requirement that is being appealed.

The Petitions Committee is also guided by the following statement of student responsibility, which is found on page 6 of the Winthrop University Undergraduate Catalog, 2009-10.

All students are responsible for the proper completion of their academic programs, for satisfying the general regulations stated in this catalog, for maintaining the grade point average required, and for meeting all other degree requirements. Students should secure guidance from an adviser, but the final responsibility remains that of the student.

Two types of petitions are considered by the committee: (1) recourse for academically ineligible students, and (2) a general appeal procedure for students seeking variations from General Education requirements and other university-wide academic regulations.

Recourse for Academically Ineligible Students

The recourse policy applies to students who have been suspended or permanently dismissed from Winthrop University for academic reasons. This policy, which is found in the Winthrop University Undergraduate Catalog, 2009-10, page 10, reads as follows:

If an academically ineligible student feels there are extenuating circumstances in his or her situation, special consideration may be asked of the Committee on Undergraduate Petitions. Procedures for petitioning are as follows:
(1) A typed petition from the student must be presented to the Registrar stating the specific extenuating circumstances (see Item 4 following) which prevented the student from succeeding in his or her course work. This petition must be accompanied by a physician’s supporting statement or by other documentary evidence of extenuating circumstances. The petition must include the student’s name, student number, address, major, class, telephone number, and adviser’s name. A petition form is available in the Records Office.
(2) The typed petition must be received by the Registrar at least one week before the beginning of the semester for which the student wishes to be readmitted.
(3) The Registrar forwards the petition, along with all supporting documents, to the Petitions Committee.
(4) Decisions are based only on extenuating circumstances such as illness, death in the family, or emergency military service.
(5) Those who are readmitted by the Committee are notified and are allowed to register for courses.

In addition to the General Policies of the Petitions Committee listed above, the Committee considers the following factors in making decisions about this type of petition:
--Are there documented extenuating circumstances?
--Are these circumstances significant enough to justify approval of the petition?
--Has the student analyzed the causes of academic problems and presented a realistic, well-developed plan for improving academic performance?
--Did the student consult University College faculty, or other appropriate faculty or university staff, in developing the plan?
--Does the petition have the support of university faculty, staff, or academic administrators?
--Do supporting faculty, staff, or administrators give a rationale for their support, either on the petition form or in an attached statement?
--What decisions did the committee make about other recent petitions that are similar to this one?
--Does the petition include any other factors that the committee should consider?

Policy Procedures
General Appeal Procedure

The General Appeal Procedure applies to students who are seeking variations from General Education requirements and other university-wide academic regulations. The policy, which is found in the Winthrop University Undergraduate Catalog, 2009-10, page 10, reads as follows:

Any undergraduate student may appeal for variations in the general education requirements and other university-wide academic regulations by submitting a typed petition to the Committee on Undergraduate Petitions.
Petitions must be accompanied by supporting statements or other documentary evidence which the student judges pertinent to the petition. Petitions should be addressed to the Committee on Undergraduate Petitions, in care of the Registrar, and should include the student’s name, student number, address, major, class, telephone number, and name of adviser. A petition form is available in the Office of Records and Registration.
To be considered at a regular monthly meeting, petitions must be received by the Registrar at least one week prior to the published meeting date of the Petitions Committee.
The Registrar forwards the petitions, along with any supporting documents, to the Undergraduate Petitions Committee and relays to the student the decisions reached by the Committee.

In addition to the General Policies of the Petitions Committee listed above, the Committee considers the following factors in making decisions about this type of petition:
-- Is there a well-developed rationale for granting the petition?
--Is the rationale consistent with the student s transcript and with any documentation or statements of support that are included with the petition?
--Has the student taken responsibility for understanding and meeting degree requirements, as described in the Winthrop University Undergraduate Catalog
--Does the petition have the support of appropriate university faculty or academic administrators?
--Do supporting faculty or administrators give a rationale for their support, either on the petition form or in an attached statement?
--What decisions did the committee make about other recent petitions that are similar to this one?
--Does the petition include any other factors that the committee should consider?

If the student is seeking to meet a General Education requirement with a course that has not been approved for that purpose, the Committee also considers the following:
--Is the course substitution an appropriate way to meet the General Education requirement involved in the petition?
--Does the documentation include the course syllabus or a supporting statement from a faculty member who teaches the course?
Policy Author(s)
Petitions Committee
Effective Date
May 2010
Review Date
May 2010