This past week, a student emailed me with a complaint about a grade he received in Spring 2015.
Apparently, he did not realize at that time, that a grade of "C-" would not allow him to take the next class in the sequence. Now, he has attempted to take that next class, been denied because he did not receive a minimum grade of "C, " and decided to complain to both me and the Dean of Academics.
I immediately wrote to him and told him that the deadline for contesting a grade had long passed, and that according to our written policy, not being able to register for the next class was not a reason a student could contest the grade anyway. (This student had actually written in his e-mail that while he knew he probably deserved the C-, he did not think such a grade should prevent him from registering for the next class.) For the record, in our state, some colleges accept "C" and some accept "C-" as the barrier for registration into the next course. My department faced intense scrutiny for demanding the grade of "C" rather than "C-." And actually, at that time, I was in favor of "C-". (So sue me-----I just thought at the time that it would be better if we were in accordance with our cohorts throughout the state system…) But here is the kicker, y'all: in the end, my department succeeded in getting "C" as the standard for our college. And I am the Department Chair. I will die before I fail to uphold the written, fought for, and accepted standards we have all agreed upon (or at least accepted).
I wrote this student an unequivocal "NO" answer. NO---your C- will not allow you to register for the next class. SORRY you did not realize this, and contest your grade within the very reasonable time period stated in the student handbook. The answer to your question is a simple NO! You need to take this course again, and get a grade of "C" or higher. Thank you and goodbye.
My Dean of Academics wrote him something different. "Have the department chair check with your professor to see if the C- was a low C- or a high C-. Perhaps we can change your grade, if it was a high C-, to a C, so you can take the next class." When I protested, he insisted I meet with the student, contact the previous professor, and decide if the grade could be "tweaked."
I'll tell you what. I am fed up with this shit. He can kiss my ass. I did meet with the student, told him my academic dean was full of shit, and that a C- was a C-, and that was that.
The hopeful side of this equation is that this student was actually a sensible, intelligent person. He himself thought the Dean's response was "strange" and that if what he said was okay, then grades as assigned had no real integrity. I told this student that an alternative he had was to take a CLEP test for the class in which he received a C-. If he passed, he could then register for the next class. The cost of a CLET test is much less than the cost of taking the course again. The student was pleased to have an alternative that gave him the opportunity to see if he was actually qualified for the next class.
And I am still quite upset at the absolute lack of integrity in our administration! What a bunch of assholes we have, running the show!!