No winners in spring drops, fee policies

What if the electric company shut off power to everyone who was a penny behind on their bills? What if the due dates and the billing system changed simultaneously? Would people be out in the cold?

Missouri Southern is in such a quandary. Students who did not pay their tuition, fees, outstanding bills or otherwise get their financial house in order are being dropped from classes.

Due to the ice storm, the drop deadline was pushed back from mid-December to Jan. 4, then Jan. 11. Those few drops felled so many students that classes were cut and students in low-enrollment classes were also dropped. Cue the mad dash of re-enrollment during week one, then the drop on Jan.18.

During this week it took special permission of the instructor and department head to re-enroll, even for classes where the student had been attending and completing work. To the best of our knowledge and the understanding of those faculty and staff we have consulted, no plan exists to reinstate students dropped after today.

Everyone seems to be pointing fingers and singing out, “Not my fault!”

There have been moments of mercy. Pushing the date back from December to the beginning of the year, holding the Jan. 11 drop on students who had a few dollars in books only to see them dropped anyway on Jan. 18.

There are no winners here. The instructors are caught between trying to approve overrides for students already in their classes and the usual latecomers. Registration is swamped. Students are in a class – they’re out of class. They don’t understand what their enrollment status is.

Change of any kind is difficult. Change on this scale creates repercussions. It is hard to imagine a person on this campus not touched by the ripple effect touching students, the staff who work with them and the instructors who teach them.

This began as a way to encourage students to settle their bills on time, not an impossible goal. The million-dollar question is what went wrong?

We can ask if it is the rule itself, the way it was processed, the information given or the individuals who did not pay on time. The elements of blame go all the way around. The important thing now is to fix it.