STAFF EDITORIAL: Would petition fee increase serve any benefit?

As Lawrentians, we know the cost of higher education. We pay for tuition, room, board, books, activity fees, and other miscellaneous items throughout the year. Even with the large increase in tuition last year, we accept these things as part of the package. We knew about them or expected that they might happen when we signed on. With all this in mind, we are displeased that the Registrar’s Office has put a plan in the works that will increase petition fees from $10 to $50 per request. This is neither necessary nor acceptable.Our objection isn’t so much to the actual fee increase, but to the reasons behind it. The Registrar’s objectives are not clear. Are they trying to decrease the number of students that drop classes after the deadline and subsequently lessen their workload? Most likely, if a student needs to drop a class to keep from receiving an “F,” they are going to pay the fifty dollars. Lawrence students are very conscientious of what appears on their transcripts, so the fee increase isn’t going to prevent any extra work, just increase revenue.

Is the number of students dropping classes after the deadline so overwhelming that the Registrar can’t handle the workload? It doesn’t seem that the action of changing a grade has become so strenuous and time-consuming since last year that the effort needed has actually quintupled. The Registrar office may be understaffed, but again, is their workload really going to be decreased? Perhaps the solution isn’t raising fees on students, but hiring more Registrar staff, if that is indeed what is needed.

One member of the Registrar’s office commented that other schools charge larger fees for adding or dropping classes past the deadline, but St. Norbert’s doesn’t charge anything, St. Olaf has a $25 fee that is examined on a case by case basis (i.e., if the add/drop is deemed beyond a student’s control, they don’t charge a fee), and Marquette has no fee unless the class was an overload. St. Olaf’s approach seems most like the path Lawrence should consider. It is quite reasonable and has the individual attention that “the Lawrence difference” prides itself on.

The increased fee is not yet applied and may not be until next term. We hope the Registrar will consider if the change will realistically have any positive effect on the student body.