When a student has not followed a University Faculty Senate policy or procedure and believes an exception to the policy may be warranted, he/she may submit a petition to the Senate Committee on Undergraduate Education Subcommittee on Academic Standards.
A petition may be used to request an exception to any policy and/or to request a retroactive procedure. The committee does not grant petitions automatically. Strong, documented justification must be provided to establish the circumstances that warrant a retroactive action. Student petitions are always submitted through the college/campus in which the student is currently enrolled, no matter where the student attended during the time of the request. Students are responsible for obtaining documentation from another college/campus if applicable. Students who are not currently enrolled will submit their petition through the college/campus in which they were enrolled while taking the course(s) in reference.
Common petition types are retroactive withdrawals, late course drops, late course adds, and retroactive administrative cancellation of a course. Retroactive registration requests require a petition under the following circumstances: (1) if the request is submitted more than nine months after the end of the semester or session; (2) if the student never scheduled courses for the semester or session; and (3) if the student cancelled his/her registration for the semester or session.
At Penn State Mont Alto, students begin the petition process by talking to Jeff Gable, Campus Registrar, in the Records Office in Conklin. He will send the petition to the University Faculty Senate Office at University Park. Students should not send petitions or supporting materials directly to the Faculty Senate office. Petitions are reviewed continuously through the academic year, including summer sessions. After a petition is submitted, students can expect a decision within three to five weeks from the time the petition is received in the Senate Office.
If a petition is denied, the student may appeal the decision if he/she can provide additional information to support his/her case.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR PREPARING A PETITION
It is to the student’s advantage to submit a complete, well-documented petition. A petition must establish why the student did not use existing University procedures before the established deadline.
Students will need to complete a Student Petition Letter. After completing the form, students should either print the letter sign and date, or print to pdf and sign and date. The form must be returned to the campus Registrar's office in person or through the student's Penn State email account.
**Please note, a separate petition letter is required if the student is petitioning for each term or petition type.
Along with the student’s letter, he/she should provide documentation of the circumstances that he/she claims justify an exception to University policy. Some examples are hospital records, a letter from a physician, a statement from a counselor, a statement from a student financial aid advisor, a statement from an instructor or an academic advisor, or court records.
If the student is alleging that his/her extenuating circumstance is the result of one or more of the following problems: (1) unfair teaching practice; (2) misinformation from University personnel applying a University regulation, policy, or procedure; or (3) an administrative, advising, or clerical error, then the student should provide documentation from the appropriate academic, administrative, or advising unit.
If a student alleges that the failure of a LionPATH enrollment or course drop resulted in the extenuating circumstance, then the student’s LionPATH transaction log will be examined as part of the petition review process.
ADDITIONAL INSTRUCTIONS FOR SPECIFIC TYPES OF PETITIONS
- Retroactive Withdrawal: The petition should be accompanied by a completed Withdrawal Form. If the student is petitioning for a withdrawal from more than one semester, a Withdrawal Form for EACH semester should be included.
- Retroactive Late Drop or Add: The petition must be accompanied by a completed Drop/Add Form. (If the petition is approved, the $6.00 schedule adjustment fee will be charged to the student’s account.) A late add action will add a course onto a semester that is already displayed on the transcript or to a current semester is the student is in registered status.
- Retroactive Registration: The petition must be accompanied by a completed Drop/Add Form. Completed Grade Change Forms must accompany the petition; the Records Office will obtain them.
- Retroactive Grade Change: The petition must include a letter from the instructor of the course, supporting the change and explaining the circumstances surrounding the student’s request. (Disputes are addressed through the grade adjudication process.) A request for a retroactive grade change should be accompanied by a Grade Change Form; the Records Office will obtain the form.
An email indicating if a petition has been approved or denied is sent from the University Faculty Senate Office to the student within three to five weeks from the date that the Senate office receives the petition.
Note: Trauma drop/withdrawal procedures will be followed when a student’s circumstances require unusual confidentiality (e.g., the victim of a sexual assault or violent crime). This procedure is streamlined to reduce the number of people involved in processing.
(PSMA Records Office 07/13/2022)