Associated students approves new waitlist policy, effective fall 2022

by Eugènie Budnik, Staff Writer

At the University Senate meeting on Nov. 2, the governing body passed a new policy which will change the course waitlist process starting in the fall 2022 semester.

The current waitlist policy ranks students based on multiple factors such as “completion of course prerequisites, total units completed, whether or not the student is already enrolled in a section of the course, and the date/time added to the waitlist,” according to the SDSU Office of the Registrar website.

The new policy, which was introduced by the Academic Policy and Planning Committee, ranks students on the waitlist based on the order in which they are added to the waitlist. Effectively, when space becomes available in a course, students will be automatically added in order of the waitlist to the course over the first five instructional days of that semester. 

Pamela Lach, chair of the Academic Policy and Planning Committee said at the meeting the new policy will “align with the shift to the PeopleSoft Student Information Session, as well our [SDSU’s] move from a prepaid to a postpaid campus.”

The Academic Policy and Planning Committee explained the university’s switch from being a prepaid to a postpaid tuition campus and the Senate policy change approved in spring 2021 to the order of registrations which mandates students must register in a seniority based tiered order. 

However, the new policy also allows instructors to have the option of adding students to their classes using “permission numbers” in the days leading up to the schedule adjustment deadline. “Permission numbers” are private codes which can be given to students from instructors which allow them to register in the instructor’s course. 

This element of the new policy brought up concerns of favoritism from a few senators. 

“I would urge senators to oppose this policy if it means an instructor can select ‘this’ student over ‘that’ student for enrollment in the class rather than an anonymous waitlist,” Senator and philosophy professor Steve Barbone said. “It could make it possible for it to seem as if some instructors are ‘cherry picking’ their students.”  

The creators of the policy fought back against this concern, and instead discussed how this new policy of allowing instructors to invite students to their courses through permission numbers could help instructors keep track of their rosters. 

“In creating an automated waitlist, there were quite a lot of faculty who were concerned that they needed to have some degree of control of their rosters to ensure that only students who were prepared would be entering in their courses,” said Associated Vice President for Academic Affairs Stefan Hyman.

Ultimately, 44 senators voted in favor of the new policy, while 22 senators voted against the new policy. Five senators chose to abstain. 

Adrianna Redmond, a first year criminal justice and psychology student, found the new policy to be perplexing and unfair.

“I prefer the current policy because I think it is more fair to students,” Redmond said. “I think picking and choosing students to be in your class is a little odd. I don’t feel like the professor should be able to choose who they get to have in class.”

The new waitlist policy will take effect starting in the fall 2022 semester.