Student Petition Process

What is a student petition?

A student petition is a formal request for a waiver of a Senate Policy. Waivers would include any Senate policy listed in Policies and Rules for Undergraduate Students.

Preparing Different Types of Petitions

  • The Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards requires specific documentation for each petition type.
  • Please follow the guidelines on the Student Petition Types page.

How is a Student Petition Initiated?

  • Students initiate the petition process by speaking with an adviser at their college/campus advising center.
  • Occasionally, the college/campus will submit a petition on behalf of a student. This may occur when:
    • For some reason the student cannot submit the petition themselves. (examples: incapacitating illness, military deployment)
    • An administrative/college/campus error is found.

Preparation of the Petition

Students are responsible for much of the preparation of the petition. However, students should not send petitions or supporting materials directly to the Faculty Senate Office.

For students enrolled at University Park:

  • Students enrolled in a college will submit their petitions through the Dean’s office of the college in which they are enrolled
  • DUS and Provisional students will submit their petitions through the Division of Undergraduate Studies
  • Non-Degree Conditional students will submit their petitions through the Dean’s office of the college in which they plan to enroll
  • Non-Degree Regular and World Campus students planning to enroll in a degree program will submit their petitions through the college/campus in which they plan to pursue a degree. Students who are not pursuing a degree at Penn State or are undecided about a college will submit their petitions through the Division of Undergraduate Studies
  • View University Park petition contacts at this URL: http://handbook.psu.edu/content/university-park-deans-offices

For students enrolled at a campus other than University Park:

  • The petition will be submitted through the campus in which they are enrolled
  • View non-University Park petition contacts at this URL: http://handbook.psu.edu/content/petition-contacts-non-up
  • 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.
  • Petitions are reviewed at the college/campus level and submitters will make a recommendation of support or non-support. Then the petition will be forwarded to the Senate Office where it will be reviewed by the Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards.

Non-Degree Students

  • Non-Degree students planning to enroll in a degree program, will submit their petition through the college/campus in which they plan to pursue a degree.
  • Students who are not pursuing a degree at Penn State, or are undecided about a college, will submit their petition through the Division of Undergraduate Studies.

Petition Documentation

  • Students should retain a copy of their petition(s) and supporting documents. Once submitted, the petition and supporting documents become a part of a student’s educational record.

World Campus Involvement

  • Petitions involving World Campus course work must have a review at the World Campus in addition to the college/campus review before being submitted to the Senate Office.
  • After review at the college/campus, the petition should be forwarded to the World Campus. A World Campus adviser will provide a letter with enrollment history and information relevant to the student’s petition.
  • The college/campus is always the submitter of the petition.
  • The World Campus website may be found at: http://www.worldcampus.psu.edu/

eLion Involvement

  • When students indicate failure of the eLion system as the basis of their petition, the Senate Office will obtain an eLion log from the Office of the University Registrar.
  • eLion logs show the date, time and action for all eLion activity. (For example, the log will show the date and time a student attempted to late drop a course and whether he or she completed all the necessary steps.)
  • The eLion log is included with the petition which is then reviewed by the Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards.

Office of Student Conduct Involvement

  • If a student petitions for a retroactive late drop or withdrawal, verification is done through the Office of Student Conduct to determine if there are academic integrity violations in the referenced course(s).
  • Students with violations that resulted in an academic sanction for a course or courses will not be permitted to retroactively remove a grade for the course(s) being petitioned.

Trauma Petitions

  • Trauma drop/withdrawal procedures should 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.
  • At University Park, a trauma drop/withdrawal is initiated by the student in consultation with the following people:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Center for Women Students, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    • If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or Tammy MacAlarney, Case Manager; or Dr. Ben Locke, Director; CAPS, 221 Ritenour Building, 814-863-0395.
  • At non-University Park campuses, a strong letter of support from a staff member, petitioning for trauma drop/withdrawal may be forwarded to the appropriate contact for processing. The appropriate contacts are:
    • If the student has not met with a counselor at the Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), the student should consult with Margaret Lorah, Director, Center for Women Students, 204 Boucke Building, 814-863-2027.
    • If the student has met with a CAPS counselor, the student should consult with this counselor; or Tammy MacAlarney, Case Manager; or Dr. Ben Locke, Director; CAPS, 221 Ritenour Building, 814-863-0395.
  • A student letter is not required. The appropriate University form must be submitted with this request.

Process of Review

  • The Senate Subcommittee on Academic Standards has the authority for reviewing all petitions.
  • The Committee reviews petitions continuously throughout the academic year, including summer sessions, and petition reviewing is not coordinated with meetings of the University Faculty Senate.

Decision Making

  • First reviewer makes a decision on petition.
  • If decision is “granted”, the petition is officially granted.
  • If decision is “denied”, the petition must go to a second reviewer.
  • If second reviewer denies, the petition is officially denied.
  • If second reviewer grants, the petition must go to a third reviewer.
  • If third reviewer denies, the petition is officially denied; if third reviewer grants, the petition is officially granted.

Student Petition Appeals

  • If the petition is denied, students may appeal the decision only if they can provide additional information to support their case. Appeals should be prepared according to these guidelines.
  • The appeal process is the same as the original petition process. Students should follow the same procedures and begin at their college/campus advising center.
    • Prior to beginning the appeal process, students should contact the Faculty Senate office by phone at 814-863-0221 or by email to determine why their original petition has been denied, and to get suggestions for what may be helpful to provide in an appeal.

Timeline

  • After a petition has been submitted, students can expect a decision within three to five weeks from the time the petition is received in the Senate Office.
  • If there is a valid reason for a petition to be expedited, (such as upcoming graduation), petition submitters should note this by marking the check box designated “Expedited Review” on the Petition Cover Sheet.
    • We are aware that all students/submitters would like their petitions to be processed as quickly as possible. Please use the Expedited Review option only when there is a legitimate reason for the petition to be processed faster than normal.
  • There is no time limit for submitting a student petition. Occasionally students may submit valid retroactive requests post-graduation. However, prompt resolution of transcript discrepancies is encouraged for the best outcome.

Petition Cover Sheet

  • The petition cover sheet was developed to aid in clarity and completeness.
  • Cover sheet is not to be filled out by the student; this is for college/campus use only.
  • Cover sheet is to be used for every petition that is submitted.
  • Additional comments by petition submitter may still be included on a separate sheet of paper if desired.
  • The petition cover sheet may be found at: http://senate.psu.edu/wp-content/uploads/sites/13525/2014/09/Petition-Form-051116.doc

Senate Contact Information

For additional information or specific questions concerning the student petition process, please contact:

Anna Butler
University Faculty Senate
101 Kern Graduate Building
Phone: 814-863-0221
Email: afb11@psu.edu