Stripped of the right to fail

By Evan Perkins

We come to class, work hard to pass and then when registration
time comes around, most of us get utterly screwed. This is college
in a nutshell.

Are we really in charge of our college careers? No, I don’t
think so.

There was a time when students truly did determine what they
wanted out of college but that era has long since passed.

Between ever-rising tuition costs, cramped parking and a lack of
class offerings altogether, students are about as in control of
their college paths as leaves caught in the breeze.

We involuntarily go where all of these external forces blow

On top of all of these factors is the removal of one of the most
basic students rights ” the right to fail.

Although it might seem to contradict the overall goal of a
college education, the right to fail is one of the most basic and
essential rights that students have ” at least they used to.

The right to fail is the ability of a student to enroll in any
class he or she desires regardless of class standing or

If the student is ill prepared or lacks diligence in their
studies they will fail the class ” that failure is their right and
their choice.

Prerequisites should be a suggestion not a rule.

What the administration forgets is that the people seeking to
take these classes are intelligent adults. They made it into
college in the first place. Give them some credit and allow them to
make their own decisions.

Having the right to fail restores students’ control of their
college careers, while forcing prerequisites on them only further
restricts their already dwindling freedom.

In a perfect college world, one where classes are abundant and
necessary courses are always offered, most prerequisites are

However, the real-life situation provided by the California
State University system in no way resembles a perfect world.

Classes are virtually non-existent. Combine this fact with
prerequisite requirements and you end with a recipe for frustration
and a prolonged college stay.

The whole system falls apart when a student can’t even get into
the prerequisite classes in the first place.

I have no doubt that prerequisite courses are designed to
prevent students from getting in over their heads.

I understand that these regulations were created with good
intentions, but that mentality does not suffice.

Administrative practices need to stop sheltering us from
failure. It is no one’s place to do this.

A college degree stems from the knowledge gained in core and
support courses not prerequisites.

At the end of the day a simple question stands out.

“Who is paying for our college?”

That’s right, it’s students that are coughing up hard earned
dollars to be on this campus in the first place. Since they are
footing the bill, shouldn’t they be able to choose what classes
they want?

Time is money and any movement to expedite the college process,
such as the removal of unnecessary prerequisites, stands to benefit
students directly.

Why are students so accepting of regulations that prevent them
from taking the classes they want and need!

As of now, students are far too content to sit back and
helplessly sulk as college gets progressively worse.

This cause needs more voices in order to be resolved.

Maybe I just have issues with authority, but I’m getting
incredibly tired of being told “No.”

Stripped of the right to fail

Photo illustration courtesy of Daniel Nguyen

Stripped of the right to fail

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