Expected Exceptions

I work at a community college.  This institution is funded by the state.  Having said that, there are certain rules and regulations in place that we, as the college, cannot change. 

Many people, especially parents, become upset when I cannot release their child’s information to them due to FIRPA laws.  I hear the same line every time, “That’s ridiculous!  I’m their parent!”  While I understand where they are coming from, the college cannot change its policy.  This is state law we’re talking about.

I realize that the countdown to school starting has begun.  But, I have noticed that more and more students are coming unprepared when trying to enroll.  The college requires that a photo i.d. be presented when attempting to do anything dealing with enrollment services.  Students have gotten angry and even hostile complaining that they “don’t want to have to go back to their car” to get the necessary identification.  There are two large signs that state “Photo I.D. Required” right outside of the registration windows.

The other major issue that I have seen has to deal with prerequisites.  These are courses that must be taken before other courses in the sequence can be taken.  Example, Spanish 101 must be taken before you can take Spanish 102.  Makes sense.  Not to many students feel this way.  The requirements for each course offered are in the course catalog as well as on the college’s website.  Still, the people in registration get blamed for the student’s lack of preparedness (and understanding).

More recently, I heard someone say, “I am 72 years old!  I shouldn’t have to send my transcript here to prove that I’ve taken a prerequisite course!”  Not only did this man cause a scene, but he threatened to bad mouth the college in a newspaper.  Really?  What type of behavior is this for a 72 year old?  I call it a bad example for the younger generation.  Just because this person is of a certain age, the college should bend the state rules to keep him appeased?  Ridiculous!  He of all people should understand the concept of rules and laws.

Registering for college can be a daunting task.  There are so many steps that need to be taken in order for the process to go smoothly.  However, most of the complaints that I have heard have been from students misunderstanding or misinterpreting what someone else has said or read.  When other staff members try to help by pointing out where the rules or requirements are listed, furry ensues.

Why does everyone in this world think that they should be an exception to the rules?  I believe that we as a nation do nothing but make excuses and exceptions for people to do whatever they want to do.  This does nothing but exacerbate the narcissism that is already running rampant throughout the nation.

Like the adage goes, rules are there for a reason.  If we did not have rules, there would be utter chaos.  And simply stated, the rules are in place to protect all parties involved in the higher education realm.

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