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As students we have the right to choose our semester subjects (for the new semester beginning in 2019)

So we went send an email to the department chair indicating what subject we would like to take.

We received days later the notification about the courses to be open and my course was not there.

I went to talk to him and his justification in summary was this "He did not read my email and now it is too late to propose the course and he already did his plans".

But that's not true at all and I can prove it.

So he clearly has another reasons on why to not open the course for me.

So I think I have 2 options about how to deal with this:

  1. To go and talk about this with the Academic Vice President.

  2. To do nothing and to take one of the courses that are going to be open the new semester.

If I do 1. ' I'd win ' for sure and the course would be open thought the department chair would not be happy at all.. so I'd possible get into trouble with him because I know he is a vengeful person and I might not be the only one possible affected but my sister as well (she is a freshman) in the same institution.

If if do 2. I'll be an unhappy student the whole semester, studying something that I don't like at all but there won't be problems with department chair.

Could someone tell me what should I do?

What would be the best to do in this situation?

  • When I said vengeful person I meant that he could choose the most 'agressive' professor to teach me in a summer course for instance or that he could deny to sign a recommendation paper or to make my academic life a little bit more difficult – user90284 Dec 17 '18 at 21:09
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    I don't understand the situation in your department - do you mean you are guaranteed the right to choose your subject by official policy? Is this written in a student handbook or similar document? Does that document describe the official procedure for choosing the subject (including deadlines, etc.)? – ff524 Dec 17 '18 at 21:31
  • @ff524 Yes, there is a student regulations book where there are our rights, obligation, rules, etc. No, it does not describe the official procedure for choosing the subject. You can go directly to his office too or send an email. – user90284 Dec 17 '18 at 21:39
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Well, your chair's answer is not helpful at all and if he really did not read the mail, it is quite unprofessional. Nonetheless, things may happen (and they happen to me, too, sometimes - but I would prefer to apologize instead of beeing rude).

When it is too late (which might be the case), there is nearly no chance in adding additional courses because of a usually very complex interaction of time budget of each professor, other obligations, minimum course attendance policies, administrative deadlines for setting up information systems, room bookings, etc.

Maybe there are requirements regarding minimum sutdent attendance (e.g. we are not allowed to teach courses with less then three people (unless we do it in our spare time)).

To make a long story short: There may be very good reasons for the answer, but I agree, the answer is rude and bad style. But because of this I would suggest to make the best out of the situation and accept the courses as they are.

Maybe my answer would be different if you could provide more information about the ruels under which you are usually allowed to choose your subjects.

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This question looks a little bit opinion based, so it may actually be forbidden to ask it here, but I try my best..

I would advise you to really think again about your assumption "'I'd win' for sure". I don't know your situation, but I cannot believe it's so sure due to many reasons:

  • Often, if it is too late, new courses can not be added even if there was some mistake before. This is due to many reasons: room booking systems, maximal amount of hours professors want/are allowed to teach, administrative reasons, reasons related to budget etc.

  • Why should a new course be added if only you want to take it? If others want to take it too, why did it not have been added?

  • The statement "I'll be an unhappy student" comes across a whining even if it's true and is probably not convincing.

  • This chair seems to have a lot of influence and, if you are correct, acts in bad spirit against you. How do you know she/he will not continue to tell their version of the story to the Vice President? Normally, the voice of a student will not be heard in academia.

  • The whole issue sounds to irrelevant for a Vice President to take on.

From your story, I do understand that you are in a small college (this chair knows you so well that they even act against you) and the chair would be willing to act against you and your sister. From this viewpoint, I would advise you against doing something.

Sadly, in my experience, professors often get away with bad behaviour and students are often not considered. (This may be different in other places.)

Try to get happy with the other courses and study your subject on your own. Good luck!

  • Well you're right that he knows me well, he had taught me before in past courses. You advise me to not to do nothing about it. Wouldn't this led him to do whatever he wants in the future against me? I mean, not respecting my rights as student – user90284 Dec 17 '18 at 21:42
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    My impression of the case is that you will probably not win (maybe this is also because I don't have the bit picture - can tell us why you are so sure?) and that it is not so important (even if it feels that way). If in the future, he does something different against you, you could again evaluate how severe it is and if you would "win". It could also be that leaving this one be makes him forget his spite against you in the future. – Haque Dec 17 '18 at 21:51
  • In any case, document everything (including your proofs that he is lying) just in case you nees it at some point. – Haque Dec 17 '18 at 21:51
  • I feel sure that I'd win because the Vice President is an honest person who follows the rules and with my proof he would realize about the unfair actions by the department chair. – user90284 Dec 17 '18 at 22:07
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    I understand. For all you know, I could be the evil chair;) however, I stand by my answer -- in my opinion, the best you can get, even with proof, is "sorry, a mistake was made. Next semester, the issue will be handled with more care." – Haque Dec 17 '18 at 22:47

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