The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

The University of New England's Premier Student News Publication

Nor'easter News

An Apology Goes a Long Way: My Response to Student Registration

A simple ‘sorry’ is all that was needed the Tuesday morning following class registration. After a stressful course registration night on Monday, campus dialogue was centered around malfunctions with the registration program and the lack of information from UNE representatives.

Having studied crisis management in classes at UNE, it’s clear to me that communication surrounding the registration predicament has fallen short of satisfactory. When tackling a crisis, apologizing and being honest are the two most important first steps. UNE  should have a clear plan, already established, that allows for an apology and a quick, effective response. 

By now, we all know how difficult registration has been this semester. After multiple attempts from IT and the registrar to fix issues that limited students from accessing U-Online, they eventually postponed registration for freshmen and sophomores until after Thanksgiving break. Seeing the IT department’s failure in remedying this issue has been frustrating. As someone studying abroad next semester, I didn’t experience any of these issues firsthand, but I know how important registering for classes is. It pains me to hear the stories from friends and peers about classes they missed out on or extra credits they had to sign up for. 

The process of registering for classes has always been messy and complicated. I don’t think anyone expects it to be a perfect system that always works as intended. I certainly do not. That is why it is understandable for there to be some hiccups during class registration. I am honestly surprised that issues like this haven’t occurred more often, with hundreds of students trying to access the website at once. However, because of that very point, it’s also surprising the university didn’t have a more thorough response ready to ease student concerns. 

The email sent by the Registrar following Monday night’s disaster didn’t include an apology, not even an implication of responsibility. No language in the writing revealed any guilt or regret for the situation. It wouldn’t have taken much for the registrar to express remorse for the upset, stressed students, but instead, to avoid the implication of fault, they chose not to. I am sure that everyone in IT is and was working diligently to fix the issues. But, it was not clear to me that the university understood some of the challenges students faced this past week. 

An apology would have gone a long way in empathizing with the student body. Instead, students were met with multiple emails from IT, the registrar, and the office of the Provost, explaining that updates to the system were being made and that this issue was unexpected. It was clear that the IT department and registrar intended not to blame anyone or anything specific but rather to display the issue as something unavoidable and unfortunate. The emails all came later than I thought acceptable. The first email from Student Affairs came on the Wednesday following the issues, and the Office of the Provost did not reach out to students until Thursday. This is far too long to be leaving students in the dark. 

A university holds the responsibility to keep its students informed. As a student at UNE, I need to know that important moments like this are taken seriously. We can’t have a scenario where some students can access class selection before others or upperclassmen students are forced to take more credits than they need to graduate. 

I hope registration is an issue of the past and that the university can move forward with the right plans in place for the future. This will serve as a great learning experience for faculty and students alike. 

Regardless of what changes are made in the future, class registration will always be a stressful time for students. 

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