Three Strikes law to go into effect next summer

Laura Oikawa, marine biology, 19, Kyla Timmons, 19, undeclared, and Ty Poteet, 20, Psychology, show their support for the new Three Strikes law. (Alyssa Hunter)

Alyssa Hunter

CORRECTION: The Lariat was informed that the Three Strikes law start time has been changed. It will now be put into effect at the beginning of summer semester of 2012, instead of spring semester of 2012. This change was a result of colleges needing additional time to update their policies as well as inform the students.  This law still states that a student may not take a course more than three times with the grades of a D, F, NP (no pass), and/ or a W (withdrawal). The dates to drop classes without a W remain the same.  

The Three Strikes law states that if a student has taken a course three times with grades of a D, F, NP (no pass), or a W (withdrawal), then they will not be eligible to take the same course at Saddleback College. This will go into effect during the spring semester of 2012.

“It is really important to know that this isn’t a Saddleback rule or a rule that our district has created,” said Penelope Skaff, matriculation coordinator and counselor. “This is a rule coming down from the state, so it is something we have to do.”

This is a California law, which means there is no wiggle room for an instructor to let a student in a course for the fourth time, even if there is room available. The Three Strikes law applies to every student enrolled in a community college in California. No one is an exception to this law.

The highest priority is educating the students about this law, especially if it has the potential to effect them next semester. As the day to drop a semester course without a W approaches, a campaign will be put together in order to educate students about the Three Strikes law.

For students that are effected by this law and are wondering how to fulfill the required courses in order to transfer, these courses can be taken at a different community college district. However, because Saddleback and Irvine Valley College are sister schools, students will not be allowed to take the same course for the fourth time at either Saddleback or Irvine Valley.

Since this law goes into effect during the spring of this school year, students would still have time to register for the second eight week courses. This semester, fall 2011, is the last chance to enroll in a course for the fourth time.

“I think universities should just take W’s a lot more seriously, especially if you have three or more in the same class. I just don’t think they should ban you from taking a class you need,” Michael McLaughlin, 19, biology said.

There are situations in which a student has to unexpectedly withdrawal from a class and receive a W.

“Dedicated students take W’s. Serious hard working students receive substandard grades,” said Kevin O’Connor, dean of liberal arts and learning resources. “But I think when people have followed the same path three times unsuccessfully, I don’t know how many opportunities, for that same student, the institution or the system wants to give that student.”

For those students who have taken a course multiple times and, for whatever reason, cannot pass it, there are resources located on campus to help you achieve a passing grade.

“The college does an amazing job with support for students with our Learning Assistance Program, with special services, our reading labs, and all the [free] tutorial that we offer,” Skaff said.

As this law approaches, there are dates that every student must keep in mind. The last day to drop a semester long course without a W is Sept. 23. The last day to drop a late start course without a W is Oct. 6. The last day to drop a second eight week course without a W is Oct. 31. 

Kyla Timmons, 19, undeclared, reading the poser about the Three Strikes law. (Alyssa Hunter)

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