F. University General Petitions FAQs
Which form do I use?
- Use the ‘Extenuating Circumstances – Medical’ form if the request is for a complete retroactive withdrawal from a semester for medical reasons (the student’s medical reasons, no one else’s).
- For requests for retroactive withdrawals for reasons of harassment or discrimination, please contact the Office of Institutional Equity, University Services Building, 888 N Euclid Avenue, Room 113, Tucson, AZ, 85721-0158 - Phone: (520) 621-9449
- Use the ‘General Petition’ form for all other requests to waive University Academic Policy.
How long does this process take?
There is no set length of time. Once the petition is received in the General Petitions Office, it will be reviewed to make sure that all the necessary documentation is attached (Is the petition form signed? Are all the required instructor statement forms included, did the Dean’s Office sign the petition, etc.). If anything is missing the student will be contacted. Other departments or offices at the University may be contacted for additional information if the student mentions them but does not include any information for the Committee (e.g. If the student says in his/her statement, “My advisor told me not to drop the course during the semester,” the advisor might be contacted to verify this or provide additional information.)
Once the petition seems complete, it is routed to each Committee member, individually, for his/her review and vote. The committee member can request additional information if they have questions. A petition needs 3 of 5 agreeing votes for there to be a final decision. Each reader takes a different amount of time depending, in part, on how many petitions they are reviewing at once, time of the semester, etc.
Medical retroactive withdrawal requests are first routed to Campus Health for review of the medical documentation. The petition is then forwarded to the Committee, without the medical documentation, for voting.
What is the purpose of the Instructor Statement form?
For a retroactive withdrawal petition, the Instructor Statement form is not a letter of support for the student’s request. Part of the Committee’s decision process involves needing to know if/when the student stopped attending class, what his/her grade was at that time, and if he/she took the final exam - facts that need to come from the course instructor. This information indicates for the Committee if the student was eligible to withdraw from the class at the time they stopped attending and if they completed all the work in the class. Incomplete information on the instructor form may be considered as missing documentation.
If the student’s medical documentation will come from Campus Health, does it need to be submitted with the petition?
No, but please attach a note to the petition saying that medical documentation is with Campus Health.
What if a student is going to submit the same request for multiple semesters?
Students should fill out a separate petition form for each semester. They do not need to send duplicate copies of documentation that applies to all the semesters. For instance, if the request is for retroactive withdrawals from two different semesters, the student should include a petition form for each semester, instructor statements for each of the courses they were enrolled in during those semesters, but only include one set of any documentation or personal statement that applies to both semesters.
Why was this petition denied?
While many student petitions have some merit, University policy, precedent, or a lack of convincing evidence might justify denying the request. The following are some of the factors that influence Committee decisions:
- The student is ultimately responsible for knowing and following University policies and procedures.
- The student has the responsibility to meet deadlines and to check for errors in course registration in a timely fashion. Demonstrating that this responsibility has been satisfied, or alternatively, that the petitioner could not possibly satisfy the responsibility, weighs heavily with the committee.
- The committee rarely intervenes in situations where individual Colleges can act to remedy a situation.
- The committee will act on the basis of the materials presented. In some cases, the committee cannot grant the request because of missing materials.
If your petition is denied, you may make an appointment to meet with the co-chair of the Committee for additional explanation or clarification of the petition decision. After meeting with the co-chair, petitions may be resubmitted for reconsideration but this is not likely to result in a changed verdict unless the student has something new to add or new documentation that the committee has not seen and should take into account. New information must be submitted in order for a petition to be reconsidered. Meeting with the co-chair does not mean the decision will be overturned.
Can a student request a retroactive withdrawal past the one-year deadline?
In order for the Committee to agree to review any retroactive withdrawal request past the one-year deadline, the student will need to clearly explain and fully document why they could not comply with filing a petition within the one-year deadline. Not knowing there was a deadline or not being on campus is not a persuasive argument.