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HCC board votes to end makeup test fee policy

May 31, 2006|by TIFFANY ARNOLD

Under a new policy, instructors at Hagerstown Community College no longer may charge students who miss exams a $20 fee for a makeup test.

Teachers also no longer are allowed to receive the $20 fee charged for those exams, a policy the school's president called "highly unusual."

"I know of no other institution that charges fees," HCC president Guy Altieri said.

The college's Board of Trustees - during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday - voted unanimously to discontinue the policy.

"That's just not acceptable," said board member Wayne E. Alter Jr., who, like several of the board members, said he was unaware of the practice until Tuesday's meeting.

Trustees Margaret E. Hetzer and William J. Reuter did not attend Tuesday's meeting. The board is comprised of seven members.

Anna Barker, vice president of administration and finance, said students paid $20 through the finance department, which later applies the amount to the teacher's paycheck.

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Officials on Tuesday were unable to quantify how many teachers charged the fee or how much money was given to teachers, though Altieri estimated that roughly a fourth of the school's faculty charged test fees.

Judith Oleks, the school's vice president of academic affairs, presented the new policy on behalf of the school's Academic Standards Committee. HCC faculty long has been divided on the issue, Oleks said.

Spring Ward, speaking on behalf of the college's Faculty Assembly, said the assembly did not agree with abolishing the makeup fees. Ward, a political science professor, said repealing the fee infringes on the teacher's academic freedom, and said that most teachers donated the makeup fee back to the school.

"We wish to remain in control of that decision," Ward said.

Merle S. Elliott, chairman of the board of trustees, said the board would consider reinstating the fee if the Faculty Assembly could agree on the policy that would not permit the money to go to teachers. Elliott said the assembly would be able to determine where the money would go.

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