By Mackenzie MacDonald, Contributor
The “Failed pre-requisites” email mass-delivered to Laurentian students the afternoon of January 10, 2017 resulted in widespread panic among those who had yet to receive all of their first semester marks.
Laurentian’s registration office sent out the message to the entire student body, explaining what to do if you have failed a course that is a pre-requisite for the follow-up course.
This wasn’t a concern for students that have received all of their first semester marks; but at the time, the majority of LU’s undergraduate students were still missing some of their final grades.
Anxious students proceeded to flood the registration office with emails of concern, enough that Laurentian sent out a follow up email, apologizing for the earlier miscommunication.
Imane Ricard, manager of Systems & Records at Laurentian University, was the one who created and sent out both the initial email and the email of clarification. She has since expressed her deepest apologies on the miscommunication error.
“My email was meant to help students be fully informed and take action before it is too late,” she said.
“I never meant to scare anyone but some were scared because they did not realize it was sent as a precautionary measure to inform and make sure everyone knows about the prereq situation.”
“The intent was not to keep anyone in the dark,” Ricard said, “and to ensure [that] students are fully aware that if they didn’t pass a prereq they will be removed in the next 6 weeks from courses.
“We are short staffed and can’t [remove all students] in two to three days, so by the time we remove [everyone], course registration [will be] closed and no other options available.”
Ricard explained that the decision to send the email came after being inundated with emails from departments to remove the students who had failed their pre-requisite courses.
““The email is entirely my responsibility and not the university responsibility,” she said. “I didn’t consult with my peers before sending the email as I thought it would be helpful, and I do realize the [decision] was not thought through.”
This didn’t seem to be enough to appease the students made anxious by the original email. Later that same day on UMentioned Laurentian, an anonymous student posted a status asking, “So who else nearly died of panic after that ‘failed prerequisite’ email from the registrar?”
The response was immediate and overwhelming. With over 240 likes and more than 20 comments from angry and concerned students, it’s safe to say that this email hit home for many Voyageurs.
Kaella-Marie Earle, a third-year metallurgical chemical engineering student at Laurentian, was one of many who felt passionately about the way the school miscommunicated such important information to their students.
Earle said that Laurentian needs to reformat their Communications e-mails “to be a lot more concise, and a lot easier to read. The school administration just made hundreds of students anxious because they aren’t communicating important information properly.”
“Honestly, I nearly had a heart attack because of it,” said Nadia Dagenais, a first-year Women’s Studies student. “But then I realized that it must have been sent to everyone because all my prereq classes are 6 credits, so I couldn’t possibly have failed them. I just think it was a lack of sensitivity as well as a lack of communication between Laurentian’s offices.”
It seems to be the consensus between students that Laurentian’s communication emails need improvement; however, it is clear that this misunderstanding was nothing more than unfortunate word choice.
The registrar wants students to be reminded that they are here to help them, not stress them, and want to know how they can better communicate important information.
Imane Ricard welcomes feedback from students as she is dedicated to improving the quality and sensitivity of communication emails regarding difficult subjects, and has provided the student body with an outlet to voice any opinions or concerns that they may have. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.