ECSU tightens regs for diploma walk


Elizabeth City State University has tightened its rules for allowing students who haven't completed all their degree requirements to participate in spring and winter commencement.


By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Elizabeth City State University has adopted stricter rules for student participation in spring and winter commencement ceremonies.

A revised graduation ceremony participation policy approved by the ECSU Board of Trustees at its June 11 meeting continues to allow students to participate in commencement if they lack two courses needed for graduation. However, the policy now requires them to have attempted all the courses needed for graduation.

Students who have failed one or two courses they need to graduate will be allowed to participate in the ceremony with the understanding that they will take the required courses and pass them before actually receiving a diploma.

ECSU Provost Farrah J. Ward told trustees' Academic and Enrollment Services Committee that students who have failed one or two courses have a strong track record of returning to finish those courses to complete their degree.

The previous version of the policy allowed students who lacked up to two courses needed for their degree to participate in the ceremony even if they had not enrolled in those courses.

The revised policy requires students to have attempted all the courses needed for graduation in order to participate in commencement. The key requirement added in the revised policy states: "(The) student must have enrolled in all courses remaining for degree completion during the semester when participation is being sought."

The policy lists regular graduation requirements, which include successful completion of all coursework required for the degree. But the policy also includes a section that authorizes students who are close to completing the degree requirements to apply for permission to participate in the ceremony.

"In addition to students who fulfill the above graduation requirements, the provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs may permit students who are close to completing degree requirements to participate in the commencement ceremony," the policy states.

The policy requires students applying for the special permission to have a cumulative grade-point average of 2.0 or better and to lack no more than two courses or eight credit hours needed to graduate.

All undergraduate degrees at ECSU require completion of 120 credit hours.

The number of students missing a course or two who were allowed to participate in commencement at ECSU was 27 in spring 2018, 10 in fall 2018 and 19 this spring.

ECSU is not the only UNC campus that allows the practice. Other institutions with similar policies include Appalachian State, East Carolina, Fayetteville State, N.C. State, N.C. A&T, UNC-Greensboro, UNC-Asheville, UNC-Wilmington, UNC-Pembroke and Western Carolina.