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Joseph
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: Legal
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Experience:  Attorney with significant and substantial experience in multiple areas of law.
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2 or 3 years ago I was the 45th diagnosed case of a condition

Resolved Question:

2 or 3 years ago I was the 45th diagnosed case of a condition known as CVS (Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome). I was unable to attend my university due to the mid-semester hospitalizations and vomiting episodes. There is a system at my college UMass Boston whereby you can retro-actively withdraw from classes up to 4 years after the class if you had extenuating circumstances which I clearly did and have the medical documentation/ evidence of and have provided. They responded the same week even though investigations usually take 2-4 weeks according to them saying that they did not find that my circumstances were extenuating enough to grant me the withdrawal which would allow me to continue my college life. I am trying to take a meeting with the Dean of Students to try to explain the situation. If that does not work though, I want to know what legal approach I can take because I really do feel that being hospitalized and sedated is an extenuating circumstance. Please help me Sir/Madame, I am in a bind here.

Thank you so much.

Hassan Taher
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello Hassan,

I'm sorry to hear about your situation and hope I can help.

Do you by any chance have access to the policy that allows for the retroactive withdrawl from classes due to extenuating circumstances?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Yes I do have the policy paper as a hard copy and this is the online link to the pdf:


 


http://cdn.umb.edu/images/academic_support_services/ug_studies/Retroactive_Withdrawal-Drop_Info_Sheet.pdf

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Can you tell me if you completed the course (and received a grade) or did you receive an incomplete?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I received an incomplete I never completed any of the courses, I registered for multiple semesters and didn't finish the class, in my brief weeks of being well I would think that this semester would be different and I would register but just couldn't attend, withdraw or complete any of the courses

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
How many times did you take the course? Were you hospitalized each semester that you took it?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I was hospitalized around 5 or 6 times In different hospitals over the 3 years and registered for 5 semesters all I need is for them to grant me the withdrawal on just 2 of the 5 semesters for the hold on my academic account to be lifted. I doesn't seem fair that I should pay for these courses, not be able to take them and then have them affect my GPA on top of everything if you know what I mean.


 


This was their e-mail response:


 


Hi Hassan,



I am writing to inform you that we have reviewed your retroactive waiver application. Upon further review, unfortunately we are not able to grant an approval for a retroactive withdrawal for classes enrolled in the Summer 2011, Spring 2012, Summer 2012, Fall 2012, and Spring 2013 semester. The reason we are not able to grant an approval is, although we sympathize with your situation, you do not present any acute extreme, extenuating circumstance that caused you to miss the withdrawal deadline. It is the student’s responsibility to take the necessary action to meet the university deadlines.



I apologize for not having better news. Please understand that we are held to the strict university policies when evaluating waivers. Since you have been dismissed from the University, you may want to consider enrolling into a different school to start anew.




I wish you the best in your continuing studies.



Best Regards,


Annie Duong


Undergraduate Studies Coordinator


University of Massachusetts Boston


Undergraduate Studies


100 Morrissey Blvd.


Boston, MA 02125


Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Hassan,

I will look into this and back with you shortly.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Thank you Joseph let me know if there is anything else I can give you that would help

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Thanks Hassan.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

Sorry i need to reply so that it can take me back to the other page (ignore this message)

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
No worries.
Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
I realize the above information is not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!

-Joseph
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I'm sorry I didn't see "the above information" which you mentioned

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Sorry didn't go through the first time, see below:

Hello Hassan,

Honestly, it seems that the policy that UMass Boston has in place for extreme and extenuating circumstances is a fairly subjective one, and depends on what they consider extreme and/or extenuating.

I would think that they would be much more willing to grant you a retroactive withdrawl during the semester(s) that you were hospitalized, especially if you were hospitalized for multiple days and could not go to class during that time. However, they did point out in the letter that it is generally a student’s responsibility to drop classes within the allowed time frame, so it seems necessary that you would have to have had such an episode to successfully be able to retroactively withdraw from the course.

Also, since CVS is a chronic (not an acute) illness, it seems that if they were to grant you retroactive withdrawl, it would allow anyone with a similar chronic illness to always be able to maintain that the illness caused him or her to drop the course. (For instance, someone with diabetes or an immune system issue could then always claim that they should be allowed to withdraw due to their extreme health condition). The fact that this occurred five semesters in a row also doesn’t help you, and it seems that there’s no way to guarantee that this would not occur if you were allowed an opportunity to re-enroll.
The one legal approach that you can and should take would be to claim that you are being discriminated against on the basis of your disability (perhaps in relation to other disabilities and health conditions). If your school refuses to reenroll you, then you could file a complaint under the Americans with Disabilities Act for discrimination on the basis of a disability. Honestly, that would be an uphill battle, but it is possible that the school would grant you retroactive withdrawl and a chance to re-enroll on that basis.
I realize the above information is not what you wanted to hear and I sincerely XXXXX XXXXX had better news to give you, but I hope you appreciate an honest and direct answer to your question. It would be unprofessional of me and unfair to you to provide you with anything less.

Please let me know if you have any follow up or clarifying questions as I want to ensure that you are completely satisfied with my service. Please contact me first if you are contemplating leaving me a negative rating, as I’ll be happy to continue to address your concerns until you are completely satisfied with my service.

If not, please remember to rate my answer positively so I get credit for my work.

Thanks and best of luck!
Customer: replied 1 year ago.

I will definitely thank you so much Joseph for all your help and sincerity. Just to conclude you think I should leave a legal approach as a last resort because it's an uphill battle?


 


Again, I very much appreciate the time and effort you put into my answer


 


All the Best,


 


Hassan Taher

Expert:  Joseph replied 1 year ago.
Hello Hssan,

Yes, I would definitely suggest that you try to resolve the situation with the University without resorting to any legal action, and only using that as an absolute last resort.

If you only need two semesters excused, I would suggest that you heavily focus on the two where your condition was the worst (and you have the most documentation) to see if you can at least get them to reconsider retroactive withdrawl for those courses.

Thanks you and best of luck!
Joseph, Lawyer
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 5047
Experience: Attorney with significant and substantial experience in multiple areas of law.
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