Not a free clinic

BY RECORD STAFF

In Contracts class, they teach us that specific performance clauses are unenforceable. Clearly, they have never signed up for a clinical course at HLS and later tried to drop it.

The Office of Clinical Programs has a policy that once students sign up for clinical placements, they must complete their clinical work or receive an incomplete for both their placement and the accompanying classroom course, even a course from a previous semester. A student who takes a fall course with a spring clinical component cannot drop the clinical in the spring without retroactively dropping the fall course as well. Given that students need a certain number of credits per semester, most cannot afford to drop a whole class from a past semester and still graduate. They effectively are forced to work.

This policy probably is designed to protect the organizations that take on interns. It would be unfair to ask these professionals to take time preparing projects for interns only to have the interns leave on a whim. Unfortunately, the policy is enforced so strictly that it can often leave students with that all-too-familiar feeling of lonely impotence in the face of a rigid HLS bureaucracy. The Office of Clinical Programs allows exceptions only if a student has a death in the family or some similar emergency.

Is this really necessary? Why is it that HLS staff and administrators apparently live to torture students with their adherence to the rules? Why can there never be a single exception at the Distribution Center to the rule that only enrolled students get the materials for a course? Why can’t one buy stamps in the Holmes Mail Center at 12:55 PM?

Perhaps unswerving rigidity is the keystone of this great institution, but we doubt that a modicum of common-sense flexibility would bring the whole thing tumbling down.

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