Students cry `honors!'

by Robert Schoenberger

Daily Cougar Senior Staff

"Students who have completed a portion of their..." is a sentence (or part of a sentence) Mikee Delony will remember long after she graduates from the University of Houston.

Even with her astonishing 3.97 GPA, Delony recently learned she will not be able to graduate "with honors" on May 11 because UH requires transfer students to have either 72 total hours or 60 advanced hours in residence.

The honors in question are the cum laude, magna cum laude and summa cum laude awards for high GPAs, not standing in the Honors College.

This requirement is clearly stated in both the 1995-97 and 1991-93 catalogs. The 1993-95 catalog, which Delony entered UH under, simply says, "Students who have completed a portion of their..."

UH administrators were quick to admit there is an error in the catalog, but they also said there is nothing they can do about it.

Vice Provost Charlotte Tate said although she sympathizes with Delony, the university has no choice but to maintain its academic policies.

"We have people who have been going here all along who have worked very hard," Tate said. "We want to make sure our students have graduated `with honors' from the University of Houston."

Tate only heard the case after Delony's college -- Humanities, Fine Arts and Communications -- denied her petition.

"Early on, when appeals were made because of a printing error, they were denied," said Lawrence Curry, an associate dean for HFAC. "We decided, in fairness to the students, to send this complaint up to the provost's office (because of the recent changes in administration)."

Curry said although he wishes something could be done for Delony, he agrees with Tate on the need to maintain academic policies.

"For many students, the lowest grades they make are outside their majors," Curry said. "If students take hours outside of their majors away from UH, their GPAs will be higher."

This is not the case for Delony. The 45-year-old senior had a 4.0 GPA when she transferred to UH from Kingwood College.

Although Curry said the provost's office informed advisers of the typo, Delony said she met with three advisers, and none of them informed her of the 72-hour requirement.

Tate said although the advisers know the regulations, most try to help students graduate. "I don't think most of the advisers think `honors, honors, honors.' "

Very few students have been affected by the typo, said HFAC adviser June Waldman. She added that students should have noticed the half-sentence and asked what was missing.

"There are maybe a half-dozen students who don't read (the policy), don't notice it or don't have it pointed out to them," Waldman said.

Delony said she knew of at least five people who are currently petitioning UH because of the policy.

Tate does not offer much encouragement. "We just had to follow what is correct for the majority of people and maintain our integrity," she said.

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