ESIA halts transfers

The Elliott School of International Affairs will add requirements for intra-University transfers this spring and refrain from accepting transfers until the end of the fall semester.

ESIA administrators expected 450 incoming freshmen to enter the school this fall, but 500 ended up enrolling, said Hugh Agnew, ESIA associate dean for curriculum and student affairs. He said the number of freshmen and the addition of about 50 internal transfers over the past five years caused administrators to realize ESIA’s resources were being stretched.

ESIA currently has a total enrollment of 1,800 students, 114 over the anticipated number for this year, Agnew said. He said Elliott School deans are currently talking with Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs Donald Lehman about increasing funding to the Elliott School next semester.

Lehman was unavailable for comment this week.

“I think that you could say every positive (such as increased interest) carries with it a challenge,” Agnew said. “Our concern is to meet the challenge of this positive development. If we swap that experience with numbers without having control over the gateway, the experience would become diluted.”

Agnew said administrators were concerned the Elliott School would not have enough faculty to teach classes and discussion sections nor have enough classroom space to accommodate internal transfer students, but a new transfer policy should help alleviate the problem. Agnew said ESIA administrators recently began formulating the new transfer policy, and faculty will vote on it in December.

Agnew said he believes prospective transfers will be required to have a minimum GPA, minimum amount of credit hours and a suggested course load to be taken before transferring. A minimum credit hour requirement would prevent most freshmen from transferring into ESIA.

Before this semester, all students could transfer to the Elliott School as long as they were in good academic standing with the University.

Agnew said the new policy will most likely have a “grandfather clause” so it will not affect students already attending the University at the time of its adoption.

Several students were affected by the transfer freeze this semester, disallowing them from entering the Elliott School until next semester at the earliest.

Sophomore Mirit Zunis said she was testing out different political science classes and had settled on joining ESIA before she heard the school would not admit transfers.

“(Now) I’m kind of veering away from the school because it’s ridiculous what happened,” she said.

“I arranged my entire schedule around being in the Elliott school to do international affairs,” sophomore Meryl Harold said. “And without being able to join (ESIA) … there’ll be no reason for me to stay here.”

Spurred by student concerns, Student Association Sen. Asher Corson (U-CCAS) met with Sen. Anyah Dembling (U-ESIA) to form a resolution encouraging the Elliott School to expedite forming a policy for students wishing to transfer into the school. The legislation cleared the Academic Affairs Committee and will come to a full Senate vote on Tuesday.

Corson said, “It’s a shame that kids who have decided they want to be in the Elliott School are having their college careers compromised like this.”

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