(pregnant third-year) beggars can’t be choosers (in vet school), right? Obviously not.

Dr. Isis has posted on a recent going-on in the school of veterinary medicine at UC Davis. A third-year student became pregnant. Not having any formal procedure for dealing with such situations, the following email was sent to all of her fellow third-year students:

Dear Colleagues,

One of our classmates recently gave birth and will be out of class for an unknown period of time. This means she will undoubtedly miss one, or more, or all quizzes in VMD 444.  Dr. Feldman is not sure how to handle this and has requested the class give input and vote.  He has provided us with 6 options on which to vote and is open to any other ideas you may have.  Most likely a CERE poll will be up next week and a voting will close no later than Wednesday.  If you have other suggestions please email them to Dan or I ASAP. We will alert you to the opening of voting. Below are listed the options that Dr. Feldman has suggested. Please reserve comment on these options and provide us your opinion on them by voting when the time comes.  Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

a) automatic A final grade
b) automatic B final grade
c) automatic C final grade
d) graded the same as everyone else: best 6 quiz scores out of a possible 7 quiz scores (each quiz only given only once in class with no repeats)
e) just take a % of quiz scores (for example: your classmate takes 4 quizzes, averages 9/10 points = 90% = A)
f) give that student a single final exam at the end of the quarter (however this option is only available to this one student, all others are graded on the best 6 quiz scores and the % that results)

Please let us know if you have other thoughts on how to handle this situation and please keep your eye out for the upcoming vote.

Thank you for your time and consideration,

Your Presidents

When you finish swearing aloud at the computer screen, do pop over to Dr. Isis’s blog for the full story, including the reply Dr. Isis received from emailing their department chair. (NB. it will necessitate further swearing.)

(Thanks, J!)

11 thoughts on “(pregnant third-year) beggars can’t be choosers (in vet school), right? Obviously not.

  1. Speechless indeed. WTF!!!?

    Important part of the linked article:

    “I believe that Dr. Feldman’s actions reflect a failure of the most senior leadership at UC Davis to educate their faculty in the treatment of pregnant students. As such, I would ask something I rarely ask of you. I ask that you write the chancellor at UC Davis, Linda P.B. Katehi (an online form is available here) and ask her office to further investigate Dr. Feldman’s actions.”

  2. It is.. ironic? … that this occurred at UC Davis. UC David School of Medicine was where the Supreme Court’s Bakke decision originated back in the 70s. The Bakke decision centered on the issue of whether race could be considered in admissions.

    Here, on the other hand, we have an agent at a public institution taking a VOTE among students as to what a reasonable accommodaiton would be.

    This is a wild story, and it will be interesting to see what happens with it!

  3. Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi sent the following letter on Jan. 13 in response to e-mails that she received earlier in the day concerning a class at the School of Veterinary Medicine. She is sharing the letter with the campus community.

    Thank you for sharing with me your concerns about a female student in the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and the manner in which a faculty member reportedly handled the student’s brief time away from school for childbirth. I have received numerous e-mails today expressing concern about this matter.

    I want to assure you that I take very seriously any allegations that a student’s welfare, dignity or academic rights have in any way been compromised. And as a woman, who has experienced firsthand the challenges of melding academic and family life and has experienced discrimination, I am especially sensitive to this issue. This alleged action, if found to be true, would present a serious deviation from the values and principles that guide our campus and our School of Veterinary Medicine, and I would be profoundly disappointed if the reported events did in fact transpire on this campus.

    I have asked Ralph Hexter, UC Davis’ provost and executive vice chancellor, to initiate a thorough review of this matter. He will ensure that all appropriate procedures are followed and that the appropriate campus authorities will make a final determination as to whether any campus policies and procedures were violated and, if so, what steps need to be taken. I expect rapid attention and response from the provost.

    Our veterinary school, with an enrollment that is 85 percent female, has a long history of providing accommodations for the health and well being of its students and their families. During a student’s pregnancy, the school customarily works with her to help catch up after being away for childbirth or to arrange for an extended leave after which she can resume her academic program. And for mothers of infants, the school provides a lactation room so that students can continue breastfeeding their babies.

    I am committed to taking swift and appropriate action, should it be warranted, for any finding of faculty misconduct. Again, thank you for your note and please do not hesitate to contact me on this or other matters of concern.


    Linda P.B. Katehi

  4. I love that they could, by vote, give her an A without having any knowledge of her current mark in the class. Too bizarre.

  5. I think that this student will be getting a legal settlement that should cover her tuition and student loans.

    What kind of idiot would not realize that putting a student’s academic record out in public would be illegal? I don’t think that it would be very hard for her classmates to identify who the student in question was.

    BTW, my solution is to give the student an Incomplete and make arrangements privately to make up the work in accordance with the school’s policy. Doesn’t this happen all the time?

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