The Recording Committee

What is the Recording Committee?

  • The Recording Committee is a standing committee of the College composed of faculty, students, and staff whose purpose is to address matters pertaining to the academic standing of individual students and to consider exceptions to the policies and procedures governing academic life. The Recording Committee generally meets every other week to consider student petitions and meets at the end of each semester to review the records of those students who are subject to probation, suspension, or dismissal.
  • One of the major functions of the Recording Committee is to serve as the academic rules and regulations appeal committee. All of its decisions are final. There are times when exceptions to academic regulations or curricular requirements are appropriate. However, in order to maintain the integrity of the Bowdoin degree, and ensure fairness and consistency, the Recording Committee approves all such exceptions.
  • One of the most common petitions to the Recording Committee is a petition to drop a class after the drop deadline. Some petitions are approved and others denied. The circumstances of the individual student's petition are what guide the decision. Generally, if there's an extreme medical or personal circumstance, something beyond the student's control, drop petitions are approved. They are not approved if a student is simply trying to avoid a disappointing grade. Courses that are dropped through the Recording Committee will be indicated with a W (withdrawn) on the student's transcript.
  • The Recording Committee believes strongly in student accountability and responsibility. In general, petitions are only approved if the Committee determines that the situation is something truly beyond the student's control. Course changes approved by the Recording Committee will require payment of a $50 late fee per change, unless the change is made for reasons outside the control of the student.

Before You Decide to Petition:

  • It is strongly recommended that you make an appointment with both your student dean and academic advisor when deciding whether or not to petition.
    • Check Polaris to find the contact information for both your dean and advisor under the "Academic Contacts" section at the bottom left.
  • Questions to consider:
    • Can you make a convincing case why an exception should be made for you?
    • Why should a policy/rule that applies to all other students be waived for you?
    • Can you convincingly argue that the situation prompting your petition was truly beyond your control

What Should Your Petition Include?

  • Review the Recording Committee Petition Form [PDF] and complete it in its entirety.
  • Your petition should include a typed statement (maximum length: 1 page) that addresses all relevant questions the Committee could be expected to ask in its deliberations.
    • You must present compelling justification for requesting an exception to policy.
  • Some petitions may require supporting documentation from a faculty member, doctor, counselor, or the Director of Accommodations for Students with Disabilities.
    • It is your responsibility to present your case fully. The Committee will not make assumptions in your favor when information necessary to support your case is missing.
  • Finally, your petition must also include your signature and the signature of your dean and advisor so be sure to schedule appointments with both your dean and advisor.
    • Your dean and advisor's signatures on a petition signify that you have discussed the petition and/or the petition process; it does not necessarily mean that your dean or advisor approves or supports your petition.

When Should Your Petition Be Filed?

  • Submit your completed petition to the Office of the Dean of Students, located in Moulton Union, 2nd floor.
  • The Recording Committee meets every other week during the semester and does not regularly meet after the last day of classes--see right aside for exact dates.
  • The deadline for a completed petition to be considered by the Committee is two full working days before the bi-weekly meetings, e.g. most Committee meetings are held on Wednesdays, so all petitions should be filed by 10:00 a.m. the Friday before the schedule meeting.
    • Petitions received after that time will be reviewed at the next Recording Committee meeting.
    • The Dean's Office will not accept petitions that are not complete.

What Should You Do After Filing?

  • Until you receive notification of the Committee's decision, take no action that may adversely affect your status in a course.
  • Keep going to class.
  • You will receive notice of the Committee's decision the day after the meeting.