Some Hunter students missed weeks of classes this month after a mix-up caused Hunter to believe that they had not submitted their immunization records.
Students were academically withdrawn from their courses on Nov. 8 for not submitting their immunization records, which serve as proof of required vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella. Students say that this is not the case; they did submit them. But it took Hunter days and in some cases weeks to reinstate these students to their classes.
“I submitted my immunization records back in August through Document Uploader on CUNYFirst. I received an email to fix this, and I did but was still withdrawn,” Jacqueline Moglia, a Hunter sophomore, said. “I have been removed from my classes because of information I have submitted more than twice at this point.” She says that at one point, students were told by wellness staff to bring their records in person in the future. Because of the pandemic, bringing documents to Hunter in person wasn’t a possibility this year.
For students who were academically withdrawn, the in-person or hybrid classes they were taking were deleted from their Blackboard, and on CUNYFirst, the grade for their class was input as “WA,” meaning Administrative Withdrawal.
In order to address the issue, students lined up outside of Hunter’s Office of Counseling and Wellness, located in the North Building. Junior Sofia Gonzalez waited around an hour and 30 minutes in line to be seen by the office and be given further instructions, but had to leave her spot in line to attend class.
“It’s quite a setback because all of my homework is online and I couldn’t access it for a week,” Gonzalez said. “I also was generally confused on how to upload [the records] on my computer, because there was no way for me to do it on mine, and I had other people look at it and they couldn’t figure it out either.”
Students standing outside of the wellness office in the North Building. Photos by Nikole Rajgor.
A student at another CUNY school also faced academic withdrawal, but her experience was different.
“I just called my health office and they fixed it,” Safiyah Algashmi, a John Jay freshman, said. When she got the ominous email about potentially being pulled from her classes, she was able to reach her school’s health center on the phone to tell them of the mistake, and it was fixed the same day.
This is a stark contrast from the lack of response that Hunter students faced. With no response to emails to Hunter’s Registrar either, students had no other option but to come to campus, where they were initially told they’d need to submit a WA Grade Reversal Form. They were later told this form wouldn’t be necessary, but not before some students already went to lengths to get it filled out.
“I was visiting home on Long Island, and had to travel to campus that same day because the office didn’t allow another student to get the form for me,” Moglia said. “And when I tried to email the Registrar a question in regards to the form, I did not get a response from them.”
On Nov. 12, the wellness office waived the WA Grade Reversal Form. However, students still needed to either re-upload their immunization records to CUNYFirst or submit them in person, which is what the Office of Counseling and Wellness recommended. From there, students waited for an email confirmation from the registrar that they had been reinstated into their courses.
Sophomore Benjamin Yakubov was also withdrawn from his classes. He believes that the Office of Counselling and Wellness could have handled the situation better.
“I think the Wellness Center could better deal with the issue by responding to students’ emails, quickening the process of verifying documents, and having more hours and days available to come to the office,” Yakubov said.
Hunter’s media relations did not respond to The Envoy’s request for comment.