University News

Nearly 400 kicked out of poli sci course

Senior Staff Writer
Wednesday, February 2, 2011

More than 380 students will have to search for a new course to take this semester, as the Department of Political Science has capped POLS1510: “Great Powers and Empires” to 300 students.

“I’ve taught this class before and I’ve never had a problem giving overrides or students not being able to take the course,” said Minh Luong, the adjunct lecturer of political science who teaches the course. “Right now there are 680 people enrolled in this class, which way exceeds the capacity of (Salomon 101).”

The capacity of Salomon 101, including the balcony area, is 594 people.

According to Luong, another 125 students who had not yet registered were also trying to enroll in the class.

Luong said James Morone, professor of political science and chair of the department, told him the class must be capped and that only juniors and seniors will be allowed to enroll. Luong said that he felt this was “within reasonable limits of what the University believes is best for the students,” adding that an oversized class makes it difficult to grade exams and goes against fire safety regulations.

“It’s upsetting obviously, I think everyone is upset about it,” said Rachel Rosenfeld ’13, who — as a sophomore — will not be allowed to take the course. She said she had heard Luong is “amazing.”

“Given the unprecedented situation, there was a tough choice to be made and Professor Morone made it,” he said. “The people affected this year will have the opportunity to work with me in an improved version of the course in the future.”

According to Luong, the Office of the Registrar was so sure that the class would have low enrollment that events had already been scheduled in Salomon 101 on some Wednesday and Friday evenings during class time.

“I am both shocked and very humbled,” Luong said. “The last time I taught this class there were a little over 300 students and the time before that around 267.”

Luong said that he has “no idea” why the course was so popular this year, suggesting that it was perhaps due to a resurgent interest in period movies, human rights and international relations. He added it might also be due to an impression that this course will not be taught again, as he had initially indicated in his first lecture. But given the popularity of the course, it will likely be offered again, he said.

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