Confusion on KWOC internships

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Many students on probation after participation in the Kick Wells Fargo Off Campus (KWOC) protests last semester claim that the Macalester web page “Questions and Answers About the KWOC Protests at Macalester” misrepresents the consequences of their involvement.

Last week, The Mac Weekly cited the webpage, stating that “none of the students involved in the KWOC protests are being denied participation in study abroad or opportunities for internships.”

However, Hannah Siegel ’16 wrote in an email that the Internship Office denied her proposal to register her internship with Occupy Homes MN through the organization Neighborhoods Organizing for Change.

“The internship, which I started Monday the 9th despite the no-credit ruling, is with the community group Occupy Homes MN which fights for housing justice in and around the Twin Cities,” she wrote.

The internship is required for her to complete her major in American Studies. After seeing the quote on the web page, she decided to apply for credit.

“The administration’s claim that no one had been denied an internship created enough confusion that we weren’t sure if we still could not receive credit for an internship or, if now because of the backlash, we could,” she wrote.
Vice President for Student Affairs Laurie Hamre and Director of Internship Programs Michael Porter could not comment on a Siegel’s specific circumstances because of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, a federal law that protects students’ privacy in post-secondary education.

Porter wrote in an email that the “Independent Study” section of the 2013-2014 College Catalog states, “students on academic probation may not undertake internships.”

“Disciplinary probation adheres to the same standards,” he wrote.
According to Hamre, the information on the web page was accurate when it was posted last spring.

“I am fairly sure no student was registered for an internship at the time of the policy violation last spring,” she wrote in an email.

Hamre added that students would have been advised to appeal the probation in order to complete an internship this fall.

Director of Campus Life Keith Edwards, wrote in an email that KWOC students could appeal on a case-by-case basis.

“Appeals are limited to five days after the decision letter, but I’d be open to considering appeals beyond that depending on the situation,” he wrote.

Siegel wrote that she did not appeal the internship last spring and no longer can.

“I didn’t bother appealing, though other people in KWOC did, mostly because I did not have grounds to appeal on,” she said.“

I didn’t have anything specific that could be appealed, i.e. I disagreed with the punishment, but that alone is not grounds to have the decision appealed.”