ROTC students struggle with scheduling

Leanne O’Neill

Enlist in the military or pay back scholarships: This is the decision faced by ROTC members who do not graduate on time.

Kent State’s registrar office allows cadets to register for classes on a slightly different schedule than other students. As opposed to the traditional credit-based schedule, cadets can register on the first day available for their year in school. This option was made available this past spring when registering for fall classes, Lt. Col. Daniel Finkelsein said.

Finkelstein said cadets sign a contract with the United States government agreeing to graduate by a certain date and, in turn, are given scholarships by the government. If cadets are unable to graduate by their designated date, they must either pay back their scholarships or enlist in the military for two years.

In past semesters, Finkelstein has reached out to department heads to help cadets get in their classes to prevent this dilemma from happening.

Additionally, cadets commonly struggle with scheduling classes that conflict with their weekly ROTC classes, said Paul Makuszewski, a ROTC member and senior computer science major.

“I’ve had some courses where I’ve had to push them back multiple semesters,” Makuszewski said. “And not knowing when I’ll graduate because I can’t get the courses in.”

Gail Rebeta, Kent State’s university registrar, said there were many considerations when coming to her decision to revise ROTC students’ registration schedule in the spring of 2014.

“What we worked out, with the assistance of the provost office, was this opportunity for them to receive some priority registration for those ROTC student who were under contract,” Rebeta said. ”I thought based on what they were asking for, that this was a fair compromise.”

Melody Tankersley, associate provost for academic affairs, said she communicates with both ROTC and Rebeta about matters like these.

“She has to balance in making those decisions,” Tankersley said of Rebeta. “I am confident that she gave every consideration possible in coming to this conclusion and she’s always open to seeing how it works and if we need to readjust at any point.”

Tankersley said she would like ROTC students to have the opportunity to register early and understands the demands and schedules of cadets, but she has not seen many issues arise due to scheduling.

Finkelstein said the university helps the ROTC program in many ways.

“The overall thing is that we get great support here, and I’m happy with that,” Finkelstein said. “This is just the one thing that doesn’t make sense to me.”

While many broken contracts may not be directly from the inability to register classes, Finkelstein said there have been occasions in which students have failed classes due to the stress of having a non-cohesive schedule.

Capt. Philip Bergeron said junior and senior cadets act as supervisors to many underclassmen, including those who join Kent State’s ROTC from other schools. He said upperclassmen cadets are required to take four credit hours per semester of ROTC classes. When the supervisor isn’t able to make it to the leadership class, it makes it harder to help those they are supervising.

”The university works great with us because they do count some of the upper division courses that the juniors and seniors take as their upper division electives,” Begeron said.

Contact Leanne O’Neill at [email protected]