On Mon., Oct. 22, PSU president Daniel Bernstine issued a statement to all faculty and staff members urging them to be lenient toward students who may soon be called up for military duty.
“If you are contacted by students who have been called to military service, please offer (these students) as much flexibility as possible,” in a statement Bernstine wrote to faculty and staff. “They may have only 24 hours to report for duty and need your assistance in making this difficult transition.”
The transition won’t only be difficult emotionally as these students leave friends and family to an unknown destination. As Bernstine suggested, leaving PSU on such short notice can also become an enormous administrative hassle.
“A wide range of potential academic and administrative problems may arise for these students,” the statement read.
The administrative problems these students face come from withdrawing from classes after the withdrawal deadline. Usually, students who withdraw after Oct. 19 don’t even receive a partial refund for their tuition fees. They are also denied partial credit.
But Bernstine’s appeal to leniency will allow for these students to exceptionally receive a full refund. Bernstine is also allowing students to choose between a pass or an incomplete for the term, granting them credit for their initial effort.
This won’t be the first time PSU will extend grace to students forced to quit their classes and fight for the country. Chris Goodrich, PSU’s veterans services coordinator, said similar allowances were made for students during the Gulf War.
“We had 20 to 30 students called out of school to go serve in Desert Storm,” he recalled.
These students belonged to either the Guard Unit, the Reserve Unit or the Inactive Reserves, and were generally between 26 and 36 years old.
About 300 students at PSU fit this mold, and are eligible to serve in active duty. But as Goodrich noted, their chances of being called up are slim.
“I suspect (the amount of call-ups) will be much smaller than Desert Storm. That was a fairly large call-up.”
Fewer PSU students will be called up this time simply because of the unconventionality of the war.
“This is a war unlike many in that we’re fighting at home,” Goodrich said, adding that the most common task for students called to active duty will be to “replace people in domestic service.”Since these students will probably serve in America, their responsibilities may resemble common, everyday jobs.
“Students will mostly deal with security-type issues or technical support such as helping to move large amounts of equipment,” Goodrich said.
These students will be among 50,000 guard and reservists the president indicated he will be calling up.