At the Student Council meeting on Nov. 4, Bradley Berklich ’22, the Council’s vice president of academic affairs, announced that the administration will implement a change to the withdraw late (WL) procedure, colloquially known as the mulligan.
The mulligan, which can only be used once in a Kenyon student’s academic career, allows a student to withdraw from a class up to a week prior to exams, with the letters “WL” appearing on their transcript in lieu of an actual grade. Going forward, students are no longer allowed to withdraw late from a course if it would place them below 1.5 units of credit, or three standard courses, for that semester.
Ideally, the mulligan is geared towards helping first-year and sophomore students get back on track.
“The purpose of the mulligan is mainly to help out freshmen and sophomores who goof up or aren’t prepared for what they’ve entered into, or just make a couple of mistakes,” Berklich said.
Before this decision, there were concerns that seniors would use the mulligan to lighten their course load, particularly during their second semester. The minimum enrollment for seniors is 1.5 units, provided a student has at least 3.5 units for the year and 16.00 units for their Kenyon career. From there, it was possible to use the mulligan, which would result in a new minimum of one unit, or two classes, as opposed to the typical four.
This has been an ongoing debate for a number of years. Jack Stubbs ’17 wrote in the Oct. 2, 2014 issue of the Collegian that “according to the registrar, mulligan use by students has recently been on the rise.” He explained that “in the 2010-2011 academic year, 149 students used the mulligan across the four class years. [In the 2013-14 academic] year, 165 students took advantage of this option.”
However, despite Berklich’s concerns, Stubbs’ article also notes that seniors withdrawing late for any reason, regardless of intention, is rare. According to Stubbs’ article, as of 2014, “60 percent of the students use the WL option during their first two years at Kenyon, while only 15 percent use the WL option during their senior year.”
Despite these statistics, Berklich remains wary of those who would take undue advantage of this rule. “The mulligan is not in place to let the seniors have the easiest second semester they could possibly have,” Berklich said.