By Lauren Whitaker
Volunteer State Community College students under the Tennessee Promise Grant were lied to about holds placed on their account to force them to meet with an adviser to register for fall classes.
Targeted students received an email in April when registration opened. This email was from Dasha Harris, the project coordinator for the Tennessee Promise Forward Grant.
The email told the student that they were receiving it because the student received a letter grade of C or below in one or more of their courses. The email further communicated to the student in bold that they would not be permitted to register for classes until they had met with an advisor.
“Vol State wanted to use their Tennessee Promise Forward Grant for a proactive advising initiative for Tennessee Promise students to have mandatory second year advising as well as advising if they don’t do well in a course,” Harris said. “The holds that were put on registration is from the Forward Grant. We actually didn’t put any holds on students’ accounts, so no one has received a hold from this grant yet.”
The email was sent out before it was decided that holds would not be put on the targeted students’ accounts.
“Two or three weeks later, I sent a follow-up email that just said, ‘Hey, just a follow-up. We would like you to meet with your advisor. It is mandatory advising. I know you don’t have a hold on your account right now,’” Harris said.
Harris then retracted her statement. “I didn’t say that. I didn’t say there was no hold on your account,” she said.
Harris decided to leave students believing there was a hold on their account because she wanted students to take advising seriously she said.
“Honestly, I had already scheduled to meet with my advisor I think a week before I got the email,” said Nick Kieser, a second semester freshman at Vol State who received the email.
Kieser was confused by what made him need to meet with his advisor.
“It caught me off guard. I thought it was biased for making an effort over one class I could possibly be doing bad in. It wasn’t a positive reinforcement,” Kieser said.
Kieser never received a follow-up email from Harris.