Student Punished for Creating Class Registration Website


August 6, 2012
by Suada Kolovic
Registering for college classes takes time, patience and, above all else, persistence. If you’re a college student, then you’re familiar with the frustrating process: It’s officially your last year and the only obstacle standing in your way from victoriously crossing that graduation stage is COM: 101 – a required course you’ve been putting off since your freshman year and as luck would have it, it’s full. Now what? An extra semester? Shouldn’t schools be obligated to offer an easier, better way to register for classes? Well, a student at the University of Central Florida came up with a solution...and now he’s on academic probation.

Registering for college classes takes time, patience and, above all else, persistence. If you’re a college student, then you’re familiar with the frustrating process: It’s officially your last year and the only obstacle standing in your way from victoriously crossing that graduation stage is COM: 101 – a required course you’ve been putting off since your freshman year and as luck would have it, it’s full. Now what? An extra semester? Shouldn’t schools be obligated to offer an easier, better way to register for classes? Well, a student at the University of Central Florida came up with a solution...and now he’s on academic probation.

Tim Arnold, a senior at UCF, created U Could Finish, a website that notified students when a seat was available in a given class. While the site was helpful, officials argue that it violated portions of the tech policy that prohibited students from using university tools to make money (Arnold had been charging for use of his site, taking in a total of just $7.78, he revealed) and disrupted normal technology use. Arnold plans to appeal his sanctions, which also require him to write two papers and prevent him from holding student office. “I just feel that the actions they did were very extreme, considering my intent was to help students and not to intentionally subvert the rules,” he said.

What do you think of UCF’s handling of the situation? Was it fair to put a proactive student on academic probation for trying to solve a real-world problem?

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Dawnela W  on  8/20/2012 1:41:48 PM commented:

I don't believe he should have been punished at all. He solved a problem most colleges/universities are facing right now and probably don't have a site or a service like that for students. If his total was only $7.78 how much do you think he's charging for the site? Chump change or even taking in donations like most freeware sites do. Money shouldn't even have been and issue since around 8 dollars is nothing anyways. Let him off with a warning about the money and thought of ways to incorporate it into the school. As far as it being a "disruption" I think it was just another sad excuse to get him on Academic Probation.

Seth W  on  8/19/2012 11:22:21 AM commented:

University presidents and coaches get paid humongous amounts of money each year that way overcompensates for their usefulness to society (or rather lack thereof), and UCF is crying about losing a piddly 8 dollars? Every other school I know of gives priority for registration to students with the highest number of credits, regardless of whether or not they are disabled, international, PSEO, whatever. There's absolutely no reason that a senior shouldn't be able to get registered for any classes they need before they graduate. Yet another blight on the ugly face of American colleges, right up there with the shenanigans the law schools pulled by fabricating post-graduation employment prospects in the law profession to lure students (when the failing economy took all the law jobs with it). There should be a criminal investigation into UCF's handling of this episode.

Khaleel A  on  8/16/2012 12:44:04 PM commented:

He should have been praised for his creativity, not punished for it. Isn't the purpose of education is to get students to think critically and apply their knowledge efficiently? That's exactly what Mr. Arnold was doing. I'm disappointed in UCF...

Joseph D  on  8/16/2012 12:28:26 PM commented:

Maybe a little bit of a slap on the wrist is called for because of the use of school tech. But, not only was the punishment too harsh, I think he should charge for the service. He designed a new technology. That takes time and effort. His idea, his right to charge. Tim, I recommend looking at selling the license for the use of your program to colleges all over the U.S.. You have a good idea that is marketable and should be compensated for it.

Maiki V  on  8/14/2012 11:40:28 AM commented:

Samual S.... You missed the 2nd half of what UCF punished him for ..."it disrupted normal technology use." So he would have been punished even it he hadn't made almost $8 because he "disrupted normal technology use." So he is being punished for trying to solve a real world problem.

Haley T  on  8/14/2012 12:25:36 AM commented:

I feel that they should have only given him minimal punishment, as despite the cause it was violating a few rules. Make him return the money, and maybe have a minor academic punishment (I don't know any specifics along those means.) However, they should have also offered to sustain his idea by more rule-appropriate, legal means. It truely is a good idea. Overall, UCF overexaggerated quite a bit when dealing with the situation. Making a point is one thing--overkill is another.

Kodria H  on  8/13/2012 3:30:43 PM commented:

I don't think that Tim should have been put on academic probation. He probably shouldn't have been charing for it, but he shouldn't have been punished to that extreem.

Samuel S  on  8/13/2012 11:13:09 AM commented:

"Was it fair to put a proactive student on academic probation for trying to solve a real-world problem?" he's not being punished for trying to solve a real-world problem. He's being punished for charging for it. Good for you, UCF.

 on  8/13/2012 10:19:33 AM commented:

Wow, talk about overdramatic. The charging other students to use the website I can understand, but just creating it shouldnt be a problem...

Adelle Lorraine d  on  8/12/2012 4:03:01 AM commented:

Wow, I think that's ridiculous. UCF needs to change their judgement; it doesn't look good on them. No one would want to attend a university whose officials have no logic, reasoning, or understanding!

Saundra G  on  8/11/2012 5:48:32 PM commented:

You go Tim Arnold! What he did was amazing and should NEVER be punished for such a compassionate act. The only one who should be punished are the school systems! They are deliberately setting students up to fail rather than succeed. I mean, first of all they give 1st priority to disabled and EOPS students who usually end up dropping the classes that so many other people need in order graduate! I'm not against these students but I feel that everyone should have an equal opportunity to register for classes. Disabled people want to be treated like everyone else so why handicap them in this area? Colleges should be paying Tim Arnold for concocting such a brilliant idea but instead they are punishing him because he found a way around their crooked system! My sister has been waiting for 1 chemistry class for 3 years now! She could have been started her career if it hadnt been for this waitlist crap! Those type of students should have priority if anyone should! I congradulate you Tim, don't let this evil system bring you down, you did a wonderful and kind thing for your fellow peers and God will bless you for it.

Brittney C  on  8/10/2012 8:16:09 PM commented:

Ridiculous of UCF.

Eric C  on  8/10/2012 3:12:27 PM commented:

To say the least, UCF, was probably embarassed that a student took it in his hands to solve a very frustrating issue. Wondering, "how come we did not think of it?" Ucf definitely over reacted. Tim Arnold, should have been praised instead of punished. OK, maybe he should not have charged anyone…donate the money to the student Union, then…and call it even.

Tiara S  on  8/10/2012 2:50:15 PM commented:

I think that he was not wrong for creating the website..it was only to help students but most universities just want to make all the money and profit and are very greedy. The degrees we get are not even worth all the money that we college students pay to earn them..these universities are money making businesses and thats simply it..most of them dont care about students getting quality education but only ripping every cent and dime from us students and if you are taking less than $8 away from them its a problem

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