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Friends and strangers combine forces to help Paul Paterson graduate

Adam Spektor

Issue date: 9/3/10 Section: Focus
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Senior Paul Paterson unknowingly made waves when he found himself unable to register for a class he needed to graduate.
Senior Paul Paterson unknowingly made waves when he found himself unable to register for a class he needed to graduate.
[Click to enlarge]
By the final semester of college, most people have a general idea of what they'll be doing after graduation, or at the very least, when they'll be graduating. Senior engineering major Paul Paterson, however, came close to rescheduling his entire spring semester around one class, which could have cost him thousands of dollars. His situation has caught the attention of many students ho empathizing with Paterson's predicament.

Paterson's final required course was ENGL 398 (Professional Communication for Engineers), a course offered in three sessions this semester, all of which are currently filled. Due to financial reasons, Paterson had a hold on his account and was unable to register.

"I ended this previous spring semester with a significant amount owed to Case," said Paterson. "I was unable to get it paid off and have the financial hold released until one week before classes."

Once Paterson discovered he could not register for the class and would be unable to graduate at the end of the semester as intended, he sent a message to friends explaining the situation. He also offered $200 compensation to anyone willing to drop the class for him. Fellow Delta Upsilon brother Joseph Bashover started a Facebook group, "Help Paul Paterson Graduate," and in four days, 100 people had joined in support.

"I was very surprised by the Facebook group," said Paterson, "A large majority of the members of the group are unknown to me… I am very grateful for all the support I got from everybody."

In his attempt to join the class, Paterson spoke with Dr. Eve McPherson, who manages all the sections of ENGL 398. Overriding the hold on enrollment proved to be difficult. Graduate teaching assistants were contractually unable to assist more than 20 students, the classroom is unable to hold more than 20 students, and in addition to Paterson, a number of other students were attempting to override the class's hold as well.
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