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UGA Business Professor Drops ‘Stress Reduction Policy’ After Backlash

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• August 9, 2017 1:01 pm

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A business professor at the University of Georgia removed a "stress reduction policy" that allowed students to choose their own grades if the assigned grade made them feel "unduly stressed."

Professor Richard Watson outlined a "stress reduction policy" in the online syllabi for two of his fall business courses, "Data Management" and "Energy Informatics," the Washington Times reported.

The syllabi said students could email Watson with a grade they felt they deserved with "no explanation."

"If you feel unduly stressed by a grade for any assessable material or the overall course, you can email the instructor indicating what grade you think is appropriate, and it will be so changed," the syllabi said. "No explanation is required, but it is requested that you consider waiting 24 hours before emailing the instructor."

The policy extended to group work in the business classes.

"If in a group meeting, you feel stressed by your group's dynamics, you should leave the meeting immediately and need offer no explanation to the group members," the syllabi said.

If a student chose to abstain from group work because of stress, they would also be able to "discontinue all further group work."

Only positive comments were allowed to be given as feedback during a class presentation, and "comments designed to improve future presentations will be communicated by email," the syllabus said.

The stress policy also said tests during the course would be open book and open note. Students were free to use a laptop for notes during the open book exams.

The University of Georgia told Campus Reform the policy was removed from both classes after unwanted media coverage.

"The University of Georgia applies very high standards in its curricular delivery, including a university-wide policy that mandates all faculty employ a grading system based on transparent and pre-defined coursework," Executive Director of Media Communications Greg Trevor told Campus Reform.