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Internships, class credit put on hold after government shutdown

Internships, class credit put on hold after government shutdown

Many students’ internships have been put on hold following the government shutdown on Oct. 1, possibly jeopardizing class credit for some.

Government workers deemed “not essential” were told not to come in until further notice, which includes a large number of student interns.

Conor Bigley, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, had been interning at the Library of Congress for credit when he was notified via email that he had been furloughed. Bigley said he is not sure how his department will handle the shutdown in terms of class credit.

“My boss…seems to think the shutdown won’t last too long but [he] is certainly aggravated by it [the shutdown],” Bigley said in an email.

Barbara Romzek, Dean of the School of Public Affairs, said there is no official policy for dealing with this type of situation. This decision is left to the professor of each internship class, she said.

However, Romzek is keeping a close watch on the “unusual situation.”

“Frankly, we are waiting to see how much longer this is going to go on,” she said. “If it goes on longer than another week or so, we’re going to have to come up with some alternative strategies.”

William Shields, an adjunct professor in the School of Public Affairs, does not think the shutdown will negatively affect students graduating this year. Shields teaches the internship class for those working in the federal government.

Most students work more hours than their internship classes require, Shields said. As credit for the class is based on how many hours they work for the entire semester, most students will have the sufficient number of hours by the end of the semester.

“I don’t see the shutdown going on for an extended period of time,” Shields said. “It would be easy for the student to make up the number of hours that have been lost.”

If the shutdown goes on longer, Shields said professors will find ways to help students reach the complete number of hours.

For those students who could be in danger of not having enough hours for the class, Shields said students can receive an “incomplete” in the class at the end of the semester. The student would then continue interning until they reach the number of hours needed.

Romzek and Shields said this shutdown is a learning experience for students.

“I’m not worried that students will miss out,” Romzek said. “They’ll still learn. It might be in a different venue but they’ll still learn.

The Office of the Registrar declined to comment.

Jackie Breuer, a junior in the School of International Service, was scheduled to start her
internship at the Department of Education on Oct. 1. In the hours before the shutdown, her boss told her the entire office would be furloughed.

“I had been looking forward to this experience as it was going to be my first day,” Breuer said in an email. “For that to be put on hold essentially because Congress can’t get its act together, is absolutely ridiculous.”

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