Posthumous degree policy right, fair

On April 2, the President’s Cabinet adopted Policy No. 5078 — that is, the awarding of a posthumous degree to the family of a student who has died before completing an associate degree.

Whitney Knight

The policy declares such degrees are “unearned, non-academic degrees recognizing the meritorious but incomplete earned work of a deceased student.”

The adoption of such a policy shows that OCCC truly does care for its students beyond monthly payments made to the Bursar’s office.

When a student enters college, graduating from that institution becomes the final goal in a long, winding maze of trials and obstacles.

You pull all-nighters to finish that term paper you forgot about, shell out pennies at the student store to buy a new binder and study textbooks until your eyes blur. College becomes your life.

Sadly, sometimes that life gets taken away before you can reach the finish line.

Without such a policy in place, all the hard work a student put into his or her college career would be in vain. All the money spent, all the hours invested, would be for nothing.

However, now family members can commemorate their loved one’s hard work with the very degree they worked so hard to obtain.

Sure, to an outsider, the degree might seem pretty worthless. It won’t help anyone get a job anywhere, nor will it ever grace the papers of a résumé. The deceased will never get any use out of it.

But to the family who watched the departed pour his or her blood, sweat and tears into a degree they were never able to finish, the sentimental value is priceless.

­—Whitney Knight

Online Editor

To contact Whitney Knight, email

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