Commentary: Northeastern caught up in red tape

As a freshman at Northeastern, one would think it is a little too soon to be as completely upset with the school as I already am. I beg to differ. While I love my classes, my professors and the people I have met, I hate the bureaucracy of the university. I have witnessed it firsthand many times, but I think my experience with University Health and Counseling Services (UHCS) this week was the absolute worst.

I discovered UHCS had blocked my account due to missing immunization records in November. I immediately called my doctor’s office in New York and had them fax a copy of my vaccination report. I thought that solved the issue.

Over winter break, when I was trying to do my “I Am Here” registration online, I discovered the block was still in place, so I called the health center. After being told that there was no possible way my doctor’s office had faxed my records, I hung up and called my doctor’s office again. They then faxed a second copy to the school. I called the health center again to make sure and was told everything was fine, but it wouldn’t go into the system for a couple of days.

When I arrived on campus on Sunday, about a week after talking to UHCS, I was still unable to complete “I Am Here.” I stopped by health services on Monday morning, and after a lot of waiting around, I finally was told that they never received the records and needed another copy. So for the third time I called my doctor’s office and asked the receptionist (who now hates me) if she could please fax another copy to Northeastern. She did, and this one they received. I went back to make sure that there were no problems,and I was told I needed a tetanus shot. This vaccine lasts 10 years and I just got one during high school. I argued with the representative for a while, telling her that I was not getting a shot I don’t need. She finally got frustrated and handed me my records. I looked at it for less than a minute and found I already have my tetanus shot. I showed her this, and she hastily scribbled out a block-release form.

I walked out of the office, furious and amazed. At a giant university, I know I am not the only person who has been overlooked. And while my situation is not as bad as it could have been, I ended up missing two classes on the first day to get this straightened out. Instead of doing what a school is supposed to do and help me further my education, Northeastern ended up impeding my learning by making me miss class. So watch out, students of Northeastern, don’t end up a victim of this giant bureaucratic machine we consider our school.

-Chelsea Reil is a freshman journalism and Spanish major.

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