Rethink GEM rules and let Olivia Buba graduate on time

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As you may be aware, Olivia Nicole Buba - one of the brighter, more passionate students in the BIB program - was recently unable to pass two of her second year classes (Corporate Finance & French) and was subsequently unable to continue onto the 3rd and final year of the BIB program without having to complete an extra year. While this may seem trivial, this is not a topic to be taken lightly. Adding on an entire year to complete two courses does not make sense no matter how you look at the situation. Olivia is an intelligent young adult; of course, she may have her downfalls and her weaknesses, but that does not merit having to complete a whole year. She was able to find an internship at a startup in Melbourne, Australia for her first internship, and thanks to her positive nature, intelligence, and determined attitude she was offered a full-time position upon graduation next year. It is understood that there are rules that state an appeal needs to be made within 5 days and to constantly check GEM communication, but often times during the summer it is quite easy to forget to check information from school, especially when students are busy trying to perform well in their internship and balance other activities.

For Olivia, spending an entire year after her studies will not be an option. Instead of being able to start working right after third year, she will instead have to return to Grenoble to complete a mere 15 ECTS credits, causing her to forego a year's salary and possibly losing the offer of her full-time job. Taking a year off of someone's life to complete two courses should not be acceptable, and we believe it is partly a school's responsibility to work with students to provide better options. For example, there could be a summer program where students can take credits they need to graduate. The school could also allow students to retake the courses whilst simultaneously completing their third year courses. This was the case for some previous third-year students who just graduated. We noticed there were some third-year students who were taking the Corporate Finance & Financial & Managerial Accounting while we were taking our exams, yet they were able to continue onto their final year and complete their studies providing they passed the exams. Why was Olivia and other students not given the same treatment, and instead are being forced to complete a whole entire year? Olivia will unfortunately not be able to pursue a degree with GEM if she is unable to graduate within 3 years. This is losing a full €11,800 in tuition because a school cannot go back on their strict rules.

We understand rules are set in place, but these rules do not seem to favour students at all. Most other universities are willing to work with their students and help them graduate, not make it more difficult for them. Especially considering a bright student like Olivia who has even spoken at school events and participated in talks to help encourage prospecting students to join GEM. She has added a huge deal of value to this university, and she should be given the chance to complete her studies in due time.

I have been lucky enough to have spent the past two years living with Olivia as her roommate during my time at GEM. I experienced severe depression during my second semester of first year, and I was lucky enough to have someone as caring and positive as Olivia to encourage me to pursue my studies. I can confidently say that if it were not for her, I would not have continued my studies with GEM. I know this is a farfetched chance, but I am determined to try and repay everything she has done for me so far. I cannot imagine my final year at GEM without one of my best friends, and I honestly believe her not returning to this university is damaging to her, her friends and classmates, and the university itself as it will be losing one of the most enthusiastic and unique students this school has.

Likewise, I have also seen Olivia struggle this year. During the school year I live with her and spend most of my time with her, so I know that this has been an especially hard year for her emotionally and mentally. I have seen her not be herself, and I think as a result of this her grades may have suffered. However, this is something that almost every person will experience in their lives. You must have lived a very fortunate and luxurious life if you have not had to experience difficult times.

We do not wish to see the future of one of our dearest friends jeopardized because of a rule which seeks to punish students instead of help them. There are other options: she can concurrently take two french classes and take her corporate finance exam next year, or she could complete online classes of the two courses and transfer her credits to still graduate on time. These are options we have spoken to Olivia about, and she would be more than happy to work hard and take extra classes if it means she can finish her degree at GEM. If it is not possible to help Olivia, we still would demand some sort of change to these rules and regulations. It is unjust for a school to punish students who work hard and try their absolute best to excel and succeed. We understand not every student can pass some classes, students will inevitable fail a class in their life. However, the severity of the punishment should be reconsidered, and we wholeheartedly agree that the school should not tear down these students. A university of this calibre can afford to cooperate with students who struggle, especially bright students such as Olivia Buba. Her first year average was well above average (in the high 15s). While her average may have dropped second year, she still performed extremely well in some subjects.

We implore you to reconsider your decision and either allow Olivia to appeal the result of the examination board, or cooperate with her to allow her to finish her studies in on time at GEM. At the very least, we beg you to reconsider the rules instituted at GEM. We as BIB students, professors, and Olivia’s dear friends and family cannot simply stand by without taking action.

We will be attaching testimonials we gathered from fellow BIB students who offer their support towards Olivia and who wish to see her back at GEM for her final year. These are private, so they will be sent when this petition is sent to the GEM administration.