A psychology student shows his frustration as he inquires at the psychology department office. Students in the major have been struggling to get into classes they need to graduate. Photo by Sal Ingram.

The Monday after enrollment opened, the psychology department’s hallway was filled with students, some reading books, some using their laptops, and some just lounging around. By some accounts, some students had been waiting since 6 a.m.

The students were waiting for the psychology advising office to hand out permission codes for their senior seminar. The permission codes were scheduled for distribution at 1:30 p.m.

For some seniors, graduation was at stake.

“It’s ironic that everyone here needs to take [the class], but not everyone will get into it,” said Daisy Park, a fourth-year psychology major. “That’s what’s causing anxiety — everyone is nervous that they won’t get in.”

Approximately 200 fourth-year students waited in line Feb. 28, in the hopes of receiving one of about 70 spots available in the spring quarter psychology senior seminars.

“I’ve heard it’s like this every quarter,” said Savannah Smith, a fourth-year psychology and legal studies double major. “I heard someone say there’s about 75 spots available total. I’m hoping that they will open more spots.”

At the end of the day, a list was passed around with the names of students who did not get into any of the three senior seminars offered next quarter. About 100 students were on the list.

On March 3, psychology students received an e-mail from department chair Avril Thorne, who apologized to those who “had to experience the hardship of sitting, standing and sweating in line for so long on Monday, only to discover that we did not have sufficient senior seminars to cover the demand.”

Thorne announced that the department will be able to accommodate students who need a senior seminar in order to graduate this spring. Instructors will be teaching additional courses without immediate compensation, although the department hopes to compensate them for their extra work “somewhere down the line,” Thorne said in the e-mail.

Thorne attributed the department’s initial inability to accommodate students to budgetary issues.

“If the campus funded departments in proportion to their enrollments, psychology would be in better shape,” she said in the e-mail.

It has become so difficult to get classes for the psychology major that some students are considering leaving it.

Second-year psychology major Jessica Meyer said she would leave the major if she weren’t already so far into it.

“[The major] is so impacted that I didn’t get any classes for next quarter,” she said. “I’m done with GEs, and I don’t want to waste a quarter not being productive.”

Meyer ended up getting into a upper-division psychology class for next quarter. Still, she must take two unnecessary classes at the same time.

“Over summer I’m going to have to take a psychology course at a community college in order to graduate on time,” she said. “I’m paying tuition and not progressing [in my education].”

Thorne’s e-mail advised students to prepare for worse conditions if the current tax rate is not extended, and urged them to contact their state legislator within the next few days to demand that a tax extension measure be put on the ballot.