1,100+ sign petition for credit/no credit option

Student petition asks university to change its grading system fall term

Coleman Martinson

Undergraduate students are asking the university’s administration to reinstate the credit, no credit option they had for winter term last year for the current semester.

The petition, created by Jay Walton, ‘22, had over 1,200 signatures, as of Nov. 14.

“As the number of our peer institutions who recognize the challenges of online learning continues to grow, we are disappointed at the administration’s lack of substantive action,” the petition on Change.org said. “To demonstrate their support for students’ mental health, we encourage the university to offer the option of credit/no credit for the Fall 2020 semester.”

The option for credit or no credit was offered Winter term of the 2019-20 school year. Students elected to receive either a letter grade or a “credit” for a course on their transcript, according to an email from the Registrar’s office sent during Winter Term. Credit or no credit did not impact students’ grade point average.

If the student wanted to receive a letter grade, as is the case in a normal school year, then the student did not have to take any action. Spring term for the 2019-20 academic year was automatically credit or no-credit.

Both students and faculty are operating in a dramatically changed environment. Most of us are teaching and learning in different ways,” the registrar’s office website said when it announced the change. “Because of the significance of this great shift, and in recognition of the challenges we face with the rapidly changing COVID-19 situation, the Undergraduate Faculty have approved a new Credit / No Credit grading option.”

In order for the petition to be approved and implemented this semester, the faculty would need to approve the change, not the school’s administration, Interim Provost Elizabeth Oliver said in an email to Walton.

To reach the full faculty, the petition would need to be voted on by the Course and Degrees Committee (C&D). Walton said he has sent the committee his petition and is waiting on a response.

“The stress of all day Zoom lectures is tedious,” Walton said in an email to the Phi. “This sentiment is echoed across the community at large. Students are struggling mentally and need a substantial change for their overall health.”

While the petition would only affect those that opt-in to a credit or no credit option, some students aren’t on board.

“Perhaps a pass/fail option would alleviate some of that stress but it’s kind of a superficial solution,” Ayo Ehindero, ‘21, said. “The world might be like this for a while, and I think it’s more important to discover actual solutions or ways to alleviate that stress rather than take pass/fail classes.”