Symiah Dorsey/The Lion’s Roar
1,900 and counting, students are petitioning for the university to provide the option of a pass/fail grading accommodation.
After the university permitted these accommodations for the Spring 2020 semester, students are asking the university to reimplement the pass/fail system for Fall 2020. They shared their experiences with balancing an unfamiliar workload with COVID-19, natural disasters and personal strains.
“This past semester has been a tolerable but very inconsistent one,” said Faith Laurent, a sophomore business management major.
With various bumps in the road, Laurent shared that she has struggled to maintain her grades.
“I have been unorganized since the pandemic started, and it has been hard to find that neutral ground, especially while balancing online courses with work, commuter transportation and a rough patch that involved a sick family member, which later affected income,” shared Laurent. “I am trying my hardest to keep my grades shining during 2020, but the road to success has been very bumpy lately.”
Blaire Estes, a junior early childhood education major, described her semester as challenging and confusing.
“This past semester has been very difficult for me,” shared Estes. “Not only did we have no say in COVID regulations for each class, but the schedules were so unorganized due to hurricanes. Keeping up with due dates, tests and mandatory class days became confusing, to say the least.”
For Estes, having access to pass/fail accommodations is a fair trade for full tuition.
“I decided to sign the pass/fail petition because our tuition wasn’t decreased at all, so I feel like it will be a fair trade, considering we did not get the same educational experience compared to previous semesters,” explained Estes. “I honestly don’t feel like it makes sense for me or any other students’ GPA to suffer from a semester like this.”
Laurent signed the petition in acknowledgment of students under different circumstances.
“I signed the petition solely because I understand what other students may be going through regarding grades,” empathized Laurent. “There should definitely be some leeway this semester because not everyones’ situation is the same at home or in school. Everyone has a completely different course of study, and I feel like students are still dealing with financial, schooling and housing issues due to the pandemic because, unfortunately, I am too.”
Craig Canepa, a junior information technology student, also believed that a pass/fail accommodation is a compromise the university should make.
“They need to permit pass or fail,” expressed Canepa. “You have students breaking down and crying because nobody knows what’s going on anymore. We’re not getting any sort of compromise from the university to account for everything that’s gone wrong.”
Estes added that in-person classes should not be mandatory this semester.
“I think the university should allow any course to be completely online, meaning the professors can’t assign random in-person class days in order to get a good grade,” said Estes. “To me, this defeats the whole purpose of slowing the spread. Some students learn better at home, where they do not have to wear a mask to avoid exposure.”
The journey back to normalcy was rushed, according to Laurent. She expressed hope that a pass/fail accommodation would leave a positive impact on students.
“Personally, I believe the pass/fail system should apply to Fall 2020 because I felt that everything was rushed back to normal,” said Laurent. “I strongly believe that the pass/fail system will give hope to many students that are still dealing with those hardships and struggles due to the pandemic, regardless of the conditions. Many people state how school comes first before anything, and I agree. If the university wants to make that positive impact on students, right now is the time to set new change into stone.”