SOU’s Changes to Pass/No Pass UPDATE

On April 27, an All Students email was sent out detailing the plan for the Pass/No Pass grading system. 

Because most of the school is still online and the pandemic is ongoing, the current Pass/No Pass policy has been extended and will remain in place for Spring and Summer 2021. Students will be able to take more than one eligible Pass/No Pass course per term, and there will be no $10 grade mode charging fee, as was announced a few months prior. Students interested in changing their grading options can find details and instructions to change grade modes here

This change comes after many meetings regarding the Pass/No Pass policy, which would have been switched back to pre-COVID policies before ASSOU drew up an emergency resolution. The Siskiyou spoke with Rachel Baker, the Campus Life and Housing Senator and Vice Speaker of the Senate, as well as Margaret “Mindy” Welsh, Speaker of the Senate. 

The ASSOU Senate met on March 16, where they were told by the Academic Policy Committee and the Faculty Senate that “it was too late for student feedback to be heard and there was nothing that could be done to prevent the policy from being changed for Spring term 2021,” Baker said. Welsh, in response to this, sponsored an emergency resolution to convince the committees to reconsider.

“We were shocked by things going back to pre-COVID policies,” Welsh said when asked about her why she wanted to keep the current Pass/No Pass policies, “and we thought, ‘why are we going back to pre-COVID policies when we aren’t in a post-COVID world?’” This resolution stated that the Pass/No Pass policy should be extended to the end of Spring Term 2021, which was then approved.

“I personally know many students that have relied on the more lenient Pass/No Pass policy in order to even continue their education,” Baker said. “We are still in a pandemic that has immense impacts on students and it is not the time to remove this safety net in the interest of maintaining the “rigor” of classes as was mentioned during the 3/16 Senate meeting.” Welsh agreed, stating that many students (traditional and nontraditional), parents, veterans, and international students rely on the Pass/No Pass system as it relieves a lot of stress.

After a resolution was written and voted to pass, representatives from ASSOU attended an Academic Policy Committee to argue “in favor of revising the Spring Pass/No Pass policy,” and later “the policy revision was sent for approval to Faulty Senate on April 26th,” according to Baker. 

“I would just like to express my gratitude towards all of the ASSOU officers that made this change happen,” Baker said, “as well as to the members of administration and the Academic Policy Committee for listening to student voices and making changes that were initially regarded as impossible.”

There are some limitations to this updated policy; for example, if a class is only being offered an A-F letter grade, that grading system cannot be changed.

Initially, the Pass/No Pass grading system was modified at the beginning of the pandemic to help reduce stress. Students could take more than one class per term Pass/No Pass and could take courses Pass/No Pass in their major, something that had never happened before the pandemic. During that time, there was no fee to switch grade modes. Changing a Winter 2020 grade to Pass/No Pass would also have no overall effect on one’s GPA.

The new grading policy applied to both Winter and Spring 2020 terms, then later for Summer and Fall 2020 and Winter 2021 terms. The policy was only to be in place during remote/online learning and would only apply to undergraduate coursework. Students will want to remain aware of any future changes the school will make to the Pass/No Pass policy during the Summer and Fall 2021 terms.

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