In reaction to the end of face-to-face classes for the entire semester, Illinois State University students have started a petition to make all further course pass/fail.
This means that, instead of receiving a weighted letter grade that would affect a grade point average, students would instead receive a passing or failing course grade. A grade of a D- or better would be considered a pass. Any lower would commute to a fail.
The petition has over 900 signatures and counting in less than 15 hours. Creator Dylan Hummel has addressed the petition directly to ISU President Larry Dietz and says in the description this would benefit those going through financial, resource and college experience troubles.
The new call-to-action is deemed appropriate by many students, family members and supporters of students.
Logan Wright, a graduate student in the College of Business, says, “I already have a job lined up, so I do not think it matters what my grades are as long as I pass. That’s all I care about anyways.”
Many graduating seniors, and graduate students alike, are facing the most immediate effects during these adjustments made by the school. While still holding onto the hope of having a commencement, they have to adjust their lives early as well as transition to online schooling.
Moving classes to a pass/fail level could cause many discrepancies to transfer students, and also those wishing to move forward to graduate school programs.
Emily Waple, a senior preparing to graduate with a degree in nursing and psychology, is also pursuing continuing her education. She knew she couldn't sign the petition when it was brought to her attention.
“Sorry, but I can’t sign this petition," she said. "I can’t do pass/fail because of graduate school. I need the grade scale so I can get scholarships and assistantships.”
Similar to Emily’s rebuttal, transfer students would fail to have an existing grade point average if this change were to occur.
The petition is a call-to-action, but there is no indication that university will agree to the terms set by students. With the ever-changing nature of the COVID-19 situation at Illinois State, not much is clear on the future actions to be taken by the university.
President of the University, Larry Dietz, has since made a video statement regarding several of the changes being made by the university for the remainder of the semester. The petition, although its traction, was not acknowledged. With this lack of comment, it is unclear that an option will be made available, or will even be considered.
Hummel, in light of the video, explained, “I haven’t heard anything, personally, yet. I plan to declare victory at 5,000 signatures, or early next week, and email the results to President Dietz and their office, along with everyone’s reasons for signing, and hope for the best!”
He has since been in contact with the school, and they vastly support his action towards bettering the student community during this unique time.
“The move away from face-to-face instruction is a huge shift and we know this is stressful for students and faculty members alike,” said Eric Jome, the Director of Media Relations at ISU.
“Illinois State faculty and staff have worked diligently over the past several weeks to ramp up for the transition to online and alternative delivery of coursework. Illinois State administrators continue to examine the issue of expanding the pass/no pass option in light of these extraordinary circumstances."