The Student Senate held a special session on Friday, Nov. 27 to discuss a Pass/Fail resolution, which urged the Texas A&M faculty to offer students the option of pass/fail grading for the fall semester of 2020.
The pass/fail grading option, which was used in the spring 2020 semester, was supported by students through a petition which garnered over 12,000 signatures. This would allow students to opt out of a letter grade to be reflected on GPA, and instead only shows a satisfactory or unsatisfactory result.
“The challenges faced by students in their academic experience in the Spring 2020 semester, still linger this semester, in addition to new challenges that have arisen…” the resolution reads. “Seeing that these issues are still present, a large amount of students have reached out strongly urging the implementation of Pass/Fail Grading. Including via a grassroots petition that has garnered the support of at least ~12,000 signatories.”
The resolution also highlighted the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the student population, citing health and economic concerns.
“Faculty and students continue to have immense challenges in education with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and this has forced students to focus more time on issues outside of their studies than would traditionally be the case. Students and professors alike have had to push through their work while facing growing mental health concerns, economic strain, and a unique set of new responsibilities and hardships that the pandemic has caused,” the resolution reads.
Student Body President Eric Mendoza shared his support for the pass/fail grading option, recognizing the factors that necessitate this action.
“Students have continued to express, and we recognize, that the factors that made a Pass/Fail grading scheme necessary last spring still exist. We support students having this option to help address these, and look forward to continuing to work with our Faculty counterparts on this issue,” Mendoza said.
The Faculty Senate drafted a resolution on Nov. 30 in response to the one passed by the Student Senate. In the resolution, authors within the Faculty Senate expressed support for a limited pass fail option that would include a warning that the pass/fail option may not be a good choice for all students.
Shortly after it was introduced, the Faculty Senate voted and the resolution did not pass, denying the potential of a pass/fail option for the fall 2020 semester leading into finals week.
Student Body President Eric Mendoza shared the news in a Nov. 30 tweet, the same day as the Q-drop deadline, which allows students to exit a class without affecting their GPAs.
“We still fully support P/F, but respect the autonomy of the Faculty Senate to make a different decision,” Mendoza tweeted.