Pass/No Pass policy

With a global pandemic, nationwide social justice movements and a national election occurring this semester, students have a lot on their plate next to the normal stresses of classes and work.

The Association of Students of the University of Nebraska looks to help alleviate student stress by advocating for the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to adopt an alternative Pass/No Pass policy for the fall 2020 semester. The policy would be similar to what was enacted for the spring 2020 semester.

The senate passed a resolution Wednesday formally acknowledging their advocacy.

ASUN is advocating for UNL students to have the option to change their classes to Pass/No Pass until after final grades are posted. All classes, including those not originally eligible for the policy, would be able to change to Pass/No Pass. If classes are changed, they would still fulfill degree requirements and would not impact a student’s GPA. 

ASUN president Roni Miller said the policy change would grant students needed flexibility on their academics in a stress-filled semester.

“We as student leaders are just doing our best to listen to the concerns from students on campus and advocate for their best interests,” Miller said. “We think that providing more flexibility to the grading policies on campus through this revisiting of the Pass/Fail policy and the included deadlines and application parameters could potentially accomplish that.”

Student body presidents from 13 of the 14 Big Ten universities announced their support of the policy change for all Big Ten universities in a tweet on Monday.

Student body presidents have been discussing an updated Pass/Fail policy since the start of the semester and were inspired to draft a joint letter after Penn State University adopted an alternative Pass/Fail policy on Oct. 29, according to Miller.

At Miller’s request, Faculty Senate president Nicole Buan has put the resolution on the agenda of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee for discussion. She said the committee will discuss the resolution and the Faculty Senate’s next steps.

Miller said university administration notified ASUN that they have received the letter and the resolution and will take the policy into consideration.

If the policy is adopted, Miller said she hopes it will make an unprecedented semester a bit less stressful for UNL students.

“I think it is not an overstatement to say that students are tired,” she said. “Students are stressed, and students are feeling overwhelmed by this semester — [myself] included in that. And so going to the drawing board and thinking about what we could advocate for as student government and comparing policies across the Big Ten, but also from the spring semester to now, we thought that this Pass/No Pass policy could be a small way to help students who are feeling overwhelmed, where their academic worries are specifically affecting their mental health in a negative way.”

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