University revises academic policy for remainder of semester

By Aliza Majid, Staff Writer

On March 16, the University suspended all in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students have been calling for grading scale changes after the academic alteration.

The transition has been difficult for many students, and because of the overwhelming stress, Matthew Mota, junior in Engineering, created a petition in favor of an optional pass/fail for University classes. The petition got an overwhelming amount of support with almost 8,000 signatures. 

“I think the issue was that a lot of students when they signed up for these classes, they weren’t signing up for online classes,” Mota said. “The transition wasn’t something anybody could see at the beginning of the semester, so just having this rapid change really caught a lot of people off guard.” 

The petition was not the only attempt to change the University’s grading system. The No Fail UIUC group has been pushing for a universal pass system to be implemented at the University.

“The universal pass system would allow students to receive credit for their courses and a grade of ‘P’ on their transcript, and students will not be disadvantaged with this system unlike the credit/no-credit option,” said Emily Lee, member of No Fail UIUC.

The University has already enacted a revised academic policy for the year, but No Fail UIUC will still be pursuing the universal pass option.

People have still shown interest in the universal pass option even though the new academic policy has been passed.

“That proposal does one thing that’s really nice, which is it gives you absolute peace of mind,” said David Dalpiaz, professor in LAS. “Whereas the policy that just went out from the proposal has a few questions, and there’s still uncertainty. So the universal pass system adds some certainty to students.”

The Illinois Student Government was able to contribute to the policy as they connected with the University Senate that was working on creating proposals to send to the provost.

“We have a few students in student government who were on the executive committee, and they were part of the process, creating some proposals and reaching out to senators … and I talked to the provost about what students are looking for,” said Connor Josellis, ISG student body president.

The new academic policy has received a lot of reactions after its release, and both students and faculty have been affected by the changes. 

“I’m glad (the academic policy) took place, there’s a lot of concern about if it is going to be mandatory. But thankfully, the student can decide which class this credit or no-credit counts for, and a big concern is making sure that students could still choose to get traditional grades if they so desired,” Josellis said.

The other side of this situation concerns the faculty and instructors who are teaching these online courses and have to adjust to the new academic policies.

Dalpiaz has been communicating with his students throughout this stressful time and tries to reassure them about the grading policy in relation to their classes.

“I wish there was a way that we could sort of add some certainty for students rather than saying, well, here’s the policy now and wait and see what else can happen. But that’s a lot to ask. I think we’ll just try to do our best,” Dalpiaz said.

[email protected]