University senate votes to extend pass/fail deadline to December 28

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The university senate at the University of Connecticut voted to approve an extension of the pass/fail deadline for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters on Monday night in light of the current academic struggles students are facing during the coronavirus pandemic.

The fall 2020 pass/fail deadline will now be Dec. 28 and the spring 2021 pass/fail deadline will now be May 14. The joint proposal, created by the Undergraduate Student Government and Scholastic Standards Committee, passed the needed two-thirds majority by a vote of 70-7 with no abstentions.

According to the Scholastic Standards Committee Chair Pam Bedore, over 2000 students took advantage of the last pass/fail deadline extension, which was set at Nov. 20.

The motion only changed the pass/fail deadline and did not alter the current restrictions that only allow for moving elective courses to pass/fail and that restrict courses used to satisfy general education, school/college, major or minor requirements.

Bedore spoke in favor of the motion and why she believed it was a necessary action.

“The benefits of this I think are three-fold: A pass/fail grading basis means that grades don’t count toward GPA, secondly, by pushing it to Dec. 28 students will know their grade in making their pass/fail decision,” Bedore said. “Students will need advisor permission which means they will have relevant information in making this decision.”

Bedore also recognized the impact this decision will have on students at large.

“Personally, I think this is the right thing to do because I’m just seeing how much stress is out there with our students and it gives them some peace of mind,” Bedore said.

After the vote, Katherine Spinnato, the USG Academic Affairs Director, acknowledged the vote was not what everyone wanted.

“I don’t want to be too harsh and say we settled, but we settled,” Spinnato said. “The agreements that we’re making now and the compromises, they are compromises that we have to make that are kind of less than what we want, that is a result of preserving relationships so that students that come after us can work with these bodies.”

However, Spinnato did emphasize this action as a positive step for students.

“If we can help a couple of students, maybe those few students who elected to take something on pass/fail earlier and now find that their grades are actually better than they thought and they want to count it towards their GPA, or the reverse,” Spinnato said. “But if we can help those students, if we can give them more option to switch to and from, then we’ve done a portion of our job, again it’s not everything that we wanted, but for the sake of maintaining good relations with the university senate, it is sort of reluctant decision that we made… I’m hopeful that these options will provide students more peace of mind, or as much peace of mind as possible.”

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