Statue of William Oxley Thompson in front of Thompson Library with mask on

The University Senate passed two resolutions Thursday allowing students to take general education courses for pass/no pass credit and extending the deadlines to do so. Individual colleges will be able to decide whether to allow major and minor courses to be taken for pass/no pass credit. Credit: Sarah Szilagy | Campus Editor

The University Senate approved two resolutions Thursday to allow students to take their general education courses for pass/no pass credit for the academic year and to allow colleges to make decisions on pass/no pass major courses while also extending the deadlines to do so.

The first resolution, proposed by the Council of Enrollment and Student Progress, is similar to the resolution passed in the spring that enabled students to take courses for pass/no pass credit as opposed to on a GPA scale. Undergraduate Student Government leaders advocated for the new resolution because COVID-19 continues to impact students’ mental and physical health and their education.

“Pass/no pass is inherently about how it is supporting a student in the moment, alleviating some of that pressure to maintain a GPA, while you are actively experiencing that semester,” Roaya Higazi, USG president and fourth-year in city and regional planning, said in the meeting.

On the pass/no pass scale, a course grade of D or higher will count for credit but will not factor into students’ GPAs. As the resolution stands, students can take general education and elective courses for pass/no pass, but individual colleges will have to opt in to the system for major and minor courses.

The second resolution extends the deadlines for withdrawal and opting into the pass/no pass system to Nov. 20 for 14-week courses, Oct. 2 for courses taking place in the first seven weeks of fall semester and Nov. 20 for courses taking place in the second seven weeks of fall semester, according to the email. Previous deadlines were Oct. 30, Sept. 25 and Nov. 13, respectively.

The passage of the resolutions comes after discussion at a Council of Enrollment and Student Progress meeting Tuesday about what type of pass/no pass scale the university will use. Although student senators and members of USG advocated for the current system, some parties — including academic advisers and university administration — pushed for a trimodal system of pass/low pass/no pass.

Under the trimodal system, a pass would be a C-minus or higher, a low pass would be any grade within the D range and a no pass would be below a D. Both the pass and low pass options would earn credit and would not factor into students’ GPAs.

Those opposed to the trimodal system, including Higazi, said it unfairly singled out students who received D’s in their courses. The trimodal system was not discussed at the University Senate meeting.

Next steps — including whether the resolutions need to be approved by the Board of Trustees — have not yet been determined, a spokesperson for the Office of Academic Affairs said.