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UST Adopts Pass/No-Pass Grading Policy Amid COVID-19

The University of St. Thomas has adopted a new “pass/no-pass” grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester due to the COVID-19 pandemic. UST’s Faculty Senate approved the policy Monday, April 6. 

Undergraduate students can choose to receive a pass/no-pass designation instead of a regular grade by submitting a form to the Registrar’s Office by 5 p.m. on May 26. Under the policy, the minimum grade needed to receive a “pass” is C- to D. 

Pro Tempore of Student Government and communication/political science senior Steven Swartz said students should have access to the form in the “next couple of days.”

It is also recommended that students talk to their professors before submitting the form. 

Some graduate programs are exempt from the policy based on accreditation of that program. All nursing courses with the “NURS” prefix, for example, will not have the pass/no-pass grading option. 

Other courses exempt from the option include MATH 1431 and 1432 for students advancing to additional MATH courses; BIOL 1351/1151 if they are being taken as a prerequisite for future biology courses; and CHEM 1341/1141 and CHEM 1342/1142 if they are being used as a prerequisite for BIOL 332 and CHEM 3333. 

COMSC 1450 and COMSC 1351 for Computer Science majors and minors are also not eligible for the pass/no-pass option. 

UST President Richard Ludwick confirmed the adoption of the policy in an email to the UST community on Tuesday, April 7. Other universities including Rice and the University of Houston, have already adopted a similar pass/no-pass policy for their students. 

Students on the stthom app said they were in favor of implementing the pass/no-pass grading policy on all their courses while others wanted to have the option.  

UST student Emily Uween Okon-Eyoh said the pass fail system may not be applicable for all majors especially nursing. 

“Having a letter grade not only shows your understanding of a subject matter, but reassures employers of your skills,” she said. “I think a pass fail system may be misconstrued to potential employers as one’s display on ineptitude.” 

Meanwhile, freshman criminology major, Aleksandra Molchanova posted a picture of President’s Ludwick’s email to students with the caption “Finally!”

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