SEU student, SGA convince Academic Council to implement “No Pass” policy for remainder of Fall 2020 semester


Juan Diaz

Due online learning, students find themselves struggling to adjust to the changes. The decision to add “No Pass” as a failing grade substitute was petitioned in hopes of reducing additional stress.

On Nov. 12, St. Edward’s University students received an email from provost Andrew Prall regarding the status of Pass/Fail classes. After student concern was raised over failing classes due to the challenges brought on by online classes and COVID-19, the Academic Council met to discuss a solution. The concern was originally brought to life by student Aliah Alnahas’ petition and the Student Government Association (SGA).

It was decided that any grade of “F” will instead be replaced with a “No Pass” for undergraduate courses. Because there is no letter grade associated with the course, this means that it will not affect the student’s GPA, positively or negatively. It should be noted that there are still slight consequences to this.

A student who earns a grade of “No Pass” would need to retake a course for which that grade is received to earn credit for that course. A grade of “No Pass” also can impact the student’s Satisfactory Academic Progress (the completion rate percentage used in determining eligibility for financial aid), so students who receive a “No Pass” should consult with Student Financial Services for details,” Prall said in the email.

This also means that a student will not have any “F’s” on their transcript, which can be beneficial when students are applying for things such as scholarships or graduate school.

However, the Academic Council declined to implement an optional Pass/Fail policy, similar to the one that was put in place during the Spring 2020 semester. Last semester, students had the option to apply the policy to any class that they wanted, a policy that usually has many requirements to it. 

This means that students this semester cannot choose to put a grade of passing on their transcript, regardless of what their final grade is. If the final grade is not an “F,” it will go on the transcript as a normal letter grade.

Many students have already expressed their disappointment with this decision, feeling that it is simply too little, too late. 

“As suspected, there was definitely student response. Students are not happy with the decision, and this was kind of something Taylor [Huey] and I warned [about] at the meeting, that this policy is definitely leaving out a lot of students and that it wasn’t really supporting student testimony. I remember saying in the meeting that this policy was not supporting those students but rather just the very small population of students who are at risk at failing. I think I agree with them in the sense that we’ve kind of forgotten those students,” Athina Castañon, SGA president, said. 

It is unclear whether or not more change will come out of this student response, but as for now, many students, like Castañon, are trying to stay hopeful.

“I am also such a big believer in not compromising and just falling into what the situation is,” Castañon said. “I think that there’s always more that we can do. I was just trying to convince other people that that can be done. We are really hoping that there’s still hope to provide students support.”