University of Hawai‘i students may soon have the option to receive a pass or fail grade for Spring 2020 after the student government approved a resolution on Wednesday.
Senate Resolution 12-20 would allow students to choose between receiving a letter grade or a pass or fail, which would not affect their GPA. The resolution also urges UH Mānoa to cancel finals.
Jungha Kim, an ASUH senator and one of the introducers of the resolution, told Ka Leo that there have been concerns among students wanting to boost their GPA.
“Those who are living with debilitating obstacles such as financial hardships, food insecurity, or issues with housing would by default have to live with either a withdrawal, a pass or fail their transcript by virtue of their circumstances,” Kim said. “Yes, there are issues with the choice in this situation, but my concern is that students who are dealing with the consequences of COVID-19 didn’t have a choice in the first place.”
The resolution will be sent to UH Mānoa Provost Michael Bruno for further consideration.
Since Hawai‘i’s first COVID-19 case on March 6, new cases skyrocketed to over 90, which pressured UH President David Lassner to move classes from in-person to online. On March 24’s Senate Committee on COVID-19 meeting, Lassner said that “the campus is dead.”
ASUH President Landon Li said that students need a grading policy that accommodates them "as they navigate through these hardships."
"An optional credit/no credit grading system will allow students the flexibility they deserve in deciding how to complete their semester during the COVID-19 pandemic," he said in a news release.
Some students have been leaving the dorms one-by-one due to classes moving online and fear of the novel coronavirus.
The UH Faculty Senate Executive Committee is also working on giving students the option for a pass or fail grade and making final exams optional this semester.
“Other universities are adopting such strategies to mitigate the academic impact of sudden transition to remote teaching,” according to an email sent to the Mānoa Faculty Senate. “Consideration is for one-time adjustments to academic policy, applying only to Spring 2020.”
UH students have also been sharing their opinions on the matter.
A petition was started by Jenna Williams on "Care2.com" expressed their concern about having UH use "Pass or Fail" was created.
Senior Jhadyne Cantorna supports the petition.
"I was already dealing with some mental health issues before the quarantine, so right now it’s just gotten worse. I wasn’t surprised to hear a lot of my peers say the same," Cantorna said. "There’s just so much more to worry about than school right now. Especially with the cancellation of commencement, if I lacked appropriate motivation before, I really just don’t have it at all at this point."
As of 8:30 a.m. on April 8, the petition has 1,305 out of 1,500 needed signatures. The petition can be found here.