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Petition circulating on social media calls for extending academic forgiveness

AU says existing policies won’t change

Editor’s note: this article originally appeared on theeaglecoronavirusproject.com, a separate website created by Eagle staff at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic in spring 2020. Articles from that website have been migrated to The Eagle’s main site and backdated with the dates they were originally published in order to allow readers to access them more easily. 

Students are circulating a petition on social media asking the University to allow for academic forgiveness as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, after the pass/fail option deadline passed in April.

The petition, which follows multiple petitions urging changes in AU’s grading policies, was started by rising juniors Lily Hart and Julia Larkin and rising sophomore Eduardo Castellet Nogués. 

“We understand that the University of course has been impacted due to the coronavirus in various ways, and we just want to make sure that the University is doing anything they can to support the students,” Larkin said. “I think they should be open to [the petition] because it's one of those things where they could establish it now and if someone did have a poor grade in a class and it could be contributed to [the] coronavirus, it does allow that student a second chance.”

The petition asks that all students be allowed to retake classes that they failed or underperformed in, recognizing that the pandemic impacted students’ learning experiences. 

The policy would apply to all, regardless of class standing. This is similar to AU’s Freshman Forgiveness policy and a recent resolution that was passed by George Washington University's faculty senate.  

According to Castellet Nogués, the University has been very responsive to the petition. However, University spokesperson Stacie Burgess told The Eagle in an email that students reached out to Vice Provost for Academic Student Services Jessica Waters on a variety of topics including this petition, but nothing has changed for the University since the adoption of the pass/fail option

On May 21, the undergraduate senate passed a resolution asking AU to extend the deadline for allowing students to change the grading system of their spring semester classes.

Castellet Nogués, who is also in the undergraduate senate, worked with Senators Adriana Doria and Jackson Mittleman to pass a resolution asking AU to extend the deadline for allowing students to change the system of their spring semester classes. Even though the resolution passed, it has no effect on University policies.  

“Freshmen have class forgiveness in case something unexpected happens during their first year, and I would say that a global pandemic is kind of an unexpected event to happen,” Castellet Nogués said. 

At a minimum, the organizers of the petition asked the University to promise not to change students’ financial aid based on their spring grades.

Larkin said she attributes student frustrations to a lack of communication from the University during this time. 

“The University couldn't prevent coronavirus,” she said. “The University is doing what they can to keep us safe. But what's frustrating on our end is that we don't know what they're doing.” 

nheller@theeagleonline.com 


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