Allow Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading for Indiana University students

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COVID-19 has affected the lives of many students here at Indiana University. With a majority of classes being taught remotely and a lack of breaks this semester, students have felt the pressures of trying to maintain their academics while dealing with issues beyond their control. 

IU officials including the provost of Indiana University have commended us students for our strength and resilience of being "#IUStrong", but students have been struggling to persevere through the many hardships this academic year has brought forth. One example of these hardships would be the lack of access to many of the resources we would have had during a typical Academic year. Due to this unexpected circumstance, students are finding it difficult to succeed in classes.

As stated in the Indiana Promise, we as students must “respect the dignity of others, treating them with civility and understanding” and we are asking Indiana University to do the same. During the Spring semester of the 2019-2020 Academic year, students were provided with the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option for many of their courses. On March 19, 2020, the Indiana University community received an email from Provost Lauren Robel that stated “We are also working hard on how to do fair and equitable evaluation, including the option for a grade of Satisfactory rather than a letter grade in appropriate cases.” The conditions that Indiana University students are facing this semester are more than appropriate to qualify for a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory option. Any decision to bar a student from utilizing this option is neither fair nor equitable.

Many universities around the country including Harvard ( ) and Loyola ( ) are allowing the option for Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades for their students because of the exigent circumstances COVID-19 has imposed on many people. While we acknowledge the university’s concern that students may attempt to take advantage of this option, we argue that our peers understand the implications of requesting Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grades and will do so out of necessity rather than opportunity.

We have recognized the lack of consideration from our faculty and staff. We strongly request Indiana University to allow the option for courses to be graded as Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory for ALL IU students. This must be available for all courses regardless of their length for the Fall and Spring semesters of the 2020-2021 Academic school year. 

We will only be able to continue being #IUStrong if we are able to express our concerns and demands without being silenced.