Victory

Rollins College's Spring Semester changed to PASS/FAIL grades due to COVID-19

This petition made change with 2,155 supporters!


Rollins College's Students Need Help Amidst Covid-19!

On March 12, 2020, Rollins College announced that all in-person classes would be moved online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. Students living on-campus were asked to pack up their dormitories and return home. The academic performance of Rollins students will be deeply affected due to the uncertain and unpredictable aspects of COVID-19 and the possibly unsafe environments that students were made to return to.

The next step that Rollins College should enact immediately is to create accommodations in the form of two options: a Pass/Fail format optional for all courses or a generous curve.

The first measure would be to provide students with a Pass/Fail option available for every course they have and would be student opt-in. This would be set up so that the course chosen would count towards a student’s credit requirements, general education requirements, and major/minor. However, the Pass/Fail option would maintain that Pass/Fail courses cannot count towards a student’s GPA. Rollins would then allow every student this pass/fail option in every course. 

The second measure we are asking for is a generous curve of 10-15%. This would be Faculty Opt-In! The curve would apply to assignments, exams, or anything submitted after March 13, 2020.***

***These two measures would be mutually exclusive, meaning students cannot benefit from both the pass/fail option and a generous curve of 10-15 percent.

Few of the Reasons for These Measures:

  1. Many students are experiencing stress and/or anxiety as a result of the sudden travel they had to endure. Students who have left Florida and returned to states with a high number of COVID-19 cases, such as California or New York, are likely experiencing massive stress knowing that their local community is at risk.
    1. For example, students on the West Coast with an 8 AM class will have to be awake before 5 AM just to get the same classroom experience as their peers living in the Eastern time zone. For international students, classes could be held in the middle of the night.
  2. Low-income students will experience unexpected barriers at home. This pandemic, like all health crises, is inherently a socioeconomic issue. Those in lower economic brackets will experience more financial and mental stresses throughout this time. Their inconsistent access to WIFI and technology put these students at a severe disadvantage in comparison to their peers, this is even more of an issue given Rollins College's transition to Online-Learning.

Other universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced that they would be changing their grading policy to pass/fail as a result of COVID-19 being a significant disruption (outlined in Article 2.64 of their rules and regulations manual). Other universities have followed suits, such as Smith College, The University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Columbia and Barnard College, University of Central Florida, and Vanderbilt University.  Rollins College is not the only academic institution calling for this transition; The University of Miami and Florida International University are also petitioning for Pass/Fail as a result of the transition to online classes. 

This is not a call asking for an easier education, this is a call for justice concerning the academic, physical and mental health of your students. Please join us in making real change and showing your commitment to the health and well-being of your students.

Students Join Us in Petitioning Rollins College to make these changes to adapt to the new circumstances to ensure the mental, physical, and academic health of all their students. We are all having to adapt as a community and a globalized society, and it is time to adapt our academic system.

We love Rollins and we hope Rollins will love us back in this critical moment of adjustment.

 

If you're a student, please spread the word and continue this conversation and help us get these accommodations passed!

 

 

Full Petition Letter Below

___________________________________

On March 12, 2020, Rollins College announced that all in-person classes would be moved online for the rest of the Spring 2020 semester. Students living on-campus were asked to pack up their dormitories and return home. The COVID-19 virus is changing the circumstances of our education and the lives of billions of people around the world. Everything is changing rapidly and the world is being forced to adapt to the new conditions imposed by this pandemic. This petition calls for Rollins College to adapt in a way that is accessible and accommodating to the severe circumstances that we are all facing. Rollins Colleges prides itself on principles of global citizenship and responsible leadership and is committed to excellence, innovation, community, and transformative education in an inclusive environment. It is at this time that we call upon Rollins College leaders to apply these essential values to recognize and respond to the stresses of the global pandemic that we are all facing as a community. 

Rollins College students are thankful for the college’s response in taking our health into consideration and providing online instruction. We recognize the immense value of this accommodation and are grateful for it. However, we also recognize that the academic performance of Rollins students will be deeply affected due to the uncertain and unpredictable aspects of this situation and the possibly unsafe environments that students were made to return to. It is unreasonable to apply the same standards of education to this dramatically different and strenuous situation.

The next step that Rollins College should enact immediately is to create accommodations in the form of two options: a pass/fail format optional for all courses or a generous curve. These accommodations would be to adapt to the new circumstances, as we are all having to adapt as a community and a global movement. We list below the means by which Rollins should adjust and the crucial reasons for these adjustments.

How to adjust: 

To enact these measures would mean temporarily changing the structure of the Rollins Pass/Fail system. We are willing to work with the Registrar's office to set-up forms and a technical system to effectively enact these changes. The new pass/fail option would be set up so that the course chosen would count towards a student’s credit requirements, general education requirements, and major/minor. However, the pass/fail option would maintain that pass/fail courses cannot count towards a student’s grade point average. Rollins would then allow every student this pass/fail option in every course. 

The second measure we are asking for is a generous curve of 10-15%. Faculty Opt-In only. The curve, however, would only apply to assignments, exams, or anything submitted after March 13, 2020. ***

***These two measures would be mutually exclusive, meaning students cannot benefit from both the pass/fail option and a generous curve of 10-15%. 

Reasons to adjust: 

1) Many students are experiencing stress and/or anxiety as a result of the sudden travel they had to endure. This distress may have come as a result of purchasing travel tickets, packing, and having to leave the lives that they knew behind. Additionally, students who have left Florida and returned to states with a high number of COVID-19 cases, such as California or New York, are likely experiencing massive stress knowing that their local community is at risk. 

2) Technical difficulties that arise when applying an online synchronized learning system: Students in different time zones will suffer and it will undoubtedly affect their academic performance and ability to learn.

For example, students with an 8 AM class that are back on the West Coast will have to be awake before 5 AM just to get the same classroom experience as their peers living in the Eastern time zone. For international students, classes could be held in the middle of the night.

3) Low-income students will experience unexpected barriers at home. This pandemic, like all health crises, is inherently a socioeconomic issue. Those in lower economic brackets will experience more financial and mental stresses throughout this time. Students without consistent access to the internet or a computer will not be able to maintain the same academic achievements that they had while on campus as they will not have the same access to the synchronized online system of learning. 

4) There are a multitude of health-related issues and adversities with this pandemic: If a student’s family member (or even the student themself) becomes sick, as the number of COVID-19 cases in the world multiplies every day, the student will be unable to focus on their studies. This pandemic puts all of your students at a disadvantage and we must fight to create a fair field. 

5) Many students are facing financial stress as they no longer have a stable income from their on-campus, work-study, or residential jobs at Rollins College. Additionally, with the many businesses closing down, students are simply not making money. This lack of income will destabilize their lives at home and affect their ability to engage academically. 

Other universities, such as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have announced that they would be changing their grading policy to pass/fail as a result of COVID-19 being a significant disruption (outlined in Article 2.64 of their rules and regulations manual). Other universities have followed suit, such as Smith College, The University of Florida, Florida Atlantic University, Columbia and Barnard College, University of Central Florida. Rollins College is not the only academic institution calling for this transition; The University of Miami and Florida International University are also petitioning for Pass/Fail as a result of the transition to online classes. 

We ask that Rollins College gives us the option to transition from letter grade to pass/fail. We recognize that letter grades are used to determine scholarship eligibility, so another option that we would propose is that transcripts with letter grades also have an asterisk (*) or some footnote that denotes this grade was received during a major interruption to in-person instruction as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the pass/fail option, a generous curve would alleviate stress from Rollins’ students. We hope that Rollins College enacts this change for the betterment of the student community in these trying and stressful times.

Please remember, change starts with you and with us. No action is too absurd or difficult right now. We are facing an unprecedented situation and we hope Rollins College takes this revolutionary step forward and reinforces our reputation as an adaptable, innovative, and understanding college that truly cares about its students. As the world adapts, we must adapt our systems too. This is not a call asking for easier education, this is a call for justice concerning the academic, physical and mental health of your students.

Please join us in making real change and showing your commitment to the health and well-being of your students. We cannot leave a system in place that was designed for normalcy in a time like this. We trust that Rollins's leadership will do the responsible thing in this dire situation.

We love Rollins and we hope Rollins will love us back in this critical moment of adjustment.



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