Universal Pass Policy for all RVCC Students

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Introduction:

I want to start out by saying I was inspired to pursue this for my college after seeing what Montclair State University students have been able to achieve with their petition and how other colleges such as Yale and Harvard have begun considering this policy. As well as keeping the best interest of my fellow classmates in mind.

Firstly, what is a Universal Pass Policy?

With a Universal pass policy, in short, a student would receive credit for their course as well as a "P" on their transcript. A Universal Pass can be argued as a more fair grading system in comparison to traditional letter grades. 

Why is this needed?

There is no question that this is a time of extreme anxiety and hardship for many individuals across not only the country but globally. Having all of our classes moved online indefinitely as well as having some students only resources such as libraries, computer labs, and common areas shut down poses great academic stress and anxiety that is not needed during this time of global anxiety. Many students don't have access to quality internet or internet at all and with New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy declaring a "stay at home" rule, as well as businesses, shutting down, they are unable to leave their houses to receive the internet needed for their newly moved online classes. Many students can't afford or don't have access to the technology that is required to do their classes online, hence why they enrolled on campus. 

Impact on students with disabilities:

Personally, I took specific classes on campus due to the fact that I physically am incapable of teaching myself the material in an online format and I know many others are in the same boat. We have students who are visually impaired and rely on on-campus help with their courses and have expressed their concerns and worries about the difficulty these online classes will pose for them. Students with learning disabilities are put at an even further strained level to achieve or maintain their high grades now without the help they would be receiving in person. Not everyone can learn online. Everybody, whether they have a disability or not, is coming from completely different circumstances and certain aspects of life right now are and should be taking top priority such as staying healthy and safe.

Are we the only ones asking for this?

No! As mentioned above, Yale and Harvard are already considering a Universal Pass at their universities. Schools such as MIT, Smith College, and other Ivy leagues have done away with letter grades completely. If we do achieve a Universal Pass for this semester, when it comes time to re-evaluate for the fall, RVCC should consider possibly implementing this as a permanent grading policy to relieve academic stress and anxiety.

Summary:

in the midst of a global crisis, all students' focus and priorities should be staying safe and healthy without the added stress and anxiety that comes with the thought they may fail. The world is in crisis right now and by implementing a Universal Pass policy it will not only help ease the student bodies minds and anxieties but it would also help aid our professors who are scrambling to turn their in-person class into an online format especially for those professors who haven't taught online before. With Universal Pass, no student will be penalized for factors out of their control.

It is no question that we as students want to learn and continue to expand our knowledge in our majors. In the simplest of terms, those who can still learn during this time will, however those who aren't able to put their full focus into their schooling, for any reason, should NOT fail due to this pandemic.