[UPDATE: Endorsed Double-A] Adopt a Universal Pass Policy for the UT Spring 2020 Semester

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This petition is set to urge the administration to change the grading system this semester to a universal pass system, meaning all students pass in each class, without letter grade distinctions. 

Due to this emergency relocation taken in precaution against COVID-19, UT has thrown students and faculty alike into foreign circumstances. Suddenly, students without food security, internet access, and/or reliable housing are expected to perform at the same level as students who have stable situations at home. Many students also have to care for siblings whose K-12 education has been suspended and are expected to provide childcare at home.  Others may be caring for family members who are at grave risk during this time, or maybe immunocompromised themselves. When the lives of yourself and your loved ones are in jeopardy, academics should be the last thing you have to be concerned about.

Similarly, international students who have been abruptly relocated into time zones that do not align with regular EST class times will be unable to attend classes that require live participation, such as seminars and sections. Online tests allocated for specific times would also be made impossible – e.g.: some students would have to take finals at 1 AM or even more absurd hours of the night. 

Additionally, now with confirmed COVID-19 cases in Austin and at the university, this is hitting particularly close to our homes as students. 

Other universities have already begun to recognize the impact that a global pandemic has on students' abilities to participate in academia. An increasing number of them --including MIT, Stanford, Smith, Grinnell, and Northwestern-- have moved forward in implementing changes in their grading systems to lessen the burden of these drastic life shifts on our peers. We ask that UT follow suit.

 We recognize that COVID-19 is impacting everyone and their families right now. We hope that a universal pass policy can also alleviate some of the pressures from an administrative standpoint during this pandemic.