Pass/Fail Grading Option After Final Grades at the University of Minnesota Fall 2021

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Pass/Fail Grading Option After Final Grades at the University of Minnesota Fall 2021

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Khatra Abdullahi started this petition to University of Minnesota Twin Cities and

So far, Fall 2021 has been an unsettling semester with almost everyone experiencing extreme pressure, grief, depression, and our mental health deteriorating dramatically. We've been stuck in a global pandemic for nearly two years, and most of us have experienced both grief and frustration as a result of losing loved ones throughout the pandemic. The COVID-19 pandemic began on December 12th, 2019 and is still ongoing as of December 8th, 2021. The University of Minnesota provided some additional support to individuals during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Students enrolled in Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021 had the flexibility to change their grading scale from A/F to Pass/Fail at a specified time in the future. During the first year of the pandemic, students also received minimal financial assistance, and universities have offered minimal to zero financial relief this term. 

The administration office sends us email messages on a frequent basis, wishing us well and telling us of the "services" available for students via mental health and academic resources. While we appreciate the University's ability to provide essential services, it isn't the only contribution we require.Unfortunately, many of the available resources are currently over capacity and cannot serve any more students due to the excessive number of students requesting assistance. I also want to inform the administration, particularly our University President, Joan Gabel and Vice President of Human Resources, Kenneth E. Horstman, that the majority of their students have been attempting to accomplish their best, but are currently suffering. You continually wish us well in your emails, but we're not doing so well, administrator. Students deserve more than the administration's resource links for self-care. We're attempting to care for ourselves, but we'll need some time to process everything. The administrative office does not do enough to effectively empower and assist students and faculty members.

The transition from online to in-person classrooms has been a learning experience for numerous students. Many students haven't been able to attend classes on campus over the past year, therefore this semester continues to be a teaching moment for everyone. This semester marks half of the student body's first experience with in-person classes on the University of Minnesota campus, so it has been a valuable learning experience for everyone. Shifting from fully online learning to being tossed into in-person classrooms with little leniency or sympathy has been emotionally damaging for many students. Many students, including myself, are preparing to graduate and are terrified of what the future will hold. Because of the pandemic, many seniors are experiencing their first and final semesters at college. College is a time for students to discover their true selves and pursue their passions. Many upperclass students have missed critical to advancing moments due to the pandemic. Students have been denied the ability to network and establish meaningful relationships and connections with peers and professionals in their desired career. There has been an enormous pressure on many students to succeed academically and acquire adequate experience to carry with them after graduating.

Minnesota is recently ranked #2 in the U.S. for new COVID-19 cases per capita, according to John-Hopkins University researchers, who revealed that one out of every 136 residents across Minnesota reported the presence of COVID-19 in the previous week. Throughout these previous 2 weeks, Minnesota has reported 1,468 new cases per 100,000 residents. In Minnesota, healthcare workers accounted for 25,471 of the more than 350,000 positive cases documented. Since the start of the pandemic, the state's number of deaths has risen to 2,637 fatalities. According to the COVID-19 World-Wide Tracking Project, Minnesota has the 22nd highest overall number of COVID-19 illnesses throughout the United States and the 28th most per capita. Minnesota's COVID-19 mortality rates have been reported as 56.5 per 100,000 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With the new Omicron variant, they expect rates to increase even more. Additionally, this new variation has increased the health risks for staff and students. Secondly, we're still learning about the long-term repercussions of COVID-19. Per the federal Department of Health and Human Services remote medical hospital reportings, Minnesota's Metro hospitals are nearly at maximum capacity for adult ICU, with 524/526 beds in use, Adult Non-ICU with 3,617/3,637 beds in use, and PEDS ICU with 103/110 beds being used. 

College students' mental and physical well-being has deteriorated in recent years as the COVID-19 pandemic has progressed. One of the significant causes of the increased emotional stress students encounter has been the overwhelming burden of university courses, plus balancing living during the pandemic. In-person courses have become exceedingly difficult to maintain coupled with increased stress and separation, particularly because we are still in the midst of a pandemic. Despite the fact that classes are held in person, COVID-19 is still a fatal reality with serious consequences.  Many students have had to miss class due to COVID scares, testing positive for COVID, living with those who have COVID, as well as other non-COVID health related reasons. As a result, several students have fallen behind with class. Our student body is made up of individuals from all over the nation. This semester has been tremendously challenging and painful for everyone including families, friends, residents, mentees, instructors, coworkers, classmates, and myself. Many of us have jobs, support families, and try to find time to care for our mental and physical well being on top of being full-time students. 

Therefore, we are petitioning and advocating for students to be able to change from an A/F grading scale to a Pass/Fail grading system. We'd also like the administration to approve the Pass/Fail grading system for major and minor requirements for graduation. 

As students, we face real and distinct concerns about our education and future employment currently. Students and faculty members are equally concerned about their overall wellness, as well as the well-being of their friends and family, financial decisions, as well as other uncertainties. Furthermore, this extension will offer students the comfort and adequate resources to fully weigh their grade decision for each course with the help of academic counselors, friends, family, and peers. The University has established a range of sources to assist students and faculty members to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic, but students still require urgent and direct financial and academic guidance.

After hearing about the difficulties and personal experiences among University of Minnesota students this term, I was compelled to create this petition for our friends and peers. Over the last two years, I've found serenity and inspiration from my friends and peers as I've dealt with a variety of life-altering decisions and circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. I've seen all of your hard work and hope that by starting this petition, this will help alleviate some of the students suffering and provide them with some relief. I expected more from our university throughout this pandemic, and I worry that they aren't doing enough for our students.

Through this petition I'm hoping to shed awareness and hopefully persuade the University of Minnesota administration to provide further assistance for University of Minnesota students with additional guidance and academic support.

Petition Writer and Co-Signer - Khatra Abdullahi, Senior, College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Student

Petition Co-Editor and Co-Signer - Bethany Tamrat, Junior, College of Education and Human Development Undergraduate Student

Petition Co-Editor and Co-Signer - Nimo Ali, Senior, College of Liberal Arts Undergraduate Student


994 have signed. Let’s get to 1,000!
At 1,000 signatures, this petition is more likely to be featured in recommendations!