University of Pennsylvania Extend Pass/Fail Option to Fall Semester

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University of Pennsylvania Extend Pass/Fail Option to Fall Semester

This petition made change with 755 supporters!
Benjamin Franklin started this petition to University of Pennsylvania and

Dear President Gutmann, Provost Pritchett, 

Given that all of the unusual circumstances which made the Spring semester a challenge for many students still persist today, we request that a Pass/Fail option be extended to Fall semester as well. Some of our peer institutions, such as Princeton University, has already done this.

  1. Unique home situations for international students, especially students in different time zones, make it difficult for some students to perform well in a normal class. 
  2. According to a recent DP survey, 22% of Penn students including half of international students will not be returning to campus due to health and other reasons. This is a substantial portion of the population and results in inequitable study environments.
  3. There has been a resurgence in cases of COVID-19 both in the United States and around the world, affecting the loved ones of many students. Students will be under substantial stress due to external circumstances.
  4. Many students expressed concerns over the quality of online classes, fairness of grading, and technical issues in the previous semester. All of these issues still persist.
  5. Freshman will be taking college classes for the first time. Online classes make a transition which is already incredibly difficult even more stressful with increased difficulty in communication. Some universities such as MIT already have pass/fail first freshman semesters as their normal policy.

If it were not possible to grant a full extension, even giving a more limited option such as offering 2 Pass/Fail options would be enormously beneficial.

We hope that the University enacts this change to the benefit of the entire student community. 

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