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Faculty Senate adopts pass/fail grading option for this semester

Illustration by Hugo Hinojosa
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Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that students needed to submit documentation to [email protected] to opt into the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grade option. That is not true. Students only have to complete the Fall 2020 Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grade Mode Form.

UTEP announced to faculty and advisers in an email that students will once again have the satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading option available to them for Fall 2020 semester as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. 

The “S” is for satisfactory performance and the “U” is for unsatisfactory. This option will be available for all undergraduate and graduate courses, except for those courses where accreditation requirements limit that possibility. Similar to the Spring 2020 grading policy, UTEP instructors are not required to opt into this option. 

According to UTEP officials in the email, the temporary changes to the institution’s grading policy were made effective as of Nov. 10, with the support of the Faculty Senate and the Graduate Council.  

Faculty will determine the criteria for earning the “S” grade based on the nature and requirements of the course, the email stated. The email also states that a course passed with an “S” grade will count toward degree requirements and prerequisites. However,  neither an “S” nor a “U” will calculate into students’ GPA or lead to penalization.  

Students are being advised to discuss their decision with their academic, program, financial aid, and athletic advisors before Dec. 3, the last day of classes and deadline for students to change their grading mode to satisfactory/unsatisfactory.  

Students interested in electing this option should complete this online form: Fall 2020 Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory Grade Mode Form

The decision came just a few hours after UTEP student Dominique Huerta began a petition calling for the university to adopt the S/U grading option for this semester. In just one day, it already garnered more than 260 signatures.

“Today, we saw 14 new COVID-19 related deaths and report 1,000+ new cases every single day. By now, every household has had to deal with a relative having COVID, or they themselves have had it,” Huerta wrote in the petition’s description. “We ask for empathy during these unprecedented times.”

UTEP political science professor Todd Curry wrote on Twitter that it was a wise decision by the Faculty Senate.

Anahy Diaz may be reached at [email protected]; @by_anahydiaz on Twitter.  

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About the Contributor
Anahy Diaz
Anahy Diaz, is a bilingual Multimedia Journalism, Political Science and Chicano Studies student at The University of Texas at El Paso. She has helped lead The Prospector, as editor-in-chief, copy editor and multimedia editor by writing and creating news packages. Anahy currently works as an intern for NBC News Los Angeles, and has previously interned with NBC’s Today and Weekend Today. Anahy’s published work can also be seen in Borderzine, KERA News, KTEP, KTSM Channel 9 and KVIA Channel 7. As a first-generation college student, Anahy hopes to join the field of broadcast after graduation covering news, politics, and entertainment.
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Faculty Senate adopts pass/fail grading option for this semester