CMC Student Gov’t Supports Universal Pass

According to an email sent to Claremont McKenna College (CMC) students, the Associated Students of Claremont McKenna College (ASCMC) Executive Board has supported a universal pass grading campaigned by the #NobodyFailsAtCMC movement. The movement claims letter grades unfairly benefit privileged students, demanding that the college replace letter grades with universal grades of pass/incomplete/“no record pandemic” without the option of an F (fail) for the semester. The Executive Board will be bringing a full resolution concerning the proposed grading policy to a full Senate meeting today at 6 p.m. through a virtual meeting. 

The #NobodyFailsAtCMC petition states that “[w]e refuse to stand idle while this administration dismisses the current realities of students–especially First-Generation, Low-Income, Queer, Trans, Black, Indigenous, Undocumented, Disabled, Immunocompromised, and International Students. We urge Claremont McKenna College to overturn its resolution and adopt the Universal Pass/Incomplete/No Record Pandemic grading model as the only ethical solution in this time of crisis.”

If the resolution is passed, ASCMC will “strongly [urge] that the Registrar and the appropriate faculty committees adopt the UP/I/NRP grading policy for the Spring 2020 semester whereby all students with a letter grade of A through D will automatically receive a ‘Pass.’” 

The current grading scheme—which allows students until May 26 to convert letter grades to Passes after viewing those grades—was decided by CMC faculty members in line with the College’s Faculty charter. However, the movement is demanding “Claremont McKenna faculty and administration revisit their decision.” They demand that “a revote held on an anonymous platform so that all faculty may vote, not only those who are tenured or highly ranked in their departments.” (emphasis original)

As part of the movement’s goal, #NobodyFailsAtCMC would prevent students from being able to have letter grades on their transcript by forcing all students under a universal pass policy. They assert that this outcome is the most equitable as “[i]t is undeniable that the opportunity to increase Grade Point Average is more accessible to students in positions of privilege, and that this can only be remedied by implementing a Universal Pass/Incomplete/No Record Pandemic policy.” (emphasis original) 

Despite its endorsement of the movement, ASCMC previously shared a survey showing that most students are against a universal pass grading policy. The majority of  all students, including the majority of first-generation students and low-income students, support the current grading system. Some advocates of #NobodyFailsAtCMC argue that this survey is not reflective of current student sentiments, as it was conducted before students had sufficiently experienced online classes.

Claremont McKenna College is a member of the Claremont Colleges Consortium along with Pomona, Harvey Mudd, Scripps, and Pitzer Colleges. Recently, students at Scripps College were exploring the possibility of starting a strike of their classes in the hopes of getting universal A grading, which reverted to an email campaign lobbying professors. After a heated battle between students and faculty who stood on opposite sides of the issue, Pomona College adopted a universal pass/incomplete/”no record pandemic” grading scheme

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