Students at Scripps College were considering starting a strike of their classes in a bid to achieve a universal-A grading system for this spring semester amid the coronavirus pandemic. Students are also organizing to lobby professors, especially those on the Faculty Executive Committee, for a universal pass/no record/incomplete system, similar to the policy Pomona College faculty passed earlier this week.
In a survey gauging interest for a potential strike sent out to students, the organizers listed the following as possible options:
Refusing to attend online classes and not submitting online assignments, starting Monday, April 20th.
Attending Zoom classes with a “#scrippsstrike2020” graphic displayed. No audio or video will be shared and students will still not be submitting online assignments.
Boycotting course registration if student demands are not met by April 28, when pre-registration opens
The organizers stated that they are protesting the current grading policy, which allows “privileged students [to] benefit [from]…receiving a higher GPA.”
After courses shifted online amid the pandemic, Scripps College adopted an opt-out grading system for the semester to ease the burden on students. This grading policy allows students to convert a letter grade ranging from A through D to a “pass.” As a result, students have the choice between letter grades or pass/fail grading.
The survey, sent out by a group called #NobodyFailsAtScripps, is also recruiting Scripps students to lobby their professors to a universal pass grading system. In the letter intended for Scripps faculty, they state that “privileged students benefit from the opt-in policy by receiving a higher GPA.” The letter states that a “universal [pass] policy levels the playing field and puts the wellbeing of our student body first.”
The letter goes on to justify the exclusion of a failing grade: “[t]hough we have been dispersed from campus, our commitment to the wellbeing of each other and the future of the college remains strong… No one deserves to fail.”
Recently, Pomona College, another member of the Claremont College Consortium, adopted a universal pass/fail grading system. This policy change came after similar campaigns were launched by members of the Pomona student body.
The three other Claremont Colleges all adopted variations of allowing students letter grades. Claremont McKenna College and Harvey Mudd College are allowing students to view final grades before choosing a Pass/No Credit grade, while Pitzer College is defaulting to Pass/No Credit grades, allowing students to revert to a letter grade at the end of the semester.
Correction: This article has been corrected to state that it was a survey sent out to students, not a memo. The movement name has been corrected to “#NobodyFailsAtScripps.”