By Brianna Williams, News Editor-
The sudden closure of campus has caused several students to question certain aspects of their collegiate career, including where they stand academically as classes go online, causing a petition for a pass/fail option.
The petition was started by fifth-year senior Victoria Anderson on March 18 and currently has over 3,000 signatures and over 50 comments.
According to Anderson, the petition hit 2,500 signatures within three days of being created.
Anderson had a few reasons for starting the petition, with the main intention being to raise awareness about the trouble many students would experience with online classes, she said.
“There are so many students that do not have access to consistent internet, there are lots of students with different varieties of mental health situations and people cannot really do justice to their academic performance under a lot of stress like a pandemic,” Anderson said. “And there’s also people that are currently trying to worry about surviving—making money, losing their jobs, trying to pay bills—people are distracted.”
Under Anderson’s petition is a comment section from students arguing why they believe UTC should implement a pass/fail system, citing similar issues as to why they signed the petition.
On March 20, UTC Chancellor Steven Angle sent out a campus-wide email discussing the prospect of providing students with a Satisfactory/No Credit option in response to Anderson’s student petition.
According to the Chancellor’s email, UTC would like to provide this option, but “there are major concerns with the impact of such a decision.”
“The Hope Scholarship requires coursework be taken for a grade; many graduate and professional schools require specific courses be taken for a letter grade, and certain major and general education requirements must be taken for a grade,” Angle’s email detailed.
Although Anderson has not been included in any decision-making regarding the satisfactory/no credit option, the Chancellor and Provost have been responsive and attentive to her emails, she said.
After receiving the campus-wide emails from Angle, Anderson said she is unsure what to feel regarding the option that Angle has briefly shared.
“My option that I was proposing is that a student’s semester, if they elected to pass/fail would end now and they would take the grades that they earned so far…what it’s looking like so far [based on the Chancellor’s emails] is that the satisfactory/no credit option would be at the end of the semester, which would not help whatsoever,” Anderson said.
In the same email, Chancellor Angle stated that UTC’s provost Jerry Hale would have an official announcement on the Satisfactory/No Credit option by March 25.
On March 25, Chancellor Angle sent another campus-wide email revealing that Academic Affairs would provide an announcement regarding the S/NC grading option in “the next few days.”
According to the email, “The delay in addressing this as an option is the need to clearly define the risks and impact on students should they elect to take this option.”
Now, Anderson is just waiting with the rest of the campus to hear the decision that Academic Affairs makes regarding the satisfactory/no credit option.
“The whole point was to help. Whether or not it actually does help, it’s in their hands now,” Anderson said.