Opinion: Texas State should revoke their grading policy decision

Amira Van Leeuwen, Assistant Opinions Editor

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many students and families are forcing to adapt to a myriad of situations, which is why the Student Government recommended amending the grading policy to mirror the “4.0/fail” system.

Upon review of multiple grading systems, Texas State has decided to provide students with the option to request modifications of final course grades to the emergency pass, or EP, grades. But, this alternative grading policy is inessential.

Other Texas schools like Texas A&M University and the University of Texas at Austin immediately enforced drastic changes to their grading policy in order to adapt to the online school transition. However, Texas State did not need to feel pressured to follow other schools and appease a fraction of the student body. Instead, Texas State should have invoked its right to keep its grading policy as it stood.

The emergency pass policy is aimed to avoid issues other policies were thought to impose, but only at the expense of one’s GPA. In its vague email to the student body, Texas State warns students to weigh the consequences of an emergency pass grade.

In his letter to university officials, Student Body President Corey Benbow points out a variety of issues concerning lack of internet access and food security for the student body. However, students and families alike should know there are a variety of federal and university resources aimed at helping.

For example, people who meet income eligibility guidelines can apply for numerous federal benefit programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program that provides money for food. There is also a website, Feeding Texas, where people can find member food banks that offer free groceries and a place to sign up for food stamps (SNAP benefits).

As students are kicked off of campus and return home, they might be losing a stable internet connection. Spectrum is offering free internet access and WiFi for 60 days for Pre-K-12 and college students and teacher households who currently do not have access to these services. Other providers are also giving similar offers.

Additionally, the entire student body will continue to have tutoring available as the Student Learning Assistance Center (SLAC) has resumed regular hours and will conduct virtual lab tutoring and Supplemental Instruction. The Online Writing Lab (OWL) will also remain open for the remainder of the semester.

Texas State and Adobe have also partnered to provide all students access to install Adobe Creative Cloud (Adobe CC) onto personal computers. Access to this feature will remain available until May 31, 2020, at no additional cost.

Many will argue that COVID-19 has put students and families in unforeseen financial situations, which is true. However, with the amount of available academic and basic needs resources, students should have no excuse to put their best foot forward.

Texas State administration should withdraw the change they released and move forward with their usual grading policy. Implementing a, seemingly, useless change was a rash attempt to appease students.

Students alike have claimed that the circumstances they are enduring are hard enough without having to transition to online for the remainder of the semester. However, they, along with university officials, seem to forget that faculty have been working day in and day out to make this transitional period easier for everyone.

Professors who are working with students in difficult situations are giving alternative assignments and instruction. The whole campus worked to transition into an online platform within two weeks. Adopting the emergency pass grading policy puts all of that work to shame. Students should not expect admin and faculty to adapt to them while they refuse to do the same.

While the effects of COVID-19 are not ideal, they are still bearable given the various opportunities and alternatives being offered.

– Amira Van Leeuwen is a journalism sophomore

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