ASG discusses optional Pass/No Pass grades for Fall Quarter

ASG+discusses+optional+Pass%2FNo+Pass+grades+for+Fall+Quarter

Illustration by Emma Ruck

Emma Yarger, Reporter

After the referendum to implement optional Pass/No Pass grading options for Fall Quarter passed with 86 percent of vote, Associated Student Government discussed next steps at Wednesday’s senate meeting.

In addition to discussion about a petition for optional Pass/Fall grades, ASG’s first senate meeting of the academic year included swearing in new senators, a code update, Rules Committee elections and executive board reports.

A large portion of the meeting was dedicated to discussing the petition, which has received over 500 signatures, and the referendum, which received 647 votes. The petition cites COVID-19, political unrest and unequal access to technology as supports for making Pass/No Pass an option for students.

“The students of Northwestern kindly ask that students have the option for ‘Pass/No Pass’ classes to be counted for major and minor requirements, distribution requirements, and language courses,” the petition states. “This is a more equitable path for Northwestern to take and maintain its core mission of the common good.”

During ASG’s virtual senate meeting, Weinberg junior speaker Matthew Wylie explained that the supporting vote means ASG will work with the University to bring the goals of the petition to fruition.

ASG invited two students to the meeting to speak on behalf of the petition and referendum. One was a Weinberg senior, who wished to remain anonymous, who said NU is not “meeting the requirements of a sound community” during the pandemic.

“Do we still have that same level of inclusiveness? And that same level of support in today’s education system at Northwestern?” he asked. “And when we were discussing it, our final answer was we’re actually missing those two dimensions within our community.”

ASG President Juan Zuniga said the referendum supported optional Pass/No Pass instead of mandatory Pass/No Pass due to complications with mandatory University grading policies that occurred in the spring.

Zuniga, a Weinberg senior, explained that classes are a professor’s individual intellectual property. He said professors have the right to sue the University if NU were to mandate Pass/No Pass.

Although no official statements have been made by the administration, SESP junior and Executive Officer of Justice and Inclusion Daniel Rodriguez said he believes there is some movement within the administration on this issue based on the conversations he has had with the Office of the Registrar.

Zuniga said it was inspiring to see newly elected senators at the Wednesday meeting, who may not have set foot on campus, care deeply about the NU community. He said he eagerly waited for senate to begin during the summer and start of Fall Quarter because that is when ASG “comes alive.”

“Despite us being remote and (students) coming from all over the world, from all over the United States — it feels like we’re coming together again,” Zuniga said. “And hopefully in a way that’s really collaborative.”

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ASG’s COVID-19 task force deals with “fallout” of University decisions
ASG’s Policy Research Institute: researching peer institutions to solve NU problems
ASG hosts town hall for students to discuss recent changes to Fall Quarter plans

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