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Old Gold & Black

OPINION: Men’s Basketball just won’t back down
Abigail Taylor, Contributing writer • February 27, 2024

How Extenuating Are The Circumstances?

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Bella Riddle ‘21, the Campus Union officer who presented the credit/no credit resolution to Campus Union

Students’ hope for a credit/no credit option appear bleak 

Between the technological frustrations of online courses, the fear of catching COVID during in-person classes, the stress of professors piling excess amounts of work on students and the inability to socialize as normal all weigh down on students as the college approaches the end of the semester. One glimmer of hope did remain, however, as students sought an extension of the credit/no credit system that was provided to students in the spring. 

Georgetown, UNC Chapel Hill, University of Pennsylvania and University of Virginia are just a few examples of higher-ed institutions opting for an extension of their credit/no credit policies that were implemented in the spring to address the disrupted semester. In October, the University of Virginia was forced to rethink their fall grading plans, as nearly 1,500 students signed a petition to allow their credit/no credit system to continue through the fall. 

Students at Wofford hoped they, too, might extend the spring semester’s policy into the fall. Madeline Samson ‘21, shared her desire for a credit/no credit system. She explained, “the general consensus is that classes have picked up” and “students are feeling really stressed.” 

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She also shared “I feel that they don’t give students a break since we have no fall break, we have nothing to do on campus but work.”

After speaking with Wofford’s Registrar, Jennifer Allison, our Provost, Mike Sosulski, and Chair of the Academic Standing Committee, Professor Steve Zides, it seems as though Wofford students will be limited to the traditional A-F grading system. 

Allison, Sosulski and Zides explained that “all academic policies, including policies that relate to grades, belong to the faculty. Any change to those policies needs to be approved by a vote of the full faculty.”

At this time, there is no effort on behalf of the Academic Standing Committee nor the faculty to extend the credit/no credit system into the fall. 

While they described the spring as an “emergency situation”, the group argued that “the current situation is much more stable and both the campus and community are better prepared to meet the challenges that may arise.  While the college is utilizing various learning formats (in-person, blended, remote), those formats were noted on the class schedule by the first day of fall 2020 classes.”

This sentiment is not universal amongst students, however, as demonstrated by another student hoping for the application of the credit/no credit system to the fall semester. Bella Riddle ‘21, like Samson, believes that students have indeed experienced quite the unusual semester. Speaking on the hybrid model that many professors have adopted, Riddle explained “I feel like it’s resulted in more work than it would normally be.” 

She expanded “professors are nervous that students might not be getting exactly what they would if we were in a normal situation so they’re almost overcompensating and giving out more assignments and more work to do on your own.” 

Riddle used her position on Campus Union to push the faculty in the direction of a credit/no credit system. On Monday Oct. 26, she presented a resolution in Campus Union advocating for this system. The resolution passed, which Riddle hopes will serve as a testament of student support for the credit/no credit system.

The resolution was sent to the Provost with a deadline of one week to respond. 

It is unsure if this would make an impact, however, as the Registrar explained the Academic Standing Committee “has not considered broad policy recommendations from groups of students or student representative bodies. When broad policy recommendations reach the Committee, they have originated from other faculty initiatives or the Office of the Provost.”

Furthermore, the Registrar noted “all the Committee can do is draft a proposal for the faculty to vote on.  If the faculty believe the proposal has merit and action is necessary, they have the authority to accept the proposal and implement action.”

But, with only 5 weeks until the end of the semester, the possibility of extending the credit/no credit system for the fall seems slim. 

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