YAO | Bring Back Opt-In S/U

Last semester, Cornell implemented an opt-in S/U grading policy, where students had until the end of the semester to switch any class to S/U — even if the course did not previously offer it as a grading option. Furthermore, courses where students received a satisfactory grade could be used to satisfy major or minor requirements. In doing so, the University recognized the need for flexibility and solicitude during a year where we saw the world as we knew it fall apart. Some of that empathy might come in handy this semester as well. This fall, Cornell chose to revert to standard grading practices, implying that students should treat the semester the same manner they treated every other year.

GUEST ROOM | Sorry, We Have to Defy Capitalism to Install the Most Ethical Grading System

We are facing an unprecedented dilemma. For the first time in United States history, we are shutting down all our social institutions, ranging from healthcare facilities to education. Within that, there are groups of people who are facing incomprehensible calamities like the death of parents or crippling hunger. Of course, draconian-style, individualistic management is prevalent in the U.S.’s history of dealing with social issues, and the majority of Cornell’s population favors that style. As a result of capitalistic ideals and a characteristically false sense of meritocracy, many faculty want to maintain harsh grades, students want to profit from panicked change and many people are fighting to marginalize students facing intense hardship.

Student Assembly Calls for Universal S/U Grading

The Student Assembly passed an amended resolution expressing support for a universal satisfactory/unsatisfactory grading scheme for Cornell students. With the amendments, the proposal to pass all students effectively becomes a blanket pass/fail grading system, only changing the necessary grades to receive a “satisfactory” grade.