Scripps Faculty Vote for Pass/No Record Grading with Opt-in Letter Grades Despite Student-Run Campaign in Support of Universal Pass Policy

Anna Liss-Roy ’20
April 30, 2020

On Thursday April 30, Scripps faculty voted on four motions, deciding to implement a default pass/no record grading policy with the option for letter grades, according to multiple faculty members who attended the meeting. The motion that was passed, proposed by the Faculty Executive Counsel last week, changed Pass (Pandemic) or No Record (Pandemic) to the default grading system for spring 2020. Any student who doesn’t qualify for a Pass will receive a NR (Pandemic), meaning this class will be removed from their transcript. A Pass is an A through a D, according to the motion, and a P counts for all major, minor, and general education requirements. Grades will be released on May 22 and students have until May 26 to request letter grades.

This policy is a stark contrast from that of Pitzer, whose faculty yesterday adopted a universal pass/no record system with no option for letter grades. Under this policy each P is worth a 4.0, bumping students’ grade point averages. Pomona implemented a universal pass/no record/incomplete policy with no option for letter grades. Claremont McKenna and Harvey Mudd’s respective grading policies default to letter grades but will allow students until May 26, four days after grades are released on May 22, to request pass/no credit grades.

This decision by Scripps faculty follows weeks of organizing by Nobody Fails at Scripps, a coalition of over 140 students pushing for what they viewed as a more equitable grading policy. Hours after the faculty vote, organizers released a statement condemning the faculty’s decision. “We expected better of our institution and community,” wrote organizers. “Yet, once again, we must take Scripps’ claims and promises with a grain of salt: it continues to use low-income, POC, and disabled students as tokens of diversity for admissions campaigns without actually providing for the needs of many of its most vulnerable students. In this decision, Scripps has refused to prioritize the needs of the collective student body who lack the resources, time, space, and support they would otherwise have on campus to succeed academically during a global pandemic.”

In their statement, Nobody Fails at Scripps pledged to “be a force at Scripps College for many years to come. Whether that’s setting up mutual aid to help students pass Incomplete classes or provide financial support, organizing to do away with the restrictions needed to take an Incomplete, urging our departments to promise a grade floor, or working on improving the process of student-faculty communication, the work continues.”

Nobody Fails at Scripps’ position evolved from Universal A in early April to Universal Pass/Incomplete/No Record Pandemic on April 18 to Universal Pass/Default Incomplete/No Record Pandemic on April 29. These changes were informed by feedback from faculty, students and graduate programs, according to the movement’s instagram account @NobodyFailsatScripps, which has amassed over 700 followers at the time of publication. Scripps Associated Students endorsed Universal Pass on April 21.