CCSU Adjusts Pass/Fail Option For Spring 2020 Amidst COVID-19 Pandemic


Maria Basileo

Isabella Chan, Editor-In-Chief

Central Connecticut’s Faculty Senate has voted in favor of creating temporary changes to the university’s pass/fail option to students due to the coronavirus pandemic.

With the new policy, undergraduate and graduate students will be permitted to elect the pass/fail option for all courses counted towards their major, minor and general education courses. With this new system, the grades will fall into three categories: P^, P* and F.

The P^ notation will be recorded for all grades of C- or higher, it will fulfill the prerequisite requirement for any subsequent courses, except when a minimum grade higher than C- is required. For grades that are D-, D or D+, a P* notation will be used to represent a “low pass and shall only fulfill requirements where there is no minimum grade required.”

A letter grade of F in a pass/fail course will be treated in the same manner as a failing grade in any other course and will impact a student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA).

The withdrawal period, with no permission required, has also been extended to May 10.

As Faculty Senate collaborated with the Office of Registrar and School of Graduate Studies on the policy, many stated it was important to consider how the new online learning method may hinder students’ academic success.

“We should consider students who have difficulties with internet, some have lost members of their families due to this pandemic,” Dr. Evelyn Phillips, professor of African American studies and anthropology, stated at the meeting.

Similar feelings were reciprocated by CCSU’s Student Government Association as well.

SGA Vice President Andrew Pilkons emphasized during the meeting that “the students who are likely to take this option are often going to be the ones of the least privilege, or put into extremely difficult positions.”

With this in mind, the primary concern of the policy was how it can be acceptable for all five of CCSU’s schools while also creating minimal impact on the grading system in the future.

Because of this, CCSU is strongly advising students to consult with advisors, faculty members and/or department chairs prior to making the decision because it may not be beneficial to every student’s academic future.

According to new amendments, the pass notations will have no positive or negative effect on a student’s GPA and will only be reflected in the total number of earned hours. Therefore this will not benefit students who are repeating a course to replace the original letter grade.

Along with this, applying pass/fail to prerequisite courses may not satisfy requirements for future semester courses. This can also become a potential issue for students applying to graduate programs as many of the courses require letter grades.

As stated by the amendment, “while CCSU retains a record of the original letter grade submitted by a student’s instructor, the original letter grade will not be automatically considered during registration prerequisite checking for courses where a student has elected pass/fail.”

Those looking to make use of the option have until May 10, 2020 to file it with the Office of Registrar; all submissions will be finalized by then and may not be changed afterwards.

President Dr. Zulma R. Toro says the decision to update the policy “is a great example of [CCSU’s] willingness to collaborate and respond to the needs of our Central family.”

“This definitely is a historic piece of legislation but it is only because of the situation we are in. My hat goes to all of you,” Dr. Toro said to the Faculty Senate after the policy was approved.