Bradley University students won't have a pass/fail grading option available this semester.
Such an option was offered after the tumultous spring semester, when students shifted to all-remote learning after spring break when the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out.
But in early November, university administration announced it would continue with letter grades for the fall 2020 semester, following a "lengthy internal review" of the pros and cons.
In an interview with WCBU this week, Bradley President Stephen Standifird said higher-ups at the university stand by that decision as the semester is winding down.
"If students engage in multiple semesters of pass/fail, it ends up being fairly complicated formulas around how that impacts their GPAs, their financial aid, the probability they'll graduate on time," he said.
Standifird noted many other higher learning institutions across the country made similar conclusions in deciding to bring back letter grading for the fall semester.
But the Bradley Student Senate has pushed back hard against the university's decision not to offer a pass/fail option again-- even going so far as to issue a press release. David Daye is speaker of the assembly in the university's student government.
"We do believe the institution has a heart for the students, and that they do really want to do what's best," he said. "I just think that sometimes there is a disconnect between what the institution may feel is best, and what the students feel that they need."
Standifird said the fall semester was very different from the tumultous spring semester, when COVID-19 was less well understood.
"Coming into this semester, we felt more confident about what we were doing in the classroom and the virtual environment," he said. "And we just get very concerned about the well-being of our students, and the decisions that they may make on pass/fail, and as a result, we decided not to offer that option this semester."
Daye said he respects Standifird, but said this semester has offered its own struggles, and the university should offer another choice, if not a pass/fail option.
"I think there's some room for you to figure out what is the best option," he said. "And that's where we still take some issue. That there was no attempt at an alternative."
Provost Walter Zakahi told students at a recent Student Senate meeting he's charged with making the best decisions for students, and stands by the call made back in November, according to a report from the student-run Bradley Scout. But it appears the Student Senate's leadership still wants to continue the discussion, according to that report.
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