University Senate approves expansion of credit/no credit grading option to all SDSU courses

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Senior Staff Writer

In a nearly 2-hour emergency session on April 16, the University Senate voted in favor of expanding the credit/no credit option to all Spring 2020 courses. The decision marks a revision of an academic policy announced on April 15 in a campus-wide email, which said that only select courses would be granted this grading option.

In the Thursday meeting, 61 senators voted in favor of the change and six senators voted against it.

Under the new policy, San Diego State students have the option to change this semester’s classes to credit/no credit until May 1 by completing a Late Schedule Adjustment petition with the registrar’s office.

The move was heavily championed by Associated Students executives, including Vice President of University Affairs George Scott, who is also a voting member of the senate.

On Wednesday, April 15 A.S. started a petition intended to show university leaders the amount of student support for an expanded credit/no credit option, Scott said. The petition has since garnered more than 2,500 signatures.

“In the petition, we made sure we were as accurate as we could be in the description because we really wanted to just hear how students were feeling,” Scott said. “We didn’t have a number goal, we just wanted submissions.”

Several students commented on the position explaining why they supported the change, some of which Scott displayed during the Senate meeting.

The Senate first discussed academic relief measures at an April 7 meeting but were not able to come to a decision about the specifics. Since then there have been several days of meetings and discussions about the emergency academic policy as well as the implementation and potential consequences of enacting an expanded credit/no credit option, but the work is not yet done, A.S. President Christian Onwuka told senators.

“I understand that we will have a great faith effort in the implementation of this in spite of all the challenges we have heard today,” Onwuka said. “Thank you again for supporting us as students.”

One of the most prominent sticking points among senators was the 15-unit cap on credit/no credit courses undergraduate students can apply toward graduation requirements. Senators debated this question heavily, though eventually moved to suspend the rule for Spring 2020 courses. A similar change was made to ensure graduate students receive an equivalent benefit.

While arduous, the process of examining all the details of the new policy will benefit students in the long run, Scott said.

“A lot of schools did switch to credit/no credit pretty early,” Scott said. “It’s going to be interesting to see how things are going for them right now. But for us, I think it was good that we started analyzing all the possibilities.”

More information regarding the process and requirements for students seeking to change the grading basis for Spring 2020 courses will be available in the coming days. Students will have until May 1 to make the switch and will be required to consult academic and financial aid advisors before doing so.