Pomona delays decision on grading policy, votes down A/no record/incomplete option

A Pomona College faculty meeting adjourned Wednesday before coming to a consensus on a grading policy adjustment for the spring 2020 semester. (Mabel Lui • The Student Life)

Pomona College faculty did not decide on a grading policy Wednesday, according to Pomona professors in attendance at a closed faculty meeting.

The faculty voted down an A/“no record pandemic”/incomplete grading policy for all students, but did not vote on any other proposed policies before the meeting adjourned. The faculty was originally set to vote on a universal pass/“no record pandemic”/incomplete policy. 

A decision on grading policy for the remainder of the semester is hotly anticipated among the Pomona student body, especially given that three of the other 5Cs and many peer institutions across the country have already announced their plans. 

Since the college moved classes online March 30, students have advocated for various policies in a variety of ways, including an ASPC report, an independent consortium-wide survey, outreach to faculty and activism over social media. 

Some students have recently begun discussing an academic strike if the college does not adopt a universal policy.

ASPC voted April 5 to endorse a universal A/A- model. In a report using survey data from Pomona students, ASPC said the A/A- model would address the concerns of marginalized students who have met difficulty participating in online classes. 

With the A/NRP/I policy eschewed, some remaining under consideration include the originally proposed P/NRP/I grading policy, a universal pass policy and an amended P/NRP/I policy where students can opt to receive letter grades, according to a professor who attended Wednesday’s meeting.

The faculty is set to reconvene Friday at 4 p.m. They will first vote on the opt-in grading policy, according to a professor in attendance, before considering other amendments and the original motion.

In an unusual move, Pomona President G. Gabrielle Starr decided to close the meeting to students. Faculty meetings are normally open to Pomona students, though the meeting chair — Starr, in this case — has the power to close the meeting to students, according to the Pomona College Faculty Handbook. 

“We initially invited students so that they could hear the procedural point, and understand that it was part of regular procedure,” Starr said via email. “As we had students from ASPC present at the first discussion, and given the heated nature of some discussions offline, I felt it was important that faculty be able to deliberate as a single body of the voting faculty.”

Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College are allowing students to opt in to take individual classes pass/no credit or pass/fail, respectively, while Pitzer College made “Satisfactory Pandemic” or “No Record Pandemic” the default, but will allow students to opt in to receive letter grades.

Claremont McKenna College has not yet announced a finalized grading system for the semester — the college’s faculty will be meeting Friday to debate and vote on the final policy, ASCMC Diversity and Inclusion Chair Diana Hernandez ’21 said in an email to students Tuesday.

This article was last updated April 15, 2020 at 3:25 p.m.

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