As of Dec. 7, over 12,000 participants have signed a change.org petition calling for Long Beach State to give alternative grading options for the fall 2020 semester.
Created by fourth-year psychology major Carolyn Dao just over a week ago, the initial goal was to reach 5,000 signatures and has been gaining supporters “by the minute,” she said.
According to the petition, the coronavirus pandemic has imposed “unprecedented stress” on both students and faculty, and “the loss of in-campus experience has immeasurable influence on student performance with negative impacts.”
“I support all students having that choice because the transition has thrown everyone off, students and professors alike, and it seems like the resulting grades are not indicative of their normative capabilities in academic performance,” Dao said. “As long as we are learning in lockdown, alternative grading options should be offered.”
Dao argued in the petition that students should be given the option this fall to have grading options like credit or no credit like they were for the spring 2020 semester.
“My hope is that the administration will listen to the needs of their students and grant us this clemency,” Dao said. “The administration would be heartless to ignore our cries.”
Dao felt compelled to create the petition after receiving “resounding support” from classmates and said that “without their encouragement and positivity, I don’t know that I would have had the courage to start.”
Cal Poly Pomona chose to provide its student body with alternative grading options, according to The Poly Post. This prompted Dao to contact CSULB administration, who confirmed that there were no plans to offer this for the fall 2020 semester.
The administration at CSULB has yet to respond to Dao’s proposal.
The Cal State Student Association, an umbrella coalition for the California State University campuses’ student organizations, has urged each administration to extend their deadline for students to choose between receiving a letter grade or credit or no credit for the fall 2020 and spring 2021 semesters.
In its resolution, the CSSA “requests that the chancellor’s office continue to modify the conditions of Executive Order 1037,” which establishes grading policies and standards. Parts of the order were suspended in April to accommodate students after the transition to alternative instruction who wished to withdraw from or retake a class past their school’s deadline, according to the petition.
Despite not being able to meet any of her classmates face to face this semester, Dao said she was able to maintain connections with peers as much as possible through group chats and online interactions.
“Forming a network of support was a challenge this semester, but I feel fortunate that my classmates and I were able to connect through group chats started at the beginning of the semester,” Dao said. “These group chats served as one of my biggest resources for moral, instrumental and emotional support. We bonded over the mutually shared experience that is this year.”