The University of Michigan’s Central Student Government passed a resolution advocating for changes in the 2020-21 Academic Policy in response to COVID-19 in their meeting via Zoom Tuesday night. 

In winter 2020, the University’s academic policy was altered to account for the interruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Grades for undergraduate students were shifted to a “Pass/No Record COVID” grade where the cutoff for a “P” was a “C-” and “NRC” grades did not count for credit or affect GPA. Undergraduate students were also able to request to unmask their grades for classes of their choosing. 

The fall 2020 University Academic Policy includes a late drop deadline for all undergraduate students with no penalty until the last day of classes and an “NRC” for grades “D+” or below. Students also have the ability to unmask grades for each class individually via Wolverine Access if they get an NRC grade.

The assembly believes that since the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in winter 2020 have persisted throughout the fall 2020 semester and are expected to persist into the winter 2021 semester as well, the University should adopt the winter 2020 grading policy for the academic year 2020-21. These challenges include limitations on resources available to students and suspension of many in-person classes. 

The resolution also advocates for the implementation of a University-wide break on exams and other assignments that contribute to at least 10% of a student’s final grade for one week during the winter 2021 semester in order to support students’ mental health in lieu of spring break.

CSG President Amanda Kaplan highlighted about 225 student organizations and 4,252 students who supported this resolution, according to a survey sent out by CSG. She also said the resolution was unanimously supported by the Faculty Senate’s Student Relations Advisory Committee. 

“This is a crazy semester. Over 10% of the student body has officially signed on in support (of the resolution),” Kaplan said. “The overwhelming amount of support demonstrates that students really feel like they need this.” 

LSA junior Zackariah Farah voiced his support for the resolution and highlighted that the LSA Student Government is also advocating these changes in academic policy. 

“Tonight’s resolution is obviously very exciting and I want to say that LSA Student Government has kind of a sister resolution that we’re passing this Wednesday, which was inspired by this resolution,” Farah said. “We’re hoping that with as much support from across campus we can really get these changes made.” 

The assembly confirmed LSA junior Ryan Jansen, Law School student Briaunna Buckner and Law School student Jacob Podell as associate justices. The assembly also confirmed Engineering junior Shub Argha to the Programming Board. 

Rackham student Hayden Jackson pointed out the lack of a report from the Executive Nominations committee for any of the judicial candidates. The Executive Nominations committee conducts interviews of candidates nominated for CSG positions and then informs the assembly of a candidates’ suitability for the position. According to Jackson, the chair of the Executive Nominations committee allegedly made the decision to not meet with the candidates nor make recommendations to the assembly regarding their suitability for the role without consulting other committee members. 

Jackson said it is extremely important for the Executive Nominations committee to report on these candidates, as they play a significant role in CSG elections. In the last election, the decision of the winning ticket of the LSA SG elections relied on the Central Student Judiciary’s decision

“I strongly rebuke the chair of the Executive Nominations committee for not only not making the decision to not hear these candidates,” Jackson said. “I want to point out that last election, CSJ decided the winner of the LSA SG election. These are really important positions.” 

Daily Staff Reporter Navya Gupta can be reached at itznavya@umich.edu. 

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