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Students create petition to make classes credit/no credit due to coronavirus

A petition is circulating around Miami University to make classes credit/no credit after university officials announced the university would move to remote learning through the end of the semester due to the novel coronavirus. 

The petition elaborates on the downsides of remote learning and the difficulty it places on students. 

“We as Miami University students, having already moved to all-online coursework, should not have to endure the stress of getting good grades during this time of great uncertainty,” the petition reads. 

It was posted on and by Monday night it had garnered 5,557 signatures. Senior Peter Fortunato, who started the petition, declined to comment. 

Jake Kravitz, a first-year diplomacy and global politics major, signed the petition because he agreed that students should be given the option to take all classes pass/fail. 

“A lot of people are going to be getting sick — a lot of family members, a lot of people are going to be cramped up in their homes,” Kravitz said. “That just is not an environment conducive to learning, and it’s one that’s entirely stressful for students.”

Provost Jason Osborne said the university has other priorities at the moment. 

“Right now we are attempting to get people safe,” he wrote in an email to The Miami Student. “We will make those downstream decisions as we have time to evaluate them.”

Amanda Euen, university registrar, said this change wouldn’t be plausible.

“This type of grade change could have federal financial aid implications for students, including those using veteran education benefits, as well as GPA ramifications for those students who may, at some point, seek admission to graduate or professional school,” read a statement from Enrollment Management and Student Success. “For those reasons, it is likely not a viable option for the university to make this type of change.” 

According to Miami’s website, students can only take 13 credit hours, or 10 percent of the bachelor’s degree requirements, for credit/no credit. Courses that are only offered for credit/no credit are excluded from this total. 

“Nationwide studies have shown that credit/no-credit grades on your academic record may be a negative factor in evaluation of your application for admission or employment by most professional schools (law, medicine, etc.), by many graduate schools, and by some employers and undergraduate schools,” the website warns. “Before enrolling for courses on a credit/no-credit basis, consider what effect it may have upon your career goals.”

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Programs in the College of Engineering and Computing (CEC) are accredited through ABET, the national engineering accreditation board. Programs and credits must meet their standards, said Tim Cameron, associate dean of CEC. 

“To really meet the expectations of employers and society, we really need to avoid anything that would compromise students achieving the learning outcomes, so when they graduate there are certain skills and abilities and qualities and characteristics that students have, so we need to try very hard to make sure that this situation doesn’t compromise those,” Cameron said. 

Sarah Siegal, speaker of senate for Associated Student Government (ASG), said ASG’s job is to advocate for students, and they are aware of the petition and the concerns surrounding it. 

“I think it does capture a sentiment that we need flexibility, and there needs to be an acknowledgement within the administration that there is only a limited capacity of what we are going to be able to do this semester,” Siegel said. 

While she recognizes the implausibility of expecting all classes to be offered credit/no credit, she said ASG is exploring all options and looking for an alternative that wouldn’t negatively affect anyone. 

Ted Peters, chief divisional advisor and assistant dean for the College of Arts and Science, asked students to be patient as faculty members adjust to the online systems. 

“I understand where students are coming from and that they’re concerned,” he said. “This is a disruption for everyone.” 

Peters added that faculty members generally take difficult circumstances into consideration when grading students’ work. While that would happen on a class-by-class basis, he said it would be reasonable to assume faculty members would give the circumstances a large consideration.  

Miami’s coronavirus information page can be accessed here. The CDC also has a comprehensive coronavirus page. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms can call the Student Health Service at 513-529-3000. 

Students with questions about the coronavirus and the university’s policies can reach out to Associated Student Government.