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Give credit/no credit where it is due

The following reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Though virtually nothing has returned to normal here in Oxford or on Miami’s campus, the Office of the Provost has decided to reinstate the normal academic calendar timeline for choosing a credit/no credit option for classes. Normally, students have to decide two weeks after classes start. But, last semester it was pushed to the week before finals.

This also enforces the rule that the credit/no credit option is off the table for any classes within your major.

This decision is unwarranted.

The Office of the Provost believes we need to return to some form of normalcy, but this isn’t the way to do so. Raising the standard by which we are graded clashes with our current situation, which continues to remain both uncertain and dominantly online. 

Provost Jason Osborne justifies this decision with his personal opinion that the pandemic has become “predictable,” but with new strains of the virus popping up in Ohio, it’s hard to see the validity of his thought process.

Yes, the vaccine is here and it’s in the process of being distributed. But, it has yet to be widely received by many of the people in Miami’s community, so it is safe to assume things will get worse before they get better. 

Returning to normal isn’t going to come just because we’ve started to get academically stricter. The fact that we’re still predominantly online says more about our academic state during this phase of the pandemic than a reversion in our academic calendar ever could.

This policy reimplementation is trying to force a normalcy upon us without a real hope of it truly being there. We know Miami’s appearance means everything to university officials, but our education still stands as the students’ main priority, and this is a perfect example of that disconnect.

Some professors are still in the process of switching the mode of their class even though they’re supposed to stick to the original plan they had during registration. Classes are not predictable enough to make a decision on how you want to be graded at this point. 

This lack of student representation is no surprise considering the fact that Associated Student Government was hardly consulted in the process of going back to pre-pandemic policy. The student organization was informed of the decision and was told they could make a petition if they opposed it strongly, though it would likely not affect the outcome.

We understand the concern about students taking advantage of the policy and taking more classes with no credit than necessary, which can be frustrating for professors. But here’s the thing — we are adults as well as students at this university, and are capable of making our own decisions. And enforcing a policy just because a few students take advantage and have little to no GPA for a semester or two isn’t fair to the rest of us. Plus, those students will have to face their own consequences for choosing those options, and they’ll be responsible for them on their own. 

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We know some people might think we’re asking to be coddled, or asking for more than we need or that we’re taking advantage of the pandemic. But that’s not the case here. We are simply asking for a seat at the table where decisions that directly affect our lives as students are being made — which should be a given. 

If the Office of the Provost went about this decision through the right channels, we probably would’ve met somewhere in the middle. It’s not necessary to wait to choose a credit/no credit option until the week before finals, as was the case last semester. But, it would make sense if the deadline were right around midterms, which is when we would fully know how classes would be structured, how well our professors have a handle on their individual classes and how that would affect our learning process. 

We ask that the Office of the Provost do better in including students when making decisions that affect us, and to take this petition seriously enough to reconsider this single-minded policy reimplementation. 

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