By Madelin Shelton — 

A student-led petition advocating for an extended withdrawal date and the option for students to make their classes pass/fail this semester has been circulating among University of Louisville students. It has received over 3,000 signatures.

Jordan Stewart, a sophomore at U of L, created the petition after hearing multiple U of L students discuss the struggles of trying to navigate college in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the petition began to circulate, the university announced that it would push back the withdrawal date for classes to Nov. 17. However, it will not be implementing the pass/fail policy implemented for the Spring 2020 semester.

The university gave several reasons for the pass/fail decision, citing that allowing too many pass/fail classes can risk losing accreditation and that “minimal passes do not guarantee success in the next course in a sequence, and allowing students to pass a requirement with a D- frequently harms their chances of future success in their major.”

Furthermore, the university’s email mentioned that students can choose, prior to the start of the semester, if they wish to declare a class pass/fail.

“They should exercise those options for spring, after consulting with their advisors,” U of L officials said.

The university also expressed concerns of a broad pass/fail policy encouraging disengagement and mediocre performance among students. Additionally, U of L pointed to the fact that many graduate and professional schools have not extended a pass/fail leniency to prerequisites taken during the Fall 2020 semester.

Of the announced pass/fail decision, Stewart said that is was upsetting because of the current state of the world.

“I understand what they had to say about the pass/fail for this semester but at the same time it’s really aggravating because no one asked for a pandemic to be thrown on them while they’re in college,” she said. “It’s irritating that they won’t see that it is so much harder for students to complete assignments and deal with professors who are not good at clearly communicating what they want during this time.”

However, Stewart was “ecstatic” to see that the university decided to push back the withdrawal date to Nov. 17. “Even if it wasn’t because of my petition it was still something I wanted,” she said.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal