Last week, Yale became the fourth Ivy League school to adopt a mandatory “pass/fail” grading system. University officials note that it will be “extremely rare” for students to receive a failing grade, and that students are able to drop out of courses the day before final exams.
This comes after weeks of Yale Students pressuring administrators, using the global coronavirus pandemic as a justification.
Apparently, it’s the “fair” thing to do because some students may have difficulties accessing the internet and/or may find it difficult to study in a noisy home environment.
Yale has already offered a compromise by telling students they can, if they choose, opt for a pass or fail grade instead of a letter grade. However, this wasn’t enough for college students.
The decision has drew sharp criticism from the Ivy League school’s alumni.
Yale alumni Esteban Elizondo stated the demand to nullify grades and homework requirements for the entire semester really isn’t about equal rights for poor students. One of the only ways in which poor students can set themselves apart from their peers is by their grades.
Indeed, many of the poor and lower-middle-class students at this prestigious university are likely there because they either worked hard to earn good academic grades. Without the ability to showcase good grades, these students are at a disadvantage.
On the other hand, rich students from prestigious families can always rely on family connections to get into top-tier jobs even if they don’t manage to earn stellar grades for a semester or two.
Sadly, the current pandemic isn’t the first catastrophe that Yale students have tried to leverage to get out of having to actually work to earn their degrees. When President Donald Trump was elected in 2016, Yale students demanded that mid-term exams be canceled because they couldn’t deal with the stress. Even then, Yale capitulated to student demands.
It seems like all Ivy Leagues have followed the same pattern. Northwestern University Provost Jonathan Holloway recently overruled faculty members to announce that finals would be optional for all students.