SGA requests that S/U options are expanded

WRITTEN BY: Joseph Cotton, Campus News Editor

Photo courtesy of @xavieruniversity on Instagram

Senior Kate Roach and eight other Student Government Association (SGA) Senators have sent a letter to the Board of Undergraduate Studies (BUGS), the Board of Graduate Studies (BOGS) and chief academic advisor to request that the Satisfactory/ Unsatisfactory (S/U) options for students be expanded.  

This request comes a week after BUGS and BOGS approved an S/U grading option for the fall semester. 

Their letter reads, “Students are still living under the conditions that are associated with a global pandemic: health concerns, emotional and mental stress, financial stress, and an overall reduction of wellbeing. We are not able to fully engage in any aspect of our lives due to the pandemic, let alone fully engage in our academics.”

Specifically, the senators are asking that students be allowed to request that six credit hours be graded as S/U instead of the previous three credit hours. 

The letter also requests that faculty members be given until Dec. 11 at 5:00 p.m. to submit final grades so that students are given the opportunity to “tie-up any loose” ends after finals are completed. According to Xavier’s current S/U policy, credits for courses with an “S” will count toward the earned credit hours needed for graduation and toward any other requirement that does not have a grade minimum, but will not be counted towards one’s GPA. Course credits for courses with a “U” will be counted as an F grade and will affect one’s GPA. 

The deadline for dropping classes has also been extended from Nov. 3 to Nov. 24. Request forms for converting grades to S/U will be made available on Nov. 6. 

“It’s important to have a more inclusive S/U option for this semester because we are adjusting to a new learning style that doesn’t work for many of us,” said Sen. Kate Roach. “Students are struggling and have voiced that to the university. The answer to those concerns is a better S/U option.”

Students have expressed that expanded options would take a bit off of stress out of their lives and give them more leniency at school. “A little buffer or wiggle room would be appreciated given these crazy times,” said junior economics major David Pachota. “Life and school have been a challenge for both students and professors with adjusting to this new way of learning.”

He also went on to say that sometimes concerns outside of school are forgotten about in this kind of decision making. 

Others expressed extreme disdain with this year’s S/U policy. 

“It’s certainly a good thing but this year’s S/U policy with severe restrictions seemed like a token response to students. It felt like they said ‘here, we’ll throw you a bone and you can shut up about it,’” history major John Higgins said. “It’s more of an appeasement than anything and any history major will tell you that that doesn’t work for long.” 

When asked whether or not the SGA request should be granted, Higgins said, “Without a doubt. I’m not planning on taking the S/U option for any of my classes but the pandemic has affected everyone differently and the people who have been hit hard deserve a bit more compassion from the University.”

Higgins went on to say that he was surprised when the university didn’t offer the same options as last semester. 

“While one class can sink your GPA, if you’re doing bad in one it’s likely you’re not doing great in others,” he added. 

It is still unclear, however, if the request can even be granted. During the SGA meeting on Oct. 26, Associate Provost and Chief Student Affairs Officer Dave Johnson addressed the topic and stated the fact that S/U option can only be used for three credit-hours is essentially “set in stone.”