UC Berkeley College of Engineering last to announce changes to fall grading policy

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The College of Engineering is the only undergraduate college at UC Berkeley that has not yet determined whether a pass/no pass, or P/NP, grading option will be allowed for the 2020 fall semester. According to ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu, more than 1,800 students are in favor of a P/NP policy.

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After UC Berkeley College of Environmental Design, or CED, announced a pass/no pass, or P/NP, grading alternative for the 2020 fall semester Saturday, UC Berkeley College of Engineering, or COE, is now the only campus undergraduate college that has yet to determine whether or not a P/NP policy will be adopted in light of the pandemic.

In accordance with Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate’s recommendations, every other campus college has adopted a P/NP policy for fulfilling major requirements during the fall semester.

“College of Environmental Design was one of the most forthcoming when it came to trying to understand the student experience,” said ASUC Academic Affairs Vice President Nicole Anyanwu. “They were really looking ahead for P/NP. They were looking at the best way to help the students.

A campus senior, Anyanwu discussed the importance of listening to and aiding students during what has been a difficult and unexpected semester, and said more than 1,800 students have been in favor of a P/NP policy.

According to Anyanwu, much of the discussion by administrators has focused on the possible effects such a policy could have on graduate school admission and students’ futures, but the new policies reflect the voices of campus students.

“Administrators are trying to frame themselves as students, but you can’t frame yourself as a student,” Anyanwu said. “When the most marginalized students are saying that they’re suffering and that they want this policy, you need to listen to them.”

Many students in COE have expressed similar sentiments.

According to COE freshman Avni Vachhani, the college should incorporate a P/NP grading policy in order to maintain a fair environment for UC Berkeley students, as the remainder of colleges already have.

“It’s been a stressful semester at home. Having to do everything at home, on top of family business and commitments, has been tough,” Vachhani said. “Allowing us to P/NP would help with the stress, especially when we don’t have a lot of the resources available on campus.”

Sonali Loomba, a COE junior, also urged administrators to take into consideration the unique challenges students are facing amidst the pandemic. 

Loomba added that COE has been emphasizing the importance of student well-being, but this should be reflected in a more flexible grading policy.

“UC Berkeley always focuses on equity and equality, and I hold COE to the same standards,” Loomba said. “COE needs to pass policies that will help students in a timely manner. Them holding back on this decision is just adding unnecessary stress.”

A final announcement regarding any possible changes to the grading policy is expected by Friday, according to COE spokesperson Julianna Fleming.

Contact Samantha Lim and Emily Hom at [email protected].

A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Nicole Anyanwu is a junior. In fact, she is a senior.