EDITORIAL: The Herald Supports Universal Pass (and you should too)

Other statements from No Fail Yale and the joint statement from the Asian American Students Alliance, Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán de Yale, The Association of Native Americans at Yale, and the Black Student Alliance at Yale have explained the necessity and feasibility of Universal Pass better than we could, so we’ll be frank: Grades mean shit in a pandemic. 

The Managing Board of the Yale Herald supports a Universal Pass policy for Spring 2020. 

Current circumstances have tilted an already unlevel playing field even further towards inequity. Students are dealing with vastly different time zones, familial obligations, mental and physical health circumstances, housing situations, environments, and a metastasizing global crisis. Evaluating their performance with the exacting metric of a GPA simply penalizes those who have more than enough to worry about. Yale’s ad hoc messaging over the last week has caused worry enough. Moreover, education cannot continue as-is via Zoom virtual conferencing. There are syllabi that cannot be carried out online, research projects that cannot be completed from one’s bedroom, mechanical and sculptural projects that cannot be built at home.

This is an unprecedented disruption in our lives and education. Holding grades in place when all else changes is not rational. (P.S. For classes graded on a curve, grades are already relative!) We are aware that many students are rightfully concerned about unintended consequences of a Universal Pass policy, and any formal policy should take into concerns over Visa status, scholarships, or other extenuating circumstances.

Finally, with concerns over the equity and efficiency of a Universal Pass policy in mind, we still believe that pushing for Universal Pass is the only course forward. Actions are always met with reactions, and a student effort that seeks halfway measures at the outset will yield far less. As students’ GPAs are evaluated by graduate schools and potential employers, a non-universal policy would create yet another proxy by which students’ transcripts are marked by inequality—and no policy at all would be even worse.

We’re students second and people first, so let’s take care of each other (and ourselves).

Sign the petition to show support for Universal Pass.

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