Kenan-Flagler’s Tone-Deaf Summer Grading Policy

Melinda McCabe
UNC-Chapel Hill Student

I’m deeply disappointed by Kenan-Flagler’s decision to reinstate a letter grading policy for the summer term notwithstanding the pass/fail policy adopted by the other schools on campus. I’m even more frustrated by the rationale given for this decision.

Kenan-Flagler followed the guidance of the rest of the university of the spring semester, moving all classes online and giving students the option to pass/fail classes within the professional school. I have appreciated the Undergraduate Business Program’s (UBP) willingness to communicate directly with students throughout the semester, until I received the following email from April 22nd. 

The email explained that Kenan-Flagler stands by its decision to reinstate a letter grading system for the summer term. The UBP leadership explained, “hearing from both professors and students, we understand that this disruption has led to a lack of motivation” followed by, “returning to the traditional grading system for summer classes...will help ensure that the limited seats in summer courses are allocated to those who truly need these courses and are making the effort necessary to master the material.”

I was upset when I first heard about the policy change, yes, but I was even more disappointed by the rationale behind the decision. Sure, I’m lacking motivation, but it’s not because of a lack of letter grades. It’s because tens of thousands of Americans are dying and the president has suggested that we try injecting ourselves with disinfectant as a result. I live in an unending news vortex of death and triage and minimizing economic impact- or is it lives lost? These uncertain conditions are only compounded by the issues of access and disruption that thousands of students face at a flagship public school designed to educate students from all backgrounds.

I’m luckier than many of my fellow students in that I have a safe, comfortable, home environment in which to work, and no one I know has contracted COVID-19 (yet). Still, I’m overwhelmed by the deaths and depressed about the inability to leave my house. There’s something about my omnipresent fear for the future that makes it a little hard to think about marketing strategy. Our world is in turmoil and the grade I receive in BUSI 406 is the last thing I’m worried about. Kenan-Flagler should reinstate its pass/fail grading for the summer term to demonstrate its willingness to help students from all backgrounds succeed in conditions that seem determined to prevent them from doing so. I’m sure a continued pass/fail grading policy won’t decrease my motivation.


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