By Rjay McCoy
Staff reporter

Due to Covid-19, students are being asked to complete their semester in the safety of their own home.

With so many of Southwestern students in their hometowns across the country and worldwide, communication is a little difficult. On April 16, after the approval of all the faculty, Southwestern inherited a pass/fail policy that will be applicable to the spring 2020 semester.

Ross Peterson-Veatch, vice president for academic affairs, sent an email to students and faculty regarding the new grading policy amidst the coronavirus pandemic and remote classes:

Essentially grading has been amended to include a “satisfactory/unsatisfactory” (S/U) grading option in the regular grade appeals process (on p. 17 of the Course Catalog).  You will still get letter grades in your courses at the end of this semester, but for this semester only you may request a change to S/U grading in any course after final grades have been posted on May 12.  If you would like to consider this option, make sure you talk with your academic advisor about this and then you can begin the process by emailing the Academic Dean’s Office at

This means for any class applicable to this grading policy may use it if desired. This does not include graduate courses or professional studies.

Linda Weippert, associate vice president for academic administration operations, talks about the newly amended policy.

“We felt that it was important giving students another grading option to address any disruptions that they experience in the spring,” said Weippert.

Alissa Sheppard, first year advisor, gives her input on the new pass/fail policy.

“Personally, I believe this is a great option for students as a result of the pandemic. Class being via zoom and communication with professors has been more difficult. Students being able to change a grade to pass/fail instead of a letter grade is a great opportunity. I believe giving the students the choice not only benefits themselves but, also gives them a platform for the incoming semester and pushes them to work harder,” said Sheppard.

For athletes this leaves some confusion based on eligibility requirements.

Edward Loeb, faculty athletic representative, gives more information on what to do to stay eligible.

“Students going into their junior year (academically or athletically) must have a cumulative 2.0 grade-point average. Repeated coursework can also be an issue as a D in the past can be repeated provided it is passed with a C- or better,” said Loeb.

Weippert gives more details about the pass/fail policy, “Some schools have only issued pass/fail grades for the spring semester, but our policy allows students to choose. The deadline to request a change is not until Sept. 17, so students do not have to make a quick decision but can take the time to discuss it with their advisor.

The policy document is posted on the Registrar’s web site

To access the 2019-2020 Course Catalog, click here.

RJay McCoy reported on this story from his home in Park City, Kansas.