An online petition launched Friday is urging Boston University to reinstate for this semester its Credit-No Credit grading policy from the Spring. The policy would allow students to choose between a letter grade or a credit-no credit designation for their classes.
The petition has nearly reached its goal of 1,000 signatures, as of Monday. Petition creator Kira Milgrim said she will send it to President Robert Brown.
Milgrim, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, created the petition to address the logistical and mental health challenges students and faculty face while adapting to the Learn from Anywhere model.
Milgrim said LfA fails to accommodate for the varied conditions students and faculty are under, such as home life environments, WiFi connectivity and time zones.
“We’re all dealing with different situations,” Milgrim said. “I think BU really needs to take that into account and to hold true to their promise that they will actually care about our mental and physical well-being.”
Her own challenges with mental health this semester made her realize the importance of bringing back the Credit-No Credit policy, Milgrim said.
She added she and her friends are not performing as well on midterm assessments as they had in previous semesters.
“We’ve been realizing that we can’t learn like we used to,” Milgrim said. “We’re all freaking out about it, honestly.”
LfA is equally challenging for faculty, Milrgim said, to no fault of their own.
“A lot of professors are still trying to figure out how to work in Learn from Anywhere, so I would say our class quality is not very ideal,” Milgrim said. “I really think we should be given some leeway for that, because how are we expected to act normal right now?”
Katie Yao, a senior in the Sargent College of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, said she is facing unforeseen detractors from staying home during LfA. She said Credit-No Credit acts as a contingency plan, not an excuse to put less effort into work.
“I wouldn’t say I’m entirely struggling,” Yao said. “The home-learning environment is not the best. I didn’t anticipate my neighbors to be partying daily.”
A possible solution to this problem, CAS sophomore Abby Hagen said, is to give students “agency” over academics through approving the petitioner’s request.
“Boston University’s No. 1 priority should be to help with academic success and mental health success of their students,” Hagen said. “So, listening to the students that have put their names on a petition is definitely something that they should consider.”
Milgrim said BU needs to better connect with students by taking a more direct approach to communication, in addition to offering opportunities for them to submit feedback.
“It seems almost impossible to reach anyone these days,” Milgrim said. “The reason that I have to make this petition is because I don’t feel like they’re listening to us at all. I don’t feel like there’s a way for them to listen to us.”
BU spokesperson Colin Riley did not respond to multiple requests for comment.