Student starts petition to extend pass/fail deadline

The petition, which asks Vanderbilt to extend the pass/fail deadline until after final exams, currently has 1,362 signatures

Simon Gibbs, Deputy Sports Editor

Vanderbilt sophomore Sarah Fishbein started a petition on requesting that the university extend its pass/fail deadline for students.  The petition – which was created on April 6 at roughly 2:00 pm CT – has 1,362 signatures and counting as of Monday evening.

Chancellor Wente first informed students on March 17 that in light of “extraordinary circumstances,” the deadline to declare classes as pass/fail would be extended from Jan. 17 to April 10. The decision was announced in an email after Vanderbilt student Cameron Sheehy created a petition on March 11 requesting the university allow students to move to the pass/fail grading basis. This petition garnered 1,284 signatures.

“I was personally very stressed about making the decision about whether or not to pass/fail my classes,” Fishbein said. “After talking to my friends, I realized that a lot of other people felt the same way. My friends not only agreed with me, but kept coming up with examples of different schools with better policies so I figured that it was worth a try.”

“We, as Vanderbilt students, feel as though this is extremely unfair and want this deadline to be extended to after final exams,” the petition states. “As of now, students do not have the information needed to make this decision, as many professors have modified their syllabi and are behind on grading. Extending this deadline would allow students to make a more informed decision once they have a better understanding of their standing in the class.”

The petition continues to cite peer institutions’ decision to extend the deadline further. The last day of Vanderbilt classes April 20, and final exams are slated to end April 30.

“A number of other schools including Carnegie Melon University, Lehigh University, University of Southern California, University of Michigan and Tulane University are not requiring students to make this decision until after final grades are posted. Other prestigious institutions, such as Yale University, have extended this deadline to the last day of finals while others, such as Cornell University, Princeton University, Duke University, and Georgetown University do not require students to make this decision until the last day of classes.”

“At first I was surprised at the support I received, but then the more I thought about it the less surprised I was,” Fishbein said. “I think everyone agrees that the April 10 deadline is both arbitrary and unreasonable because so much can change between April 10 and the end of the semester that would impact someone’s decision to take their classes on a pass/fail basis.”

The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment.