New rules for pass/fail class options

Vice+President+of+Student+Affairs+Mary+Jo+Gonzales+says+the+university+is+working+on+reimbursement+for+RDA+and+all+residence+and+dining+halls+will+remain+open.+

MICHAEL LINDER | The Daily Evergreen

Vice President of Student Affairs Mary Jo Gonzales says the university is working on reimbursement for RDA and all residence and dining halls will remain open.

AMAAN RAHMAN, Evergreen reporter

Editor’s Note: This article has been updated from a previous version, which had stated WSU would not allow pass/fail options. This was clarified in the story using the transcript of the teleconference, but if there’s any confusion about the process for applying for a pass/fail please visit the WSU Registrar’s Office website. Corrections to articles can always be emailed to editor@dailyevergreen.com, news@dailyevergreen.com or submitted through our social media pages. The Daily Evergreen apologizes for any confusion caused by this error especially during a time when students needs valuable, reliable information.

WSU administrators decided to add two withdrawals to students’ limit of 4 due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during a teleconference on Friday.

The university will also not transition into a blanket pass/fail grading system, Interim Provost Bryan Slinker said, during an online town hall meeting to address questions that have been raised about COVID-19.

He said students will have the option to move to pass/fail grading system if undergraduates choose but, there will be a process they have to go through. Students have until June 1 to make the decision.

Changes have also been made to the timeline for students to withdraw from classes.

“The deadline has been extended until May 1, the last day of instruction to consider withdrawal,” Slinker said. The number of withdrawals has been increased to six from the regular four.

WSU President Kirk Schulz applauded his colleagues and the students of WSU for their outstanding cooperation and understanding regarding the transition to online classes.

Schulz said he acknowledges the barriers of communication and confusion among the students and staff. He said WSU will actively update the COVID-19 page.

Slinker said the training given to faculty for the transition to online classes has gone well and congratulates the faculty and students for actively adapting to these new changes.

“Well over 700 faculty over the last two weeks attend multiple training sessions and it’s been very gratifying to see the effort,” Slinker said. 

Mary Jo Gonzales, vice president of the Division of Student Affairs, said WSU administrators will keep on-campus residence and dining halls open, as they acknowledge that many students have nowhere else to go.

“WSU is actively working on different reimbursement issues in regard to RDA and housing contracts, which was addressed in the email sent out to students on [March] 26,” Gonzales said.

She said that there will be no cancellation fees regarding housing contracts and WSU will offer different ways to refund RDA dollars.

“About three quarters want a refund, one quarter are choosing to get a credit, and there’s actually a percentage who are saying, ‘We want to donate our RDA,’” Gonzales said.

The Pullman campus will have its own live commencement possibly in August and so will the other WSU campuses, Schulz said. The commencement ceremony date for other campuses is yet to be decided.

Theresa Elliot-Cheslek, associate vice president and chief human resource officer, said WSU will start having 10-minute Zoom sessions on topics such as mental well-being, anxiety, exercise and various other topics. She said this is an effort to give people a break from just COVID-19 news and working.

Full WSU COVID-19 Town Hall

Phil Weiler, vice president for marketing and communications, addressed a rumor regarding 30 custodial staff being laid off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said administrators asked custodial staff to do extended and deep cleanings to make sure classrooms and other spaces remain clean.

Schulz said he encourages students and faculty to stay strong during this pandemic and have communications open for any new updates.

Faculty Senate Chair Greg Crouch tweeted Sunday morning that “ … All changes will give students more flexibility. Policy update should go out tomorrow.”