USG votes for the return of the pass or no pass option for fall 2021

The Undergraduate Student Government held a vote on whether to extend the pass or no pass grading option for this semester.

The Oct. 26 resolution passed unanimously.

The resolution states, “there has been an increase in students on campus that are suffering through the financial pressure of paying for school, supporting their family and supporting their individual needs to survive.”


The resolution also acknowledged the ongoing trauma students might being experiencing following multiple shootings this semester in which SIU students were victims, including the murder of Keeshanna Jackson.

Senator for University Housing  Zachary A. Martine said the last few months on campus have been rather eventful, and not in a good way.

“We had a loss of a student, and we had two more students that have been shot over the weekend,” Martine said. “In addition to that, I’m sure a ton of petty crimes have also happened, and things have traumatized our students.”

As an Academic Peer Advocate, Martine said he has a different perspective after talking to student’s professors about where they’re struggling.

“They [freshmen] have been pulled out of schools as juniors ,[and] never really got to finish maturing as juniors and seniors,” Martine said. “Here they are being thrown into the mix [of] University… [it’s] a very different environment.”

Martine said the pass or no pass grading option is popular because it takes pressure off students, but he sees a small downside to it.

“If you take passes on all your classes, you don’t have a GPA,” Martine said. “So you need to have at least one or two classes to be able to anchor your GPA.”


Senator for Black Affairs Council Regine Morgan said it’s important to give freshmen this flexibility because of the recent violence towards students, and to allow students time to adjust to campus life in person.

“Our students’ mental health is at top-most this year due to the campus violence and the COVID-19 virus,” Morgan said. “Especially from their background, [and] adjustment from being mostly remote and online until now.”

Morgan said because the majority of students have in-person classes, the pass or no pass grading option would give students a chance to adjust while still furthering their education. She said it will be just as useful to students as it was during the Fall 2020 semester.

“A lot of kids still hadn’t gotten used to learning online. That switch and change, it was really a lot for us,” Morgan said. “Coming in person, especially into college courses, I think it’s just as bad. We need it just as much.”

Even if the resolution isn’t passed, USG will still be ready to provide mental health and emergency resources, Morgan said.

“We’re going to be really strict on what we offer because a lot of freshmen don’t know,” Morgan said. “They’re just going through these issues alone.”

SIU Student Trustee Shaylee Clinton, a member of Counseling and Psychological Services, said she’s seen the mental crises students are going through this semester, and how the services offered at SIU are backed up.

“There just isn’t enough support for the amount of students that we have,” Clinton said. “Last time I checked, which was two weeks ago with CAPS, there is an 80 person waitlist.”

Students who want an intake appointment might have to wait until spring semester, so they’re still having to struggle with their mental health along with the stress of college, Clinton said.

“Counseling outside of the university costs lots of money that our students don’t have,” Clinton said. “COVID-19 has also put a huge financial barrier to a lot of our students, so this pass, no pass option is about giving them an opportunity to focus on their mental health and their future and their financial health.”

Staff reporter Jamilah Lewis can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @jamilahlewis. To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.