Resolution in Continued Support of SF State Students During COVID-19 Crisis

Resolution Number: RF20-408
October, 2020
Whereas: 
RATIONALE: SF State students face ongoing hardships and challenges due to the persisting health and social effects of the COVID-19 epidemic on the San Francisco State University community, including Chancellor White’s decision to continue remote instruction through Spring 2021, and the economic downturn exacerbating the housing and food challenges faced by many SF State students. The challenges and need for support have only intensified in recent weeks with the worst wildfires in the history of California. This unprecedented situation calls attention to the need for maximum flexibility to support the success of our students.
Whereas: 
the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic with its impact on public health, social activity, and the economy, constitutes serious and compelling circumstances in the lives of SF State students; and
Whereas: 
many students are struggling to complete their coursework in a remote modality due to, the need for access to technology and robust internet connections, and the impact on home and family life with so many people working and studying from home; and
Whereas: 
students should be given the maximum flexibility possible to make choices about the grading basis for courses; and
Whereas: 
the extended duration of remote instruction and the wide range of instructional approaches across instructors may make students unclear about the expectations for their courses and how their learning will be assessed; and
Whereas: 
remote instruction exacerbates inequities that already existed before COVID-19 and increases inequitable outcomes for Black, Indigenous, students of color, first-generation students, low income and other historically marginalized students; and
Whereas: 
equity has become more important now than ever before and can only be realized through the intentional efforts that include a culturally responsive approach to teaching, learning and student services; and
Whereas: 
University enrollment data indicate that a substantial number of students took advantage of the added flexibility and later deadline for choosing a CR/NC grading basis with five times as many students opting to change grading status in Spring 2020 (compared to Spring 2019) . Therefore, be it:
Whereas: 
1 Enrollment data retrieved from campus CS system by the Registrar.
Resolved: 
that for the 2020-2021 academic year, the Academic Senate requests that the CR/NC deadline be moved to 5 pm on the last day of final exams to give students the opportunity to make an informed decision about whether to choose the CR/NC grading option; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate requests that the Office of the Registrar move the date for opening grade rosters to instructors until after the deadline for selection of a CR/NC grading option in order to prevent grades from being locked in until students have had time to carefully consider their grading options; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate calls on all faculty to make grades available to students throughout the semester, be clear and transparent, and update information as frequently as possible; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate calls on departments and colleges to be as understanding as possible when considering petitions for incomplete grade contracts; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the Academic Senate calls on all faculty to make grades available to their students before the deadline to select a CR/NC grading option and direct their students to resources describing the potential impacts of a non-letter grade; and be it further
Resolved: 
that University communications and advising about CR/NC options and the newly implemented Withdrawal from courses policy (such as email messages and postings on University Web pages) be supplemented with additional advising materials making use of multiple modalities, including short videos and interactive advising activities that can be distributed via iLearn sites, advising Web sites and other channels in order to facilitate informed decisions in choosing a CR/NC grading basis or withdrawal from a course as options to respond to challenges during the remote instruction and the COVID-19 crisis; and be it further
Resolved: 
that faculty make efforts to reduce the end-of-semester stress associated with high stakes assessments this academic year, particularly at the end of the semester, by eliminating single-attempt examinations when possible and by following best practices for scaffolding large assignments and including credit for process stages of major papers and projects, and that advice for such instructional strategies be informed by CEETL; and be it further
Resolved: 
that the University and faculty, as far as practicable, extend the adjustments called for in this resolution to summer, 2021, in the case that remote education conditions are extended to summer sessions; and be it further
Resolved: 
that this resolution be distributed to President Mahoney, Provost Summit, University Registrar Landy, AVP for Faculty Affairs Mandolfo, College Deans, Department Chairs, School and Program Directors, SFSU CFA Chapter President Martel, and all faculty.