Dear Chicago-Kent Faculty Members and Dean Krug:
We are writing to make one final argument for a mandatory P/F grading policy as the pandemic is evolving and more information is available now. The shifting balance between the decreasing power of letter grades to measure learning and the increasing community efforts to mitigate a P/F grading on job prospects favors a swift policy change.
Chicago has become one of the epicenters of this crisis, characterized by its low testing but high growth in confirmed COVID-19 cases. We see more and more families and students are affected very significantly by the pandemic everyday, and it is projected to get much worse in coming weeks. Thus, It is increasingly unlikely that any attempt to provide a letter grade a month from now will be able to measure student’s learning and efforts. Instead, such letter grades will become a measure of students’ fortune of escaping the effects of the crisis. Many of our diverse students with less resources and more family responsibilities are most likely to be disfavored by the current grading policy as the crisis is worsening by the day.
On the other hand, the concern of a mandatory P/F grading’s perceived impact on job prospects has been lessened significantly by the outpouring of support from the legal community. A vast majority of law schools across the nation have moved to mandatory P/F grading, including local law schools such as Northwestern and Loyola Chicago (see the complete list grading policy change here). Furthermore, many law school career offices have worked with firms to successfully move their OCI events to a later time so that getting letter grades in spring is no longer significant for 2L summer jobs (see the complete list of OCI change here). We are confident that our career office team who is working tirelessly around the clock will be no exception.
Chicago-Kent has been committed to fostering diversity for more than a hundred years since its inception. We are hopeful that the school will acknowledge the disparate impact on diverse students by this pandemic, and adopt a mandatory P/F policy. Knowing this health economic and emotional crisis is far from reaching its peak, we believe it prudent to err on the side of equity and compassion.
Yilun Hu, Juan Luo, Zhangyuan Ji
Chicago-Kent China Law Society E-Board
April 1, 2020