The CR/NCR victory is an important development for student rights at UTSC

Re: “SCSU’s Academic Advocacy campaign secures credit/no credit extension”

The CR/NCR victory is an important development for student rights at UTSC

The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union (SCSU) recently obtained a decisive victory through its ongoing Academic Advocacy campaign by securing an extension for credit/no credit (CR/NCR) options on courses. Compared to the previous deadline, which was two weeks before the end of the semester, the extension allows students to make a choice about whether they would like their grade in a course to appear on their transcript up until the last day of classes for the session.

The Academic Advocacy campaign has hinged upon making students aware of the importance of their academic rights, with posters and outreach extending across UTSC. Other changes the SCSU’s campaign are advocating for include the option of a self-declared sick note system, capping late penalties at five percent per day, and lifting the ban on laptops that is currently enforced in some courses.

Academic issues can be difficult to manage at U of T, with lengthy bureaucratic processes for academic appeals and petitions for re-grading coursework. It is even more difficult for students to navigate these issues during times of stress, such as while ill. However, following the recent campaign, it is reported that the SCSU has seen an increase in petitions and appeals this year, a possible reflection of the effectiveness of their current awareness tactics.

By advocating for the educational rights of students at UTSC, the SCSU is initiating an important dialogue. Many of these rules and processes are explained in syllabi or long documents on the university website, weighed down by heavy jargon and red tape. Some students are not aware of their options due to the inaccessibility of these documents, including the highlighted example of the right to refuse to use Turnitin, an online plagiarism checker.

As the SCSU continues to work towards its demands in its Academic Advocacy campaign, one would hope that this win is one of many to come for UTSC students in the fight for academic rights and accessibility.

 

Anastasia Pitcher is a first-year student at New College studying Life Sciences.

SCSU’s Academic Advocacy campaign secures credit/no credit extension

Students will now be able to Credit/No Credit a course until the last day of classes

SCSU’s Academic Advocacy campaign secures credit/no credit extension

The Scarborough Campus Students’ Union’s (SCSU) Academic Advocacy campaign has successfully extended students’ ability to credit/no credit (CR/NCR) a course until the last day of classes. The CR/NCR choice allows students to opt for a pass or fail mark rather than a percentage grade on their academic transcript in up to two full credits. UTSC students can currently invoke the CR/NCR up to two weeks before the last day of classes, but the SCSU’s change will enter into effect in academic sessions after May 1.

The campaign aims to advocate for the academic rights of students and make education and information more accessible.

The CR/NCR extension was adopted by the university after the campaign submitted a report, supported by a petition, that included the extension as one of its ‘asks and recommendations.’ According to the petition, students are unreasonably expected to estimate their academic standing two weeks before they receive all their grades, and many students end up making uninformed decisions.

Beside securing the extension of the CR/NCR option, the SCSU campaign has worked to make students more aware of their academic rights and what infringements of those rights are. According to Christina Arayata, SCSU Vice-President Academics & University Affairs, the union has seen an increase in the number of students asking for assistance through appeals and petitions this year. Arayata said this increase of student awareness is a result of the information that the campaign has been promoting. “Students have been receptive to the campaign, especially now that a victory has occurred,” said Arayata.

The SCSU is also currently advocating for the introduction of self-declared sick notes, a five per cent cap on late penalties, and lifting laptop ban policies in classrooms. Arayata explained that the university has been supportive and is interested in the recommendations and pilot programs proposed by the union.

Students can expect this campaign to continue well into the future.“Academic advocacy and accessibility has moved from just conversation to actionable items that can be improved, expanded, and developed,” said Arayata. “The topic of accessible education and advocacy must not stop — it is an ongoing movement that needs constant care.”