Faculty Decision on JD Grading Policy Change -- Spring 2020 Term

March 24, 2020

To the UofA Law Community,

After careful consideration of your wide range of thoughtful comments, and discussion of the complex decision and implications of any policy choice at this time, the faculty has approved mandatory pass/fail for all JD students for the Spring 2020 term.

The faculty recognized the thoughtful and valid arguments on both sides of this issue.  We all respected the wide range of views, and the full text of comments from students were shared with the entire faculty to review.  Thank you to everyone who wrote or otherwise expressed your views.

Any policy change has many implications.  Many students, staff and faculty have already noted some of the questions raised by a move to mandatory pass/fail.  Others will come into focus moving forward.   

Among other topics that are central to our community conversation, and now going forward, we will work with you to communicate clearly to employers the extraordinary nature of this change.

Dean Brooks and Dean O’Grady will take the lead in working on adjusting individual bylaws to eliminate or minimize burdens on most students.  They will also work with individual students since the range of issues, as flagged in individual notes and conversations, is quite varied. 

The graduate law degrees other than JD (the LLM, MLS, SJD and MPS) raise distinct issues, apply to fewer in-person students, and are differently regulated, and decision on the grading policy for those students will be made as soon as possible.

Again, our deep thanks for the respect and reflection that this important policy change called for, and that this community embodies.

Marc