Briefing Room


Moritz Grading for Spring 2020

March 26, 2020 | College

From the desk of Dean Lincoln Davies
on Friday, March 20:

Dear fellow Moritzers,

As spring break comes to a close, I wanted to provide one additional update on the College of Law’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Today, the Moritz faculty voted, with wide consensus, to approve a recommendation from our Academic Affairs Committee to move to pass/fail grading for the Spring 2020 semester. In making this decision, the faculty expressed profound support and concern for our students and the challenges they face in these uncertain and changing times.

The Moritz faculty made this decision following significant deliberation. Both the Academic Affairs Committee and the faculty evaluated a number of proposals for grading this semester, including student- or class-specific opt-in and opt-out variations, pass/fail plans with built-in exceptions, and the status quo. The Academic Affairs Committee and individual professors also surveyed students, and some students provided personal feedback.

We understand that there are some costs to moving to S/U grading, especially for students who have been working hard to improve their grades and those who have already completed some graded assignments this semester. But the overwhelming consensus of the faculty is that, at this difficult moment for everyone, there will be significant overall benefit to students of moving to uniform S/U grading. Throughout our discussion, the overriding theme was a deep sense of solidarity and amity for everyone who is part of the Moritz community.

The grading proposal that was approved applies to all students for whom the College of Law grants degrees (that is, J.D. and LL.M. students). We will coordinate with the Graduate School to determine a path forward for all Graduate School students, including MSL students, presently enrolled in law school classes. The grading change does not apply to courses in which J.D. and LL.M. students are enrolled outside of the law school.

Changes made pursuant to the new Spring 2020 policy are as follows:

  • All grading for J.D. and LL.M. law school courses for the Spring 2020 semester shall be on a Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory (S/U) basis (see Faculty Rule 9.10).
  • All letter or numerical grade requirements are waived and thus deemed satisfied by the receipt of an “S” grade in a Spring 2020 course.
  • Whether or not a student had been enrolled in any course on an S/U basis, the S/U grading in Spring 2020 shall not count against any student’s maximum number of permissible S/U graded courses.
  • All transcripts will be modified to indicate that Spring 2020 grades reflect the College of Law’s policy in response to the COVID-19 emergency rather than student choice.
  • Grades for Spring 2020 will not figure in any student’s cumulative merit point ratio. Spring 2020 grades shall also not be counted for calculation of graduation honors or Dean’s List recognition.
  • Professors are encouraged, but not required, to designate a CALI recipient for each Spring 2020 semester course.
  • The Order of the Coif has granted schools nationwide, including Moritz, a one-time exception from the national organization’s limits on S/U courses.
  • Students who needed to reach a certain GPA this semester in order to maintain good academic standing or to keep a scholarship may seek a waiver by contacting Dean Rose or Professor Carlarne, Chair of the Academic Affairs Committee. Provisions allowing for such waivers will be liberally construed.

At Moritz, we speak often—and we mean it—about putting students first. While there were a variety of proposals under consideration today, it was moving to see the core motive animating everyone’s thoughts: the desire for our students to succeed and thrive in every way.

As we move into the remainder of the semester, I would encourage everyone to continue to find ways to connect with each other. I heard deep commitment from every one of our faculty members today to do so with our students.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty, staff, and classmates by email, phone, or other safe means. We miss seeing you. We want to hear from you. And we want to help you through this challenging moment as best we can.

Be well,

Lincoln L. Davies
Dean & Frank R. Strong Chair in Law
Moritz College of Law
Drinko Hall | 55 W. 12th Avenue | Columbus, Ohio 43210
Tel: 614.292.0574 |