A is for Audacity: New School Students Demand A’s for All Courses Regardless of Attendance After Protests

We often follow controversies at universities and there is an interesting one brewing in New York. Students at The New School are demanding A’s in all of their classes after a successful strike in support of adjunct faculty members. After faculty received higher wages and better health care, students are demanding that they should be given As regardless of attendance after participating in the protests.

In their letter of demands, the students “demand that every student receives a final course grade of A as well as the removal of I/Z grades for the Fall 2022 semester.” They added that  “attendance shall have no bearing on course grade.” They are also demanding refunds and tuition freezes. They also want the resignations of the school’s president, provost, vice president and the disbandment of the Board of Trustees.

There are a couple of disconnects in these demands. First, it appears that the strike for part-time faculty only started roughly a week or two ago — after much of the term was completed. (Some accounts say that the strike lasted three weeks). The first day of the Fall 2022 term at The New School began on August 29th. Faculty can offer additional time to make up for that disruption, but it is not clear why it should effectively negate the entire term.

Second, a more common response to long disruptions in courses is to offer students the option of securing pass/fail grades — not the awarding of A’s to everyone.

There is a reasonable demand for accommodation given the loss of classes and delay in the term. However, A’s are given as a measure of academic success. It would create the appearance that the students excelled in classes rather than simply registered for the class during a disrupted term.

In the end, for the school to yield to such a demand would shred any semblance of academic integrity. This is not like everyone gets a trophy in middle school soccer games. If the school treats grades as fungible and meaningless, it could find the same view attaches to its degrees.

59 thoughts on “A is for Audacity: New School Students Demand A’s for All Courses Regardless of Attendance After Protests”

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  2. But as per the reports, faculty can offer additional time to make up for that disruption, but it is not clear why it should effectively negate the entire term. The team are working to fulfill their requirements.

  3. Sorry I’m a couple days late to this conversation.

    I am a Big Ten university instructor in the twilight of my teaching career. This type of conduct is similar to what I have seen where I teach (albeit more on an individual basis as opposed to a global list of demands) and is part of the reason why I’m leaving academia earlier than I had planned. The few motivated, in-it-for learning, personally accountable students are not enough to compensate for the increasing whiny, entitled, dog-ate-my homework students. And don’t get me started on the topic of academic integrity / cheating.

    Unfortunately, the attitude of many administrators is we should be more concerned with student comfort than with producing an excellent product. When prevailing students attitudes are supported with weak administration who are more concerned with a student withdrawing their enrollment, you have a formula for academic disaster.

  4. Let’s see….the end game of this heavenly, stress free approach to education is: a nation/society of illiterate, brain dead jellyfish….totally feckless and helpless. As the old timer administrators, inventors, creators eventually die off, and as their legacies have been destroyed, monuments burned, etc, the strict totalitarian regimes of the world come out from behind the curtain of indirect influence, propaganda and merely take what they want. By this time, borders, language and culture shall have been neutralized. Private property shall be seized and all free choice will fall to the dustbin of the past. Good Bye, America and welcome, to the New World Order!

  5. It is not ‘communism’ nor is it ‘woke.’ It is the corruption of the system. I know of a ‘university’ whose top administration insisted on ‘correcting’ a professor’s grades because the students complained they were not getting As. They got As, the professor left the institution. Diploma mills are diploma mills, just as a rose is a rose . . . .

    1. Under American theory of freedom and self-reliance, it’s merit and only merit that matters.

      Communism imposes dictatorship to direct every facet and aspect of the lives of subjects and governance of a nation, including establishing the artificial success of particular individuals.

      Oh, it’s communism, Sweetheart!

      1. OK but looking around at the total system of opportunity, advancement and rewards in America, the evolving meritocracy is still riven with:
        1. the birth lottery (who your parents & grandparents are as a childraising unit)
        2. the quality of your local k12 school system
        3. the amount of criminal victimization / drug addiction in your immediate environment
        4. social networks are to a large extent racially-segregated; opportunity flows by who you know
        5. family-based wealth inheritance (acquiring wealth not earned)
        6. legacy set-asides in college admissions

        These are all challenges to be solved if we want to create a pure individual meritocracy. Don’t underestimate what this goal is up against:

        “I work hard so my children will have better lives” (meritocracy where the competitive unit is not the individual, but the family lineage).

        “Freedom of association means people will cluster into self-similar enclaves” (individuals and families choosing where to live and who to socialize with tends to keep social networks from integrating).

        “I have reproductive freedom” (It’s my call when to have a baby” / biological fertility is the only qualifier).

        “I have to make a living slinging drugs — who is gonna hire me?” (crime pays more than a real job if you’re willing to bear the risks).

        “The college depends upon alumni gifts” (money talks louder than their kid’s qualifications).

        What we have now is a hybrid meritocracy-plutocracy. People would have to give up freedoms to make it into a pure meritocracy. Let’s at least appreciate and defend the current level of meritocracy we have, and prevent its erosion. If not, we may see our surgeons and airplane pilots “fake it until you make it”.

  6. This is a representation and revelation of the incoherent fantasy and lie of nondifferentiation, impossible equality, and the tyrannical and oppressive dictatorship of communism, not dissimilar to irrational, deleterious and unconstitutional affirmative action.

    Fools hearken.

  7. JT:
    “This is not like everyone gets a trophy in middle school soccer games. If the school treats grades as fungible and meaningless, it could find the same view attaches to its degrees.”
    Now that the fool schools have banished “exclusivity” and ushed in his shabby cousin, “inclusivity,” undergraduate degrees should just be a cutout on the back of your morning ceral. My alma mater went from accepting 1/3 of its applicants (making it one of the most exclusive universities in Virginia) when I applied to now accpeting 77% of the applicants — and they brag about it.

  8. What’s the big deal. The plumber and the welder all want an “A” when they do shoddy work. Before long word gets around.

    1. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”

      – Henry David Thoreau

      Apparently, obedience is the penalty and most Americans are slaves.

      Now we’re getting somewhere.

      The entire American welfare state is unconstitutional including, but not limited to, matriculation affirmative action, grade-inflation affirmative action, employment affirmative action, quotas, welfare, food stamps, minimum wage, rent control, social services, forced busing, public housing, utility subsidies, WIC, SNAP, TANF, HAMP, HARP, TARP, HHS, HUD, EPA, Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Labor, Energy, Obamacare, Social Security, Social Security Disability, Social Security Supplemental Income, Medicare, Medicaid, “Fair Housing” laws, “Non-Discrimination” laws, etc.

  9. When spoiled children demand things, good parents say no. Saying yes only leads to further demands, resulting in further brattiness. Those individuals become unpleasant adults and everyone suffers because of the bad parenting. Weak-kneed university administrators have a similar role. They always say “yes” to the students’ demands, which is why they keep demanding more . . . and we all suffer as society becomes corrupted.

  10. This and more actions like this will further propel a college degree with increased velocity towards the dustbin of history. As the academic institutions continue to fail and as degree holders fail in their endeavors because of not receiving a proper education, many of these academic institutions will go belly up. The cost to students will not be worth the return on investment. How many employers will require an employment candidate to hold a degree in gender studies? What will have real currency as this society continues to crumble are real world skills from construction, plumbing to doctors and lawyers. The US will be come the “show me” country. What have you got to offer besides or instead of that framed piece of paper. To this end you will find many smaller education centers to midsized unaccredited institutions as well as more online learning. Educators tired of the bullying from woke administrations will continue to leave to become independent education contractors. Each individual student will be required to effectively display their skills at their chosen craft or art in order to succeed.

    1. Gravitating Upward: with Proof of One’self.
      Could be Solid; yet, odd—moving and prospering in rubble unrecognisable Real world of “Blade Runner!”

    2. Already seeing a shift to practical education. Which increasingly requires better education in the lower grades through high school. Computer literacy is nowadays a requirement in many trades, particularly auto and aero mechanics.

  11. I think they should get the A’s. After their efforts at extortion resulted in nominal success, they rightly concluded that their adversaries were sniveling toads, and are exploiting the opportunity. This is a demonstration of real-world skills. They should be rewarded –or expelled. And we all know what the University will do

  12. OT but related: my father in law is a psychiatrist and works at a clinic in CA, he sees hundreds of patients. Over the past several years there has been a shift in his patients from older people with domestic issues, to twenty-somethings who are suicidal *because they have to work*. This is all going to reverberate mightily in the future without serious attention and course correction, no pun intended.

    1. “*because they have to work*”

      I laughed out loud when I read that, but you’re right. As pitiful as it sounds, it is a serious problem.

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