Once upon a time, circa two or three weeks ago, we labored under a fatal misapprehension. We’ve held onto this theory for years. It went something like this: In the face of a true crisis, Americans would quickly separate the wheat from the chaff. We would suddenly see how silly some of our 21st century concerns really were. Idiotic causes like identity politics, intersectionalism, trigger warnings, safe spaces, hate hoaxes, and all forms of social justice warriorism would fall by the wayside, replaced by common sense, patriotism, and seriousness.
How wrong we were.
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus in the United States, we’ve seen national politicians harass the public for refusing to eat at Asian restaurants. We’ve seen Washington reporters press President Donald Trump about his use of terms like “Chinese virus.” We’ve seen hand-wringing stories about how the pandemic might force transgender people to delay their sex change surgeries.
And now, at Harvard, Yale, and other Ivy League schools, we’re seeing students insist that, due to the trauma of the coronavirus outbreak, they should all be given A’s for the sake of “equity.”
“Students are too burdened by sickness, hectic home lives or living thousands of miles away from the University to devote the same level of attention and focus to their classes as they otherwise would,” wrote student Eileen Huang in the Yale Daily News.
Huang and others are pressuring Yale to move to a “universal pass” grading system as classes move online during the epidemic.
Look, we would certainly tend to agree that students actually suffering from the coronavirus should be given special exemptions. Same goes for students whose families are suffering from the illness. But let’s be straight up, here: The vast majority of these students are not affected by this virus in any tangible way that’s any different from the rest of America. Indeed, they are more fortunate than most, insofar as they are largely very well off, and their studies can easily be conducted online.
But then, pressuring colleges to move to a “universal pass” system is only the tip of the iceberg. At Harvard, a collection of students wants the school to mandate that all grades be either A or A- for the duration of the pandemic.
“We need letter grades for certain classes,” says a Harvard petition that has attracted more than 500 signatures. “Many students rely on grades to show how they have improved academically.”
But how would blanket A’s for everyone show that…?
In comments to the Harvard Crimson, student Denisse Carrizales said, “A lot of these students still want to attend a competitive graduate school or a professional school.”
And therefore should be given an automatic A?
How bad can your entitlement complex get?