Adjustments to Academic Policies for Spring 2020 Semester Due to the Coronavirus

In light of the extraordinary circumstances with the Coronavirus pandemic and its impact on students and faculty, the Charleston School of Law faculty, by faculty vote, has made adjustments to the Law School’s ordinary grading policies for Spring 2020 Semester only.  The faculty recognizes that no one solution will be satisfactory for everyone. The faculty made these adjustments after full and careful deliberation of options, and after considering student input represented by the SBA President. The faculty has worked thoughtfully to make adjustments that protect the academic program and to provide students with fair and compassionate options in this unprecedented time.

Here are the adjustments for Spring 2020 Semester:

Grading: For those courses that receive a letter grade, faculty will submit letter grades in the usual manner and will adhere to the mandatory curve for required courses.  For courses graded on a pass/fail basis, faculty will submit these grades in the usual manner as well.

After all grades for the Spring 2020 semester have been posted, students may elect to retain their spring semester grades or to replace all passing grades with the grade of “P.” Students may not opt to take some courses pass/fail and others for a grade.  The option is an “all-or-none” option. Professors will not know which students have elected the pass-fail option unless the student chooses to disclose it to the professor after final grades have been issued.

  • Students must make this election within five business days after the posting of their last course grade for the Spring 2020 semester.  This election is final and may not be reversed. Students must use the appropriate form for this election; the form will be made available at the end of the semester.
  • Should a student choose the pass/fail option for Spring 2020 semester courses, those credits that would otherwise have been letter graded will not count towards the maximum number of pass/fail credits a student is allowed to use towards the number of credits required for graduation.

GPA Calculation: Students will have their GPAs calculated based on all graded credits.  As is the current policy, Pass grades are not calculated as part of a student’s GPA.  Failing grades, however, are calculated into a student’s GPA.

Proficiency Requirement for First-Year Students: A first-year student’s letter grades will be used to determine whether the student satisfies the Proficiency Requirement, even should a student elect the pass/fail option.  Proficiency for full-year courses will be determined by averaging grades for both semesters of the course. Students who have earned a C+ or higher in these courses may choose to take the remedial course as well.

For students currently on academic probation: Students who currently are on academic probation must raise their cumulative GPA to the good academic standing threshold by the end of Spring 2020 semester in order to remain in school.  Regardless of whether a student elects the pass/fail option for this semester’s grades, any probationary student whose cumulative GPA remains below good academic standing is academically disqualified and may petition the Academic Standards Committee for readmission.  Students who have been readmitted to the program after academic dismissal and are currently on academic probation may petition the Academic Standards Committee to remain in the program beyond this semester.

For all students: With the exception of the provisions explicitly altered herein, no other provisions within the Academic Catalog have been altered.  Students who are currently in good academic standing are encouraged to carefully consider their options before making an election for either standard grading or pass/fail grading.  In the event a student were to elect standard grading and his or her grades were to otherwise place that student on probation, the rules provided in the Academic Catalog remain in full force and effect.

Class Ranking: The law school’s class ranking policy can be found here: For Spring 2020 semester only, the class ranking policy is modified as follows:

  • First-year students: Only those first-year students who have elected to take ordinary letter grades for the spring semester will be eligible to receive a class rank at the conclusion of the Spring 2020 semester. Class ranks for those students will be based on the cumulative letter grade GPAs of all first-year students, including those who elect to convert their letter grades to pass/fail grades (for example: Student A ranks 20 out of 200, even though not all 200 students elected letter grades). First-year students who elect the pass/fail option for the spring semester can include their Fall 2019 GPAs on their resumes (with a notation that the GPA is from the Fall 2019 semester only), but will not be ranked until the end of fall semester of their 2L year (Fall 2020).
  • Upper-class students who elect to take ordinary letter grades will be ranked under the current policy. The cohort for ranking will include both the students who elected to receive letter grades for Spring 2020 and the students who elected pass/fail grading for Spring 2020 (see example above). Upper-class students who elect the pass/fail option will retain their rank from the Fall 2019 semester until the next grading period when class ranks are determined.
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