Passing privilege

Photo illustration by Joel McCarthy
Photo illustration by Joel McCarthy

Students campaign for ‘passing grade rights’

By Adam Tatelman, Staff Writer

A dozen angry protesters gathered outside the Concourse on June 16 to object to the unfair treatment of college students. Aggressively outspoken, they forced fliers into the hands of each passerby until almost everyone on campus carried a little white sheet of paper emblazoned with the slogan “I PAY, I PASS.”

They call themselves PayPass, and their byline is a strange one. Rather than advocating for more scholarship opportunities, lower interest rates on student loans, or more affordable tuition payments, these students are concerned with one thing—a passing grade. Fed up with things like absence limits and marking penalties for lateness, this new advocacy movement is growing ever more popular among failing students, all claiming for one reason or another that their circumstances prevent them from dedicating themselves to their schoolwork.

After persuading Abby, the leader of the pack, to stop screaming obscenities into her megaphone and take some time to comment, she said the following:

“I, like, paid to be here, so why do I have to fail if, like, my prof thinks I’m late too much? Why do I end up with, like, a student loan and no diploma?”

Suggestions of better time management were met with skepticism. “I have a social life, y’know.”

“You gotta fight for your right to party,” said Chad, a protester sporting a pompadour haircut, spray tan, pink polo shirt, and a popped collar. “I hafta work at IHOP all week, get an hour pump at the gym every day, and study for SportSci midterms. When the hell do I get any time to blaze it with my buddies and play some Black Ops 3? Get real, bro.”

Upon background inspection by the Registrar’s Office, many similarities were found between the supporters of PayPass. First, seven out of 12 were enrolled in psychology, sociology, anthropology, or philosophy (collectively referred to by faculty as the “combo-platter” for “students with no career plan”). All were graded between F and C+ by each of their professors, with reasons varying from sub-par work to repeated tardiness. Finally, three-quarters of PayPass supporters were found to have no outstanding student debt, their tuition having been paid for by parents or relatives.

When asked if the above trends were causal factors in the group’s decision to advocate, Abby and Chad said it had more to do with their relationship. “Things, like, haven’t been the same since midterms,” said Abby, “I hope we get, like, more time together if this works out.”