What’s “fair?”

I’ve experienced many injustices, but none has frustrated and left me in equal bewilderment as the events leading to the reversal of a grade.

It all happened last quarter. It was for a general education requirement, a women’s studies class. Since our second section meeting, I had this gut feeling my T.A. just did not like me – couldn’t stand me, in fact. Every assignment I completed, I felt my grade was being skewed. By the end of the quarter, I had a borderline C, and passing the class came down to a take-home final, which was worth 30 percent of my grade. Of course, I had actually read and understood all of the course material, so writing a take-home essay would be cake. Several days later, I handed my final to my T.A., a smile on my face, satisfied with work I was turning in. Little did I know, behind his cheerful appearances were feelings of ill will.

I arrived home for Winter Break, high in spirits, only to find my grade is a No Pass. What the fuck? There is no way in hell my final was lower than a B. When Winter Quarter began, I e-mailed my T.A. requesting to review my final. He directed me to my professor, so I set up an appointment to discuss this during office hours. I met my professor for the first time, and she was polite – quite chirpy in fact. I requested to see my final and my grade breakdown for the class, and she informed me she had none of my work, as my T.A. had not sent her any of his graded material. She said she would request the material once again and will get back to me.

I allowed her two weeks and arrived to find she was discussing materials with her current T.A. I asked to see my final and noticed I’ve been graded a B-/C+. Still, this doesn’t add up, given the breakdown of my grade, I should have passed this class. With my final in hand, I tell her I still don’t understand why I am receiving a grade of NP. She told me I would have to return in 20 minutes, as she had important matters to discuss. I’m flustered, but tell her I will do so. I returned to her office, and lo and behold, we’ve run out of time – I would have to come back the next week.

I visited her two weeks later. We discussed why, despite my B-/C+ on my final, I still received a No Pass, and why I was still without a printout of my final grade. I was told my section attendance was a “one out of five.” I’m puzzled, because I attended and participated in every single section. I thought my section grade was intentionally dropped, so I wouldn’t be able to pass the class. My T.A. had the roll sheets to prove my participation, and I told her so. She wouldn’t budge. I told her I intended to involve third-party administration to arbitrate the dispute – she began to sulk. I leave dismayed, but not without resolve.

Regulation 25 from the appendix in our General Course Catalog states:

“The term grade assigned to an individual student […] may be challenged by that student on the grounds that the grade was based on an evaluation of the student’s work by criteria that were not clearly and directly related to the student’s performance in the course for which the grade was assigned.”

Later that night, I sent her an e-mail: “We discussed my grade breakdown verbally in your office hours earlier today, but I failed to request a printout of my grade breakdown… Please send me a copy of all my grades concerning your class, so I may review exactly how [my T.A.] graded my performance in more detail.”

The next day, I found my grade has been changed from an NP to a P. But trust me: Satisfaction did not come from the reversal of a grade.

We’re always going to encounter injustice in our lives.

Have the courage to stand up for what you believe in, and once your course is set… don’t look back.