Fall grades: information and resources

Background

Some UC Santa Cruz graduate students have said they will not turn in fall quarter grades unless the campus provides them with more financial support to help defray the high cost of housing in Santa Cruz. Lack of affordable housing in Santa Cruz presents challenges for our students and for our community as a whole. We are actively working on short- and long-term solutions to address our students’ housing needs.

The campus is committed to ensuring that this illegal work stoppage does not impede students’ academic progress at UC Santa Cruz. The campus wants to make sure students are able to focus on studying and taking finals.

Final grades were due Wednesday, Dec. 18, and the campus is working to reduce or eliminate any impacts from grades being submitted late. Below are answers to frequently asked questions, a timeline, and messages to campus and graduate students.

Questions

Timeline

  • Nov. 7 – Graduate students delivered demand for a cost of living adjustment (COLA)
  • Nov. 12 – Graduate students hold a demonstration at the base of campus
  • Dec. 5 – Protest at Quarry Plaza cancelled
  • Dec. 6 – Graduate students circulate strike poll about holding an illegal work stoppage
  • Dec. 8 – Graduate students hold strike assembly
  • Dec. 9 – Graduate students notify campus of illegal work stoppage and rally at McHenry Library; UAW 2865 sends letter to graduate students informing them a strike is not sanctioned and violates their contract.
  • Dec. 10 – Graduate students rally at Humanities 1 Building

Campus messages

Students

When were grades due?

Grades were due on Dec. 18, 2019. The campus is working with faculty members to ensure grades are submitted in a timely manner. The campus is working to identify issues created by late grade submissions and to minimize or eliminate the impacts.

What if I was planning to graduate fall quarter?

If you have applied to graduate in fall quarter, your degree will still be processed for fall 2019. We will work quickly to process graduation applications once grades are reported.

What happens if I don’t have my final grades?

If you have a particular concern about the timing of a grade, please start by contacting your instructor about how the work stoppage may impact your class. Students who have questions that cannot be resolved by their instructor or department, should contact Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Richard Hughey at vpdue@ucsc.edu.  

Do I have to share personal information with my teaching assistant about why I need a final grade?

No, you don’t have to share personal information in order to obtain a final grade. If you have financial aid concerns, please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at finaid@ucsc.edu.

One of my fall quarter classes was a prerequisite for a winter course. Will this prevent me from enrolling?

Students with missing grades will not automatically be dropped from future courses that require completion of the course as a prerequisite. Satisfaction of prerequisite courses is in general not verified until after a final grade has been assigned. In some cases, faculty may administratively drop students whose work was below passing level based on grades reported after the beginning of the quarter or based on confirmation from a fall instructor that the prerequisite was not completed successfully (or based on another means of assessment if neither is available). This is to ensure that students do not remain in courses for which they are not prepared.

How will my final grade be determined?

Students should reach out to their instructor to understand any changes or adjustments in the determination of final grades. The campus has asked chairs to make themselves available to instructors to help them make decisions regarding final grade assignments and address situations that may impede the submission of grades.

I’ve heard that students may receive an “incomplete” grade even if they completed the work. Is that true?

No, it is not true. Incomplete grades should only be assigned by the instructor of record when requested by the student, and when the student has completed work of passing quality, but the student’s work is not yet complete.

What should I do if I am on financial aid probation and needed certain grades fall quarter in order for financial aid to disburse in winter?

Students with a financial aid contract or probation received information from the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office. If their grades are not reported, they should contact the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office at finaid@ucsc.edu.

If I’m on academic probation and need to earn certain grades fall quarter, what will happen if my grades are not reported?

Students will receive a message from their college indicating the next steps prior to the campus’s closure beginning on Dec. 24. If students have questions about their specific case, they should contact their college advising office.

Will my athletic eligibility be in danger because of the illegal work stoppage?

UC Santa Cruz will provide a temporary waiver from satisfactory progress requirements to any student athletes who do not have all their final fall quarter grades because of the illegal work stoppage. Once grades are submitted, the student athlete's academic compliance will be reviewed and evaluated for eligibility standards as usual.

Faculty

What are the options for managing the assignment of the final grade?

The campus has asked department or program chairs to make themselves available to instructors to help them make decisions regarding final grade assignments and address situations that may impede the submission of grades.

How do I steward all student assignments?

UC Santa Cruz has asked faculty members to support our students as we conclude the quarter by being present to proctor final exams and, to the extent possible, collecting and stewarding all student assignments.

Instructors are advised to request any course materials held by teaching assistants. Instructors may consider collecting final examinations after they have been completed, such as through organizing on-campus group grading,

Participating graduate students have been asked by strike leaders to remove information related to grading from Canvas, keeping records of their own but not allowing it to be used by instructors of record. Instructors should export a copy of their grade book to ensure they have a copy of information that will allow them to grade. The Gradebook History function in Canvas provides a record of modified grades. Faculty Instructional Technology Center can be reached at canvas.help@ucsc.edu.

What if I need help grading?

In preparing your final assessment, be aware that teaching assistants, readers, and tutors may not be available to assist with grading. To ensure smooth functioning of critical processes such as academic standing review and graduation, grades are due on Dec. 18. Any potential delays should be discussed with your department chair or college provost. The Office of the Registrar will provide access to a web form to departments and colleges to enter, by course, any adjusted timelines for submitting final fall grades. The Office of the Registrar will communicate grading delays to colleges reviewing students subject to disqualification based on grades. In specific cases, colleges may follow up with instructors regarding course performance.

Should I enter an incomplete (I) for missing or delayed grades?

No. Grades of incomplete (I) should not be used as a substitute for grades that are delayed by the illegal work stoppage. In accordance with Senate regulations, incomplete grades should only be assigned when individually requested by the student, and when the student has completed work of passing quality, but the student’s work is not yet complete. An incomplete, as a grade, will cause the student to be dropped from any future courses that require completion of the class as a prerequisite. While advocated by the wildcat strike leaders, incomplete grades should not be assigned unless the normal requirements for assigning an incomplete are met.

What happens to students if they don’t get a grade?

It depends on each student’s situation. A student planning to graduate needs to have final grades so that their graduation application can be reviewed. A student applying to graduate school or a job may need a complete transcript. Some students on financial aid may have aid disbursement delayed until all grades are finalized.

How are prerequisites checked when there are no grades?

Students with missing grades will not automatically be dropped from future courses that require completion of the course as a prerequisite. Satisfaction of prerequisite courses is in general not verified until after a final grade has been assigned. In some cases, faculty may administratively drop students whose work was below passing level based on grades reported after the beginning of the quarter or based on confirmation from a fall instructor that the prerequisite was not completed successfully (or based on another means of assessment if neither is available). This is to ensure that students do not remain in courses for which they are not prepared.

What if this strike impacts accessibility accommodations?

Faculty are directed to contact their department in cases where absence of an Academic Student Employee (ASE), such as a teaching assistant, reader, or tutor, would impact DRC-registered testing accommodations, in which case the department should ensure non-ASE personnel are available to provide the necessary accommodation, or work with the instructor on alternative strategies. As always, for questions about DRC-related accommodations, please contact Rick Gubash (email: rgubash@ucsc.edu; phone: 831-459-2089).

General

Why is this work stoppage illegal?

UC Santa Cruz graduate students employed as academic student employees are currently represented by the United Autoworkers and under a contract that was ratified in 2018.

The University of California’s collective bargaining agreement governs the terms and conditions of employment for readers, tutors, teaching assistants, and graduate student instructors. This contract, including its rights and obligations, applies if a graduate student has an active appointment in one of these positions.

Under the terms of that agreement, academic student employees cannot engage in any strikes, work stoppages, interruptions of work, or any activity that directly or indirectly interferes with university operations while a contract is in place. Withholding grades is direct interference with the university’s operations and a violation of the collective bargaining agreement.

Any action taken by a reader, tutor, teaching assistant, or graduate student instructor to withhold or intentionally interfere with work as defined in their description of duties form attached to their appointment letter is cause for docking pay and employee discipline, up to and including termination. These contractual aspects are independent from the behavioral standards in place in our Code of Student Conduct.

The university is committed to ensuring that all people may exercise the constitutionally protected rights of free expression, speech, and assembly. The right of free speech in a university includes the right to acts of peaceful dissent, protests in peaceable assembly, and orderly demonstrations.

It is important to know that these rights are subject to restrictions based on time, place, and manner rules, and a violation of these rules may lead to discipline. For example, UC policy does not allow expressive activity to disrupt the regular and essential operations of the university, such as our ability to offer classes, administer exams, carry on research, or run the university in general, or block or impede ingress to or egress from the campus or buildings.

Why won't the University meet with the striking graduate students?

The grade strike is unsanctioned by their union and the striking graduate students are working outside of the union in making demands of the University. Labor law prohibits this direct dealing between employees and their employer, which excludes employees' lawfully recognized union. The University has responded to striking graduate students explaining this issue.

What did the 2018-2022 contract include?

Highlights of the agreement with academic student employees include:

  • Wages: Annual wage increases of 3 percent for the next four years, beginning Oct. 1, 2018.
  • Child care: A child care subsidy of $3,300/year ($1100 per quarter/$1650 per semester).
  • Fees: Effective Jan. 1, 2019, $300 per academic year for campus fee remission ($100 per quarter; $150 per semester). This is a new benefit for ASEs.
  • Sexual Harassment: Establishing a joint labor-management committee to address sexual harassment issues and training, and give ASEs a voice on this important issue.
  • Other:
    • A new contract provision that ensures reasonable accommodations for ASEs with disabilities, including an interactive process to determine reasonable accommodations to enable ASE’s to perform the essential functions of their jobs.
    • Improved lactation support, including secured and appropriately furnished private spaces and converting single occupancy restrooms to all-gender restrooms.
    • Process improvements and enhanced protections for unforeseen immigration issues, including a right to short-term leave for immigration hearing purposes.
    • Enhanced opportunities for the union to meet with new ASEs via mandatory UAW orientation meetings.

Why did graduate students call for an illegal work stoppage?

In early November, graduate students demanded that the campus provide an increased salary of $1,412 per month for each graduate student because of the high cost of housing in Santa Cruz.

Since the beginning of fall quarter, campus leaders have invited graduate student leaders to discuss how UC Santa Cruz can better support them during their academic career. Prior to launching the illegal work stoppage, graduate students had not agreed to meet with campus leaders.

While graduate students are under contract, we are unable to negotiate the terms and conditions of their employment.  We will not meet during an illegal work stoppage, but would be willing to meet with graduate student leaders after the work disruption is over.

Why won’t the campus give graduate students a $1,412 cost of living adjustment (COLA)?

UC Santa Cruz is unable to provide a COLA, which would be a change to the terms and conditions of employment, while graduate students are under contract.

We are working to find alternative mechanisms to help reduce the financial burden faced by graduate students in doctoral and MFA programs. Like other UC campuses, we are exploring multiple ways to better support graduate students including multi-year funding packages, lower-cost housing, and, as appropriate, increased fellowships.

Can local UAW leaders negotiate for graduate students across the system?

No, the local UC Santa Cruz UAW representative is not authorized to negotiate on behalf of all graduate students in the collective bargaining process or for employees who are not members of UAW. The University of California negotiated a systemwide contract with UAW 2865, a contract which spans the UC campuses across the state. To discuss terms and conditions of employment, our campus must work through and with the systemwide UAW 2865 organization; this is true even if our campus did not vote to ratify the agreement. Additionally, this contract applies to readers, tutors, teaching assistants and graduate student instructors —- not all graduate students.

Did administrators’ emails crash or did the campus turn off email accounts for campus leaders?

No, the campus email for administrators and for other campus users has been working normally. 

Is Kerr Hall closed? 

No, Kerr Hall continues to be open under its regular schedule.