As college students across the country have chimed in regarding how they’ll be graded during this COVID-19-modified semester, some at the University of Virginia have gone a step further.
In a petition which currently has over 800 signatures, UVA activists want a “holistic” response to the coronavirus pandemic, which includes numerous demands of the school administration … with grading policy just a small part.
“UVA offers a social support network that many do not have outside of this institution,” the petition reads. “For many students, UVA is what stood between them and homelessness, poverty, food insecurity, unemployment, lack of holistic healthcare, and social isolation in hostile household environments.”
Despite the petition commending UVA for its efforts to date, it nevertheless issues its demands “to firmly call the administration […] to fulfill urgent and critically important gaps in its response to COVID-19.”
Students want UVA to
— Provide Non-Student Workers PAID Sick Leave
— Ensure Non-Federal Work Study Student Workers Continue Receiving Wages
— Provide a Prorated Rebate or Refund for On-Grounds Housing, Meal Plans, and Fees
— Provide Students the Option to Choose “Pass/Fail” for Each of Their Courses
— Provide Accommodations and Extend Assignment Deadlines for Work During the Transition to Virtual Instruction
— Provide Housing Options for Housing-Insecure Students and Community Members
— Postpone Final Exercises for the Class of 2020
— Offer Fourth-Year Students the Option to Stay an Extra Semester
— Provide the option to withdraw without penalty and reimburse students partial tuition
According to The Cavalier Daily, petition signatories include “undergraduate and graduate students, professors, local politicians, University staff members and Charlottesville residents.” The Daily notes the university has already addressed some of the petition.
A separate petition calls upon UVA to make spring semester final exams optional.
Petitioners expanded upon several demands in the Daily article. Under “Housing-Insecure Students” they point to a March 12 report which “calls for actions to ‘hold the University accountable’ and recommends various strategies that the University ‘could use to combat the adverse impacts by [the University] on the City.’”
Regarding course withdrawal, activists want the option (without penalty) due to students “experiencing heightened stress and impacts on their mental health as they struggle to process drastic changes to their lives and fear for their families and themselves.”