Dear Academic Senate Chair Palazoglu,
We write to you to express our frustrations with the UC Davis Academic Senate Executive Council and their failure to act decisively in response to the recent tragedies in our community.
We are grateful that the Academic Senate has agreed to “authorize and mandate emergency remote instruction for courses ending after 6:00pm until the Executive Council terminates the emergency remote instruction.” However, it is alarming that the Academic Senate tabled a motion to authorize instructors to adopt emergency remote instruction for all courses—a measure that would still not encompass the full scope of academic flexibility required by the student body—until next Thursday.
Earlier today we conducted a survey of the student body in order to gauge student need for academic flexibilities. Within one hour, we received responses from over 10% of the student body articulating their overwhelming desire for virtual instruction alternatives in order to alleviate the anxiety and to mitigate the safety concerns of the student body.
UC Davis students are justifiably fearful for their safety. In the last five days, there have been three brutal knife attacks in our city. As long as the perpetrator of these attacks remains at large, students are unable to safely travel to and from class. Both students and faculty deserve at minimum the option to stay home and attend classes remotely. We should not have to choose between our safety and academic success. The Academic Senate denied us that opportunity in their decision today.
As student leaders, we have done our part to ensure that our peers feel safe:
- We have consolidated the evening service provided by our student-run bus to reduce risk to student drivers while ensuring that students have safe, reliable public transportation to get home after courses.
- We have adjusted the hours at the ASUCD Coffee House to both eliminate evening shifts and allow all employees to take the bus to work rather than walking or biking.
- We have communicated with all ASUCD leadership to ensure that our over 3,000 student employees are not required to come to campus for non-essential duties.
- We have moved all evening meetings online to reduce the number of students traveling to and from campus after dark.
But the ASUCD Senate does not have the power to move this campus into a virtual mode of instruction. That power resides solely with the Academic Senate.
With nearly 3,500+ students (86% of those surveyed) stating that they feel unsafe attending classes during all hours of the day, the decision to limit a virtual mode of instruction effectively ignores the safety concerns of our entire community and student population.
We urge University Administration and Academic Senate to immediately take the following actions to ameliorate this crisis:
- Allow a remote learning option for all scheduled instructional activities until the suspect(s) are apprehended; and
- Extend the Pass/Not Passed grading option and late drop deadlines until the last day of instruction; and
- Mandate lecture capture for classrooms equipped with that capability so students can make the best decision for their own safety.
ASUCD President Radhika Gawde
ASUCD Internal Vice President JT Eden
ASUCD External Affairs Vice President Celene Aridin
ASUCD Academic Affairs Chair Megan Chung
4,320 responses as of 3:39 PM
97.9% of respondents expressed that they would benefit from hybrid learning options for their classes.
96.8% of respondents expressed that a suspension of attendance based grading policies decrease your levels of anxiety regarding current Davis incidents.
87.4% of respondents described themselves as feeling unsafe attending classes during the day.
83.9% of respondents expressed that an extension of the P/NP or Late Drop Deadlines help you feel less anxious about current uncertainties.
Student Testimonials Submitted to Survey
“Stabbings are unpredictable, just because they’ve been at night doesn’t mean they couldn’t happen during the day.”
“I have to walk to class every day. [During my] My morning classes it is still dusk out. I don’t feel safe whatsoever to leave my home. I also work on campus and feel scared.”
“I’m so scared to leave my apartment. I haven’t been able to sleep and have nightmares of sirens. I’m having panic attacks walking outside. I have exams and in person labs but I don’t feel comfortable attending at all. I’m also crying a lot because I’m so scared.”
“We went remote last January for a full month because of COVID, it shouldn’t take three violent stabbings to make the same decision right now. Please point out how quickly they moved us online last January if they bring up that it might be ‘difficult to implement’ or whatever.”
“I am terrified of going on campus let alone leaving my apartment. It terrifies me knowing that the killer is in the age demographic of students and could easily be on campus during the day.”
“Professors to be lenient with grading because although the killer may be caught, this is a stressful and traumatic event and will take time to move on from. The remainder of the quarter may be difficult to complete for many students.”
“Postpone quizzes/exams taking place this week until next week at least. Anxiety around this situation makes it extremely difficult to focus, learn, and study, so I will have to consider withdrawing this quarter.”