More than 500 Harvard University students have started a petition arguing against an online only fall semester, saying that postponing the semester is a better option, reported The Harvard Crimson.
“We call on Harvard College to postpone, rather than virtually begin, the fall semester if COVID-19 conditions prevent the timely commencement of on-campus activities,” the petition reads.
Sanika S. Mahajan, an organizer of the petition, said an email from Harvard administrators, that the university would reopen in the fall on campus or virtually, caused petitioning students to raise concerns about how changes to instruction will impact equity and grading, and affect those who have to travel internationally. The petition also raises issues to do with the challenges vulnerable students face in attending online classes from home, including limited internet access and possibly toxic or abusive home situations
“Harvard has long admitted that one of the most important factors in ensuring the richness of such an education is the diversity of its admitted students,” the petition reads. “Virtual learning, however, also threatens to tear the very fabric of this diversity by eliminating the equalizing force of campus life.”
The petition also expressed skepticism about Harvard’s remote instruction capabilities.