Students at the University of Florida are being encouraged to use a campus-crime app to report on faculty members who are supposed to be teaching face to face but aren’t. The move has sparked outrage among instructors who say it has created a hostile environment at a time when they’re working harder than ever to teach classes that can be attended both in person and online.
On Monday, the first day of the spring semester, D’Andra Mull, vice president for student affairs, sent a welcome email to students reminding them about Covid-19 safety protocols and testing requirements. It directed them to use the GatorSafe app to report on “inconsistencies with course delivery for your face-to-face or online courses, such as not being provided the opportunity to meet in person for your face-to-face class.” The email assured them that “staff will review every concern and follow up as appropriate.”
Faculty members, many of whom have been denied accommodations to teach online even as Covid-19 cases rage in the region, reacted angrily to the message.
“Many people are seeing different facts and parts of the story about what happened in each state,” wrote Kiron K. Skinner, the institute’s director and a professor, on Thursday to colleagues. “In many cases, there simply isn’t just one set of facts. A research project for some group of us would be to investigate on our own the election outcome in a handful of states. We could be surprised at what we find.”
Skinner, who served on President Trump’s transition team and worked in his administration in the State Department, sent this email and others just one day after a violent mob broke into the U.S. Capitol, spurred on by Trump and right-wing provocateurs falsely alleging election fraud.
No, there are no “different facts.” Trump lost. And anyone who wishes to be considered legitimate in higher education needs to state that clearly.
Stanford University has spiked plans to bring freshmen and sophomores back to campus for the winter quarter, a day after announcing that 43 students had tested positive for Covid-19 in the past week, The Stanford Dailyreported. That number was nearly four times the previous week’s case number.
In December the university had affirmed plans to bring students back, and last week some had begun moving in. But citing the strain on area hospitals caused by a ten-fold increase in county cases since the week before Thanksgiving, university officials said only resident assistants and students with special circumstances could stay.
The announcement expressed hope that juniors and seniors could return as planned for the spring semester. But officials cautioned that those plans “as always, are subject to the conditions of the pandemic.”
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