This petition aims to represent and underline students' interests and views regarding the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the academic experience.
First, we acknowledge and very much appreciate the fast implementation of all measures that allowed us to continue our studies online. We think that during these exceptional times no one is to blame for any inconveniences, and we understand that everyone has to adapt under these circumstances.
Secondly, we understand that every academic institution faces previously unknown difficulties and that it is virtually impossible to keep academic activities on the same level. However, we are convinced that we as students represent the weakest link in the chain and that we are the ones affected the worst.
Our academic experience consisted not only of the face-to-face lectures but was also shaped by the access to on-campus activities, resources, career events and networking opportunities as well as facilities such as meeting rooms and libraries. Apart from the fact that this substantial part of our paid services falls away, we also share the experience that the quality of teaching, which had been characterized by in-class discussions, activities and collaboration in groups suffers a lot amid the coronavirus outbreak. Eventually, we are convinced that the value of our degree reduced significantly, and we are striving for a compromise that is acceptable to both, the university and the student body.
In order to make it easier for you to find acceptable proposals we want to underline the following.
1. Many students are committed to new activities after June 2020 which cannot be canceled. Those students cannot simply return to campus at a later time.
2. The financial consequences of postponement of the third term would still be severe since students need to pay for additional accommodation, flights, and other living expenses.
3. The quality of the lectures, apart from the undoubted efforts of the professors, has greatly deteriorated with the switch to online tools as in-class activities and discussions cannot take place to the same extent and quality.
4. At this point there are clear restrictions on the supervision, feedback and use of opening hours with academic staff.
In our opinion it would be appropriate to offer the students the two following options to satisfy the interests of all students that find themselves in different situations with different constraints:
1. Postponement of the third term to another point in time, which is determined in close coordination with the student body, with compensation that reduces the burden of the additional costs due to accommodation, flights & living expenses.
2. Online completion of the degree with a significant reduction of tuition fee or other forms of compensation that make up for the limited access to university services (facilities, access to academic staff, etc.)
We understand the current situation is not easy for every party affected, however, we think that the students should not be the only party that carries the consequences of this exceptional event. We want to underline again, that we think that our university experience and the constraints we now experience do not represent the value of the full tuition fee.