Student Board Request: Revision of CUNY's Fall 2020 Policy in Light of Academic Equality

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       In light of the unprecedented global pandemic, COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2), which has forced practically everyone across the world to acclimate their lives accordingly, one demographic has been impacted tremendously. That being students, mostly all of those seeking higher education, but particularly those from underrepresented communities that do not have immediate access to the most up to date technology required for remote-learning

       As of the close of the 20th day of November 2020, the City University of New York (CUNY) system has implemented and is strictly enforcing a policy that prohibits students from exercising their right to the Credit/No-Credit policy ( CUNY implemented this policy during the initial March transition to virtual learning. At first, students were allowed to apply the Credit/No-Credit right to any course with no deadline or restrictions. But due to recent changes, this policy does not allow students to exercise this right towards courses that fall under program wide-restrictions and includes a deadline as well.

       Although something like this in almost any given instance is understandable, many students are struggling with not just keeping up with academics, but mental resolution, family affairs, and other events that need not be disclosed. Despite this, these dedicated and disciplined individuals are continuing to do their best to learn virtually, regardless of the struggles they face. Policies like this will hinder students in their job pursuits, given that most employers seeking college graduates are seeking a high GPA (3.6 on average for entry-level roles).

       Upon speaking with academic advisors and administrative staff, students were informed that they are "expected to have adapted to remote learning by this point in time." Thus was the reasoning behind the CUNY Administration's decision to prohibit students from enforcing the Credit/No Credit Policy to these courses. As respected, students are obliged to this. However, during many lectures, professors have apologized to students in regards to falling behind in responding to student's e-mails, stating that they are overwhelmed by the entire situation. Some professors also have apologized for their deliverance of their virtual lectors, some having stated that they are not comfortable with their remote lecturing environments. This has been a problem in particular for the Economics department at Hunter College. Given that many courses are behind in regards to the course outline, delaying exams and quizzes and delivering material that no longer corresponds with the assigned textbooks, which is another expense that students were required to pay out of pocket for.

       Also, academic advisors are not replying to many students' inquiries regarding registering for spring classes as well as this policy, and some have even been tardy or failed to attend scheduled academic advising meetings for which students allocate their time. Academic advisors are the only resource for most CUNY students, particularly freshmen. Due to the campus being closed, students are no longer able to navigate the buildings and speak with advisors in offices. Consequently, students face a conflict that many have never encountered before regarding the ability to gather vital information.

       The intention of this petition was not to complain about or slander the decisions and criteria that go into the CUNY system's policymaking, but rather to spread light and raise awareness on a conflict that faces hundreds of thousands of students in this unprecedented time. We, the students, ask that the policymakers please thoroughly review and reconsider their stance on the current changes that were enforced to the Fall 2020 CUNY Credit / No Credit Policy, preventing students from exercising this right to courses that fall under program-wide restrictions.