MSU CVM c/o 2023 & 2024 Tuition Reduction

MSU CVM c/o 2023 & 2024 Tuition Reduction

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Caitlin Osborne started this petition to MSU Board of Trustees and

To the Board of Trustees,


      On behalf of the Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine Class of 2023 and 2024, we formally request our concerns be taken seriously and tuition reimbursement be applied for both classes while virtual learning is ongoing or as it continues during our professional program. After receiving word of former hybrid classes being moved to online only, multitudes of overwhelming concerns have impacted the daily lives of students in the College, and will continue to do so for the remainder of our semester, progressing education, and during our future careers as veterinarians. MSU CVM is a highly respectable institution, ranking as one of the top three veterinary schools in the country and the number one veterinary school in the Big Ten in 2020 (QS World University Rankings). If you value our intellectual work and futures as doctors, as well as the current ranking of this college as one of the top professional schools in the country, we should not be expected to receive doctorate degrees online while paying the same amount for an in-person education, as it does not offer the same learning experiences and interpersonal skills we would receive while learning hands-on. Due to unforgivable financial turmoil this pandemic has brought upon each one of the members of our classes, we formally request 30% of our tuition be reimbursed for all of our online education. This college values and realizes hands-on learning is crucial to upholding the university's values of education. These include innovation, leadership, excellence, accountability, and integrity, none of which are being currently upheld. We call upon not only the College of Veterinary Medicine’s values but also the values of Michigan State University as a whole to reassess the tuition being asked of us.

 

The voices of students who attend this university matter, the future and reputation of this university depend on their students’ well-being and quality of education. I would like to highlight Article 1.5.3 of the Graduate Student Handbook has been violated. This article states, “Student rights and responsibilities shall be made public in an appropriate manner.” The decision to go online was made 4 days into the semester and most definitely was not done in a timely manner. The decisions made also violate Article 2.3.3, which states, “Each graduate student has the right to receive accurate information concerning the future of their program.” In actuality, this administration has no clear plan for the future. We were not given transparency about the progression of our education after this decision was made without our input. Finally, Article 2.3.12 states, “Graduate students are protected from personal exploitation by administration.” Since we have not been provided with written documentation of how our tuition is being spent during these dynamic times,we are unable to ascertain whether or not we are being exploited. Since we are unable to currently practice crucial technical skills necessary for being day-one ready licensed veterinarians, we know the tuition amount we are currently paying is unfair and unreasonable.


 In regards to changing the current program due to current circumstances, according to Article 2.4.5, each department should establish procedures for altering individual student programs that have been approved in accordance with the provisions of Section 2.4.2.1 that graduate students shall be involved in developing these procedures. This leads to a breach of Article 6.1.2 which would allow graduate student representatives to participate as voting members on all policy-making committees at the departmental, school, program, and college levels that are directly concerned with graduate student affairs. The school has shown a blatant disregard for their own policies by making policy decisions without consulting the governing bodies of each class. If the school cannot be trusted to uphold their own policies, it is not out of line to demand to see where our tuition is now being allocated to.


      Almost any individual is able to take college classes and learn from a computer, but we did not apply to this program to sit behind a screen. We are professional, hands-on, visual learners who must develop physical proficiencies and skills to be able to graduate and succeed in this field. The curriculum change to MSU CVM has not only brought upon this university a group of diverse, intelligent, creative thinkers, but was supposed to be entirely hands-on and in-class discussion-based learning. The development of the Clinical Skills Laboratory, which involves live small and large animal training and handling, and anatomy and histology laboratories which are now considered the epicenter of this valued college's new curriculum plan, instead of lecture-based, classroom style learning. This change and perspective to our learning styles and degree should be reflected in our tuition amount. Since we are unable to apply any of our knowledge toward professional skills we must know and perform in practice as licensed veterinarians, we feel as though the tuition amount we are currently paying is unfair and unreasonable for students obtaining their doctorate degree. 


Where tuition finances are being spent is most concerning to both classes. We are no longer allowed to be on campus or in the College of Veterinary Medicine buildings for any reason. If there are no students able to go inside the building for fall semester, we should not be held accountable for the same rate of tuition. We are not physically in any MSU owned buildings, and therefore we are not using electricity, equipment, resources, laboratories, or requiring any additional clinical skills or laboratory personnel to teach us. We understand the great burden it takes to move classes online, but due to unused space, resources, microscopes, laboratory equipment, and personnel, we take the handling of our money very seriously. While we recognize undergraduate students are also online, undergraduate versus graduate and professional education are very different in terms of class content, organization, and material required. Veterinary school is required to prepare myself and my classmates for our future careers as doctors. Many of us recognize that we are not being adequately prepared to be veterinarians. In addition, the Michigan State University Veterinary Medical Center Teaching Hospital has recently lost a number of expert clinicians due to the circumstances of this pandemic, including specialists who are also professors. Seasoned clinicians with years of experience are no longer able to teach us valuable information which is crucial for our upcoming clinical years and futures as Doctors of Veterinary Medicine. For these reasons, our DVM classes call upon the values of Michigan State University to reassess the tuition being asked of their graduate students.


      This recent change for both classes of 2023 and 2024 was brought upon us after all academic finances were taken into consideration and paid for, including tuition, parking passes, re-signing of leases, buying homes, moving expenses, airfare expenses, pet expenses, and more financial sacrifice than one could possibly imagine. Both classes are more than displeased about the way this situation was handled. Many of us will graduate with over $400k in debt and our financial burdens weighing extremely heavy. We are severely hurting both mentally and financially during this time. This profession has had an alarmingly increased rate of suicide within the past five years due to compassion fatigue, imposter syndrome, depression, and increased financial burden due to student loan debt. We are reaching out because we strongly believe our tuition must reflect the current circumstances we are facing, while expected to maintain the same standard as in-person learning. We are demanding a refund in tuition by 30% for the Fall 2020 semester and Spring 2021 semester if classes continue to be online for the classes of 2023 and 2024. We also wish to formally request a refund of 30% in tuition costs applied from the Spring 2020 semester when classes were held online for the class of 2023, as violation of the Graduate Student codes presented in this petition. 


The future of our professional careers, public health, further clinical research, our patients' health care and well-being, and the future of veterinary medicine are depending on our ability to be knowledgeable and skilled veterinarians. The changes which have taken place due to the COVID-19 pandemic have put this at risk and we demand rightful financial compensation and recognition for the enduring financial and mental struggles we continue to face. 

Sincerely,

Michigan State University College of Veterinary Medicine Classes of 2023 and 2024

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