Open Letter to the University of Alabama - UA Emergency Action Network

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Sam Badger
Sam Badger signed this petition

MISSION STATEMENT:

The UA Emergency Action Network is a coalition of campus organizations and individual members of the UA community intent on advocating for the needs of the students and workers of the University of Alabama. 


RESOLUTIONS:

The COVID-19 Pandemic has brought forth new challenges of equity, safety, and dignity. As a result of this crisis, the UA Emergency Action Network has brought forth resolutions that need to be met for the advancement of the intellectual and social condition of the UA community. This campus must embody collaboration, respect, and a culture of inclusivity; and thus, we require bold and impactful action in the face of adversity. With an understanding of the severity of the current crisis at heart let us keep true the words of the Capstone Creed “As a member of The University of Alabama community, I will pursue knowledge; act with fairness, integrity and respect; promote equity and inclusion; foster individual and civic responsibility; and strive for excellence in all I do.” It is with these motivations that we ask of The University of Alabama to stand with us and immediately enact the following resolutions:

 

(1)   The University of Alabama must appropriately refund prepaid services that have been disrupted.

(a)   Partial refunds for tuition must be granted to match the service students are receiving. The cost of tuition for the online segment of the semester should be equivalent or less than that of the online classes the University of Alabama provides through Bama by Distance.

(b)   The University of Alabama must provide prorated refunds for Housing.

(c)   The University of Alabama must provide prorated refunds for Meal Plans.

(d) The University of Alabama must not bar students from receiving refunds on the basis of receiving a scholarship and/or need based financial aid. 

(2)   UA must enact proper emergency safety measures.

(a)   The Student Care and Well-Being Emergency Scholarships must be more actively promoted through campus-wide emails and through social media platforms. Furthermore, it must receive increased funding of at least $1,000,000 for the semester to better help students with housing, food, healthcare, and internet accommodations. 

(b)   The University of Alabama must cancel in-person undergraduate and graduate orientation, and replace it with a digital alternative.

(c)   The University of Alabama must improve communication with the UA community through social media and emails. The University must provide leadership with organized weekly updates pertaining to the statuses of emergency resources, housing, academics, and other variables of the crisis as well as direct guidance on the severity of COVID-19 and proper safety responses.

(d)   The University must use its existing communication infrastructure to assess student and worker needs in collaboration with the UA Emergency Action Network. This will be done with a survey agreed to and reviewed by both parties.

(e)   The University of Alabama must provide virtual mental health counseling to any students that need it. The University can do so by increasing funding to its own internal infrastructure, by outsourcing this service, or a combination thereof so long as students have access to stable mental health services.

(3)   The University of Alabama must maintain responsibility for all its workers, as well as student employees, while also pressuring contracted companies to follow in the standards set below.

(a)   The University of Alabama must ensure employment security by freezing layoffs. Further, “zero-houring” must not be done without paid leave.

(b)   The University of Alabama must provide paid leave to all workers for the duration of the crisis.

(c)   The University of Alabama must provide healthcare to all workers.

(d)   “Essential Employees” must be given access to free childcare.

(4)   The University of Alabama must implement equity accommodations.

(a)   The University of Alabama must implement the AAA grading system.

(b)   The University must ensure all students have access to all new requirements to complete their courses in the online format, including internet, technology, eBooks, or any new course requirement, without any extra out of pocket expenses. Internet accommodations beyond Spectrum must be provided to those that cannot access it.

(c)   The University must make ODS accommodations for any students that require them. Instructors must regularly communicate with students to ensure these accommodations are being met.

(d)  The University of Alabama must give faculty members teaching online courses the training they need.

Our language is strong and urgent not to incite or disrespect, but to reflect the true severity of the situation. If we do not take bold action now, many people in the margins will be hurt. Our resolutions are not so much a list of demands as they are a baseline of actions the community needs in order to remain healthy, safe, and connected. If it is found that some of our resolutions are physically impossible to implement, then we are open to alternatives. However, we will not equivocate on making sure our classmates, professors, and workers are getting what they need. We hope this letter is the beginning of a dialogue, between UA Emergency Action Network and the University, and more broadly between all members of the UA community. Please reach out to us at uaactionnetwork@gmail.com.

Signed: 

University of Alabama College Democrats

University of Alabama Generation Action 

March for Our Lives University of Alabama

New College Council 

Sigma Gamma Epsilon Alpha Phi Chapter

University of Alabama Student Alumni Ambassadors 

The Student Civil Justice Coalition 

University of Alabama Students for a National Health Program

Student Writers Guild

University of Alabama Turning Point USA 

University of Alabama for Bernie Sanders 

Unite for Gender and Reproductive Equity University of Alabama 

Vegan Voices

University of Alabama Young Americans for Liberty 

University of Alabama Young Democratic Socialists of America