UCLA: Stop endangering us; let disabled Bruins learn remotely!

UCLA: Stop endangering us; let disabled Bruins learn remotely!

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Disabled Students Union started this petition to UCLA and

 

The Disabled Student Union, Teaching Assistants, and students/student-workers of UCLA have the following demands:

  1. All in-person lectures be live-streamed with students having the choice to go in person or attend the live-stream
  2. Not mandating in-person attendance for students and teaching assistants
  3. Providing recordings of classes for students with the modified attendance accommodation and for students with COVID-19
  4. Ensuring closed captioning (not auto-captioning) is accessible for all recording and live-streams as compliant with WCAG guidelines and ADA requirements
  5. Approving all TA (teaching assistant) and faculty requests to teach and hold discussion sections remotely


Disabled, immunocompromised, and otherwise concerned students and employees of UCLA deserve to work and learn under safe conditions. Anxieties abound as the delta variant of SARS-CoV-19 takes hold across the country, making both vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans ill. But UCLA is denying requests to learn and work remotely. The administration also refuses to implement hybrid course models that would allow for equitable access. In trying to adhere to their dangerous promise of nearly all in-person instruction, UCLA is putting all students at risk and failing to meet the needs of disabled students. 

Disabled students requested remote learning access for years prior to the pandemic; we were told it was too difficult and expensive to implement. The immediate switch to remote instruction in March 2020 proved that these accommodations were possible the entire time. Even without Covid, disabled students have difficulty making it to courses in person and/or have symptom flares that require them to miss class. It is not too difficult to accommodate this: UCLA already has the infrastructure for hybrid and remote instruction, via Bruincast and Zoom. It is essential that all courses utilize these tools to provide remote access so that all students can have equal access to education. 

The Center for Accessible Education at UCLA asserts that requesting remote learning accommodations can be denied if it "fundamentally alters the nature of the course." Apparently, any form of learning remotely “fundamentally alters the nature of the course.” If that's the case, then every class between March 2020 and June 2021 was "fundamentally altered” –– yet UCLA charged full tuition rates. Charging full tuition for this coursework implies that UCLA considered these classes equivalent to standard in-person work in quality and efficiency. There's no reason that that would not continue to be the case going into the 2021-2022 academic year. UCLA administration only sees remote study/work as reasonable if administrators feel unsafe––never mind the safety of high-risk Bruins.

According to UCLA’s Faculty FAQ document, "Classes cannot be changed to remote modality based on … generalized concerns about classroom ventilation or potential virus transmission … [or] immunocompromised or unvaccinated family members." In other words, even faculty hesitant to go in-person due to safety concerns are not allowed to conduct their courses remotely. This is a potential violation of OSHA and ADA guidelines.

Students have even less power: We're being told that after a full year of remote learning, it's suddenly too difficult to let us learn from home. Many of us are being denied remote learning accommodations, even for classes required to graduate. Or, the university advises students to drop out until the pandemic subsides. Both of these options jeopardize the education and livelihood of students on financial aid or scholarships. This also forces disabled students to delay their careers or graduate school, harming their earning potential.

UCLA is shutting out disabled students, faculty, and TAs in the middle of a pandemic. UCLA is prioritizing the goal of in-person instruction over protecting our lives. We deserve to learn and work where we feel safe: Tell UCLA to require remote access to ALL courses and approve ALL faculty requests for remote work!

 

 

0 have signed. Let’s get to 35,000!
At 35,000 signatures, this petition becomes one of the top signed on Change.org!