University of Southern Maine Partial Tuition Reimbursement for COVID-19 Online Curriculum

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We, students of the University of Southern Maine, urge the administration to partially reimburse student tuition for the Spring 2020 Semester. While we recognize and understand that the move to online classes was a necessary step to secure public health and safety due to the unexpected COVID-19 pandemic, we did not sign up for an online curriculum and should be partially reimbursed for art studio fees, and the difference in tuition between online and physical classes for half the semester. 

In requesting this reimbursement, we recognize that the following need to be acknowledged and taken into consideration:

  1. Online classes do not meet the learning modalities of all students.
  2. Online classes are not accessible for all students as it does not take into account access to internet or computers.
  3. Online classes cannot replicate experiences of those in the art department who rely on studio spaces, techniques, and technical equipment to learn their skills.
  4. The offer of a P/F grade system in place of a traditional letter grade does not wholly take into account the individual experiences of students. Additionally it does not reward for successful achievement and yet still penalizes for failure as shown in GPA calculations.

Again, we understand that the move to online classes was a necessary step to guard public health. However, in doing so, the quality of our classes and learning experiences will be diminished. We want to learn and to stay safe, but we implore USM to consider the repercussions of this step. USM needs to issue a partial tuition reimbursement that covers the difference between online and physical classes, studio and activity fees for the remainder of the semester.