Topic

Colleges and Universities

1,045 petitions

Update posted 15 hours ago

Petition to Dr. Geert ten Dam, Dr. Jet Bussemaker, Mr. Ard van der Steur, Mr. Mark Rutte

Justice for Emily

-Important--------------------------------------------- The text below​ ​and​ ​the​ petition ​title​ ​above​ ​are​ ​the​ ​aftermath​ ​of​ ​the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​Amsterdam's​ ​petition tampering.​ ​To​ ​read​ ​our​ ​petition,​ ​please​ ​go​ ​to​ ​the​ ​link​,​ ​and​ ​please sign​ ​only​ ​after​ ​you​ ​have​ ​read​ ​and​ ​agreed​ ​with​ ​our​ ​original​ ​petition.​ ​Of​ ​course,​ ​you​ ​are welcome​ ​to​ ​read​ ​the​ ​tampered​ ​version,​ ​however,​ ​please​ ​note​ ​that​ ​the​ ​statement​ ​below does​ ​not​ accurately​ ​reflect​ ​the​ ​cause​ ​we​ ​have​ ​initiated​ ​and​ ​have​ ​been​ ​supporting. Likewise, the​ grammatical​ ​errors​ ​and​ ​the​ ​incoherent​ ​prose​ ​are​ ​part​ ​of​ ​the​ ​aftermath of the tampering,​ ​and hence​, ​do not​ ​reflect​ ​our​ intelligence ​or​ ​literacy​ ​level.​ ​Please​ ​be​ ​assured​ ​that​ ​the​ ​link​ ​to​ ​our​ ​original petition​ ​is​ ​included​ ​in​ ​the​ ​petition​ ​letter,​ ​and​ ​therefore,​ ​the​ ​recipients of this petition ​​will​ ​receive our​ ​original​ ​petition.​ ​Also,​ ​if​ ​you​ ​condemn​ ​the​ ​University​ ​of​ ​Amsterdam’s​ ​petition tampering,​ ​there​ ​is​ ​a​ ​bonus​ ​petition​ ​to​ ​demand​ ​the​ ​university​ ​stop​ ​petition​ ​tampering.​ ​Thank​ ​you. -----------------------------------------------------------     Disclaimer: This petition is about alleged psychological/verbal abuse of and discrimination against a rape survivor. It is not accusing the University of Amsterdam or its staff of rape or sexual abuse.   Highlights: A rape survivor alleged encounters abuse and discrimination The university dismisses all of her complaints  Soon afterward, the same professor impersonates the dean and sends a letter to the student forbidding her from conducting her graduation fieldwork project While she is appealing against the decision, the university invalidates all of her earned academic credits, stating she has made no progress in her graduation project Without her academic credits, she will lose her student visa and has to leave the Netherlands. Therefore, the university can circumvent the accusations altogether. Imagine you send your daughter to study abroad. One year later, she comes back with rape trauma without a Master’s degree. After spending three years overcoming her ordeal, she goes back to school to complete her studies. However, her past is held against her.  This is what has been happening to Emily (pseudonym). She is a Master’s student at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. Five years ago, Emily had to give up her studies and leave the country due to rape trauma. In September 2014, she went back to Amsterdam to complete her degree. She decided not to let rape define her or dictate her future. She started the semester just like other students and did not ask for any special consideration. She did not share her past with her classmates in order to have a normal student life. Emily was happy to be back and continued working hard to successfully complete her studies. However, in October 2014, the director of her program (the only person who knew her from the previous time five years ago), approached her in class and made impudent and condescending comments about Emily’s private matters and health in front of her classmates. A few days later, Emily’s thesis supervisor informed her that the director had excluded her from a project because of “a concern for her wellbeing,” and she had to choose another one from other available projects. Emily felt utterly violated; she was not expecting a stranger to bring up her private matters, let alone tell her what she was allowed to do or not allowed to do based on her personal painful past that she had never consented to sharing. Her supervisor stated “I fully sympathise [with] you feeling you’re not treated like other students and feeling offended by that. At the same time, however, I also understand that what has happened has not only shaped you, but also UvA staff and that they do give [sic, recte: take] previous times into account.” Emily was never informed of any conditionalities when she was re-accepted into the Master’s program. The following week, the director of the program informed Emily that she was now allowed to participate in the project she was initially excluded from since budgetary issues were resolved. Now there was an additional position available. Realizing that her private information was not only inappropriately used, but also was exploited as a pretext for budgetary issues, she emailed her supervisor. She confirmed that the issue was indeed an administrative matter, stating “'using your rape experience against you for the sake of money' is not an accurate description of the decisions initially taken. Monetary issues played their part, but only b/c, in principle, the project had space for only two students. I.e. a decision had to be taken considering three students were interested.” After the series of events: 1. being publicly humiliated, 2. having her trauma exploited, and 3. being completely stripped of dignity and personal autonomy, Emily felt as though she was raped all over again. She filed complaints for harassment, privacy violations and discrimination. She specifically stated that she had never consented to disclosing her confidential information, let alone having it assessed or used for arbitrary and unilateral decisions by faculty members who had no medical qualifications. She requested that the university rectify the issues and ensure her that it would never happen again. In response to Emily’s complaints, the director relentlessly brought up Emily’s untruthful “mental problems” and undermined her credibility. The director claimed that Emily’s professors and classmates had reported that she had been “easily emotionally agitated” and expressed their concerns about her mental well-being at the beginning of the semester. The director used this story to justify her action in class. She claimed that she was not aware of the details of Emily’s private information, and therefore, was not capable of violating her privacy. She also claimed that there had never been a decision to exclude Emily from the project. Emily’s supervisor likewise testified that she had never told Emily that she had been excluded, and denied there had ever been such a decision. The University of Amsterdam officially supported all of the director’s claims and dismissed all of Emily’s complaints. Emily did not know what to believe after being told that her professors and classmates, behind her back, had reported her “mental problems”, which she herself had absolutely not been aware of. Moreover, Emily’s another professor, who had nothing to do with the complaints, showed up at the hearing in support of the director, thereby taking a stance against Emily, despite repeated pleas from Emily that the university handle the complaints confidentially and with sensitivity. Emily was also very puzzled by her supervisor’s testimony, especially since she had always shown sympathy for Emily’s trouble with the director. Furthermore, when Emily expressed her concern about her complaints putting her supervisor in a difficult position at the university, she responded “I would have no problems whatsoever.” Because Emily fully trusted her honesty, she believed this must have been some kind of mistake, and decided to ask her about the testimony. Her supervisor refused to explain and dismissed Emily from her supervision. After that series of events, Emily felt as though everyone was against her, and nobody would believe anything she would say. She felt completely isolated, powerless, worthless and hopeless. When she finally talked with her classmates in June 2015, they were completely shocked and assured her that they had never reported anything about her to the director. They had not noticed anything unusual about Emily, and besides, they would not have bothered to report anything to the director even if a new classmate had come off as different. They were never informed of or consented to their “testimony” which they had never provided. They also agreed that it would have been impossible for professors to pay attention to and observe one particular student among more than 30 students and determine her emotional state during the first few lectures. They signed to confirm that they had never reported anything about Emily, and also wrote supporting letters describing her with words such as: conscientious, hardworking, friendly, passionate, responsible and kind, and called her someone with integrity, diligence, respect, intelligence and empathy, and strongly asserted that the university’s claims had inconsistencies.   In July 2015, Emily received a letter from the dean of graduate school, informing her that she was not allowed to conduct any fieldwork project out of “a concern for her well-being”. She lodged an appeal against this decision. In response, the dean apologized for her feelings and misunderstandings, but denied any wrongful acts or discrimination. When she inquired about the letter, he informally admitted that the letter had actually been written by the director while he was on vacation, and therefore, he had not even read or approved the letter. When Emily asked him why he would not formally state so and why the director was not held accountable, he explained that it would affect his secretary because she helped the director send the letter. Emily has been contending that the dean’s explanations and excuses for “his decision” are pointless and nonsense especially since he is merely a scapegoat who has been cluelessly held responsible for the director’s actions. He is not capable of explaining “his decision” because he never made the decision to begin with. Emily is continuing to demand the issues be rectified based on the whole truth, with integrity, accountability and transparency. In September 2016, the university invalidated all of Emily’s earned academic credits stating that she made no academic progress in the past year. Emily could not make academic progress because the director forbade her from progressing. Furthermore, she was in the process of appealing against the decision, which has been taking significant amount of time and is still ongoing because the dean has been talking nonsense and refusing to provide the whole truth. Without her academic credits, she will lose her student visa, and will have to leave the country. In our opinion, this is whistleblower retaliation, which enables the university to remove her from the country and get rid of the accusations altogether. During the whole ordeal, Emily has been obliged to continue paying her tuition fees (14700 euros per year) even though she has been denied the education that she has been paying for. On the other hand, the university staff has been continuing with their lives and work without consequences, as if Emily does not exist. As Emily’s friends, we find the whole situation outrageous beyond what words can describe. Their actions make a mockery of not only Emily’s courage but also of the whole Dutch education system, whose members work hard to maintain a high standard of institutional diligence and integrity. Moreover, Emily went back to study and focus on topics such as human rights and education. The inhumane attitude and behavior of her professors, whose specializations include education rights, children’s rights and gender equality has been the ultimate betrayal to Emily’s hopes and desires to learn anything from these “experts”. After brutal rape, abuse, discrimination, injustices and retaliation, Emily has been through enough. She overcame horrific trauma she had never wished for. She decided to get her life back by finishing her Master’s degree. She stood up for herself only to ask to be treated like a normal human being. She continues to fight for justice, truth and integrity because that is what she believes in and stands for. She has done nothing to be ashamed of. She deserves justice and the completion of her Master's degree. Therefore, with this petition, we formally request the following.  Requests The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science and the Government of the Netherlands:     Conduct an independent, thorough inquiry into Emily’s original complaints, and hold individuals accountable for their misconduct Immigration and Naturalisation Service, Ministry of Security and Justice of the Netherlands:     Ensure that Emily will not lose her student visa until her graduation The University of Amsterdam:     Retract the invalidation of Emily’s academic credits and exempt her from paying tuition until the ongoing situation is resolved When we saw Emily just before she left for the Netherlands, she was very vibrant and thrilled to finally complete her Master’s degree. We want to see her return with her same happy face with her diploma. Please imagine Emily is you or your loved one. If you are willing to support Emily, please sign this petition. Thank you.    #enoughbsUvA Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/enoughbsUvA/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/EnoughbsUvA

Justice for Emily
1,847 supporters
Update posted 3 days ago

Petition to Maureen S

Demand Reform in Solano Community College's Math Department

I am a Political Science major at Solano Community College (SCC). For the most part, my academic experience at SCC has been good. That is, until I took a math class during the summer 2017 semester. That was the worst class I've taken in my entire academic history.  Concerned it was just me, I began polling fellow classmates and other SCC students only to learn of horror stories about abusive, unprofessional, and downright inept professors, students needing to take math classes multiple times to pass (professor issue...not student), disparate treatment towards minority students, and overall dereliction of duty by professors who simply do not care enough to see students succeed.   My experience and countless others like mine, compelled me to be the change I wanted to see. Effective September 18, 2017, I begin a Hunger Strike to raise awareness about biased grading practices, disparate treatment of protected class students, pernicious pedagogy, and dereliction of duty to provide a curriculum in the spirit of excellence in SCC's Math Department. I am asking SCC to reform their Math Department once and for all! But, I can't do it alone. I need your help. Here's how you can show your support: Sign this petition then use your voice to share the link with every student, friend, and parent you know who pays tuition at SCC and ask them to sign it too.  E-mail David.Williams@solano.edu and Celia.Esposito-Noy@solano.edu to show support for the protest. Demand that they reform SCC's Math Department immediately. Use hashtag #MyTuitionMatters across social media platforms to show your solidarity with the movement.  Attend the protest rally next Friday, September 22, 2017 at noon on SCC's campus. Cancelled: Due to Hunger Striker Being Bedridden.  Thank you for your support! As members of the academic community, we must continue to strive to make our learning institutions better today, tomorrow, and for the future. 10 Points: I have a right to quality Math and Science professors. I have a right to hold faculty and staff accountable for poor pedagogy without fear of retaliation. I have a right to complain about poor customer service by faculty and staff and to have my concerns resolved in a timely manner.  I have a right to a peaceful learning environment.  I have a right to receive assistance from qualified professors and tutors in the MAC Lab.  I have a right to higher education.  I have a right to have my grades evaluated within a reasonable time frame. I have a right to transparency from the Administrative Leadership concerning issues related to my education.  I have a right to demand excellence from faculty and staff. I have a right to succeed in every class I enroll in without interference from disgruntled, mean-spirited, and unqualified professors. 

Maureen S
23 supporters
Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to University of Colorado Boulder, Faculty, Professors

Stop forcing college students to buy access code for their homework

I paid thousands of dollars on tuition, why do I need to pay hundreds more to be able to do my homework?  From the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/24/your-money/a-new-cost-at-college-digital-access-codes.html DIGITAL books and study tools don’t weigh down backpacks as heavy textbooks do. But fees for the codes to get them may be a financial burden for some college students, a new report found. An analysis from the Student Public Interest Research Groups, state-based groups that advocate for causes like affordable textbooks, found that students in many courses may be asked to purchase online educational materials that require one-time digital access codes. The codes are unique serial numbers that give students access to a variety of online materials, like digital books, study guides, homework assignments, quizzes and tests. Sometimes, students must purchase a physical textbook to obtain the necessary code, while in other cases the codes can be bought separately. “They’re the next frontier in the textbook affordability battle,” said Nicole Allen, director of open education at the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition.   The average cost of a stand-alone access code, purchased at a campus bookstore, is about $100, the report found. The cost when bundled with a textbook varies depending on factors like whether the textbook is digital or print, but averaged $126. Across the colleges and majors analyzed, about a third of courses included access codes among the required course materials, the report found. The analysis considered just 10 schools. But the mix of institutions studied — private, four-year colleges and public universities as well as community colleges — offered a snapshot of what students are probably encountering on campus these days, said Ethan Senack, higher education advocate at the Student PIRGs. Textbook costs have long been a sore spot for college students. According to a report in August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, textbook prices have risen 88 percent over the last decade, significantly more than the increase of 63 percent for tuition and fees over the same period. The College Board estimates that the average student budget for textbooks and supplies at a private, nonprofit, four-year college was $1,249 for the 2015-16 school year. Students have used a variety of strategies to manage costs, Mr. Senack said, like buying used textbooks, sharing a copy with another student, or renting physical or digital textbooks. More recently, a movement has emerged to promote “open source” textbooks, which are available free online. Such steps help explain why data from the National Association of College Stores, a trade group for thousands of campus retailers, show that student spending on books and supplies generally has been flat or declining, even though textbook prices have risen. Average annual student spending on required “course materials” — a category that includes new and used textbooks, access codes and digital books — declined 14 percent to $602 for the 2015-16 academic year, from $701 in 2007-8. (Last year’s spending, however, was an uptick over the average of $563 in 2014-15). The main reason students acquired an access code, the college store association’s research arm said, was that their instructor required it. Richard Hershman, vice president of government relations at the association, said the new report “raises a number of valid concerns around digital.” He said that pricing and distribution models for digital materials were evolving and that student concerns should be taken into account. Faculty typically decide what materials are required, he said, and many instructors see online tools as helpful to students. It may be, he suggested, that they can offer an “opt out” alternative for students who are unable to purchase them. Student advocates say they worry that the proliferation of digital access codes may make it harder for students to use cost-cutting alternatives, like sharing — or even skipping the textbook purchase entirely. The move to unique digital codes essentially rules out sharing, they said, since the codes are usually attached to an individual student account and, once activated, cannot be reused. “For any student who was not paying full price before,” Mr. Senack said, “this is definitely a concern.” Jeanne Ryder, a sophomore at Rutgers University, said she learned about the drawbacks of access codes last year, when she spent hundreds of dollars on a hardcover Italian textbook that was stolen, along with her backpack. The book had come with an online activation code, she said, but it was missing and the publisher told her she would have to buy a new one. She was unable to obtain a new replacement code, even though she had her receipt. She ended up borrowing the book from another student. Here are some questions and answers on college textbooks and access codes:   What if I can’t afford to pay for a digital access code? Ms. Allen suggests discussing your situation with your instructor. Sometimes purchasing the code is merely recommended. But if the teacher requires the code for a class, students may have no option but to buy it if they want to take the course. “They’re pretty stuck,” Mr. Senack said, “and that’s our concern.” The college store association data from 2016 indicate that more than a quarter of faculty at two- and four-year institutions said they would require students to buy access codes in the coming year. Can I buy a used textbook with an access code? In some cases, yes. Some campus stores and online sellers sell used books along with access codes, Mr. Senack said. And sometimes, students who buy a textbook that comes with an access code may not be required to use the online materials, so they may sell the code separately. But when buying from private channels, it’s “buyer beware,” Ms. Allen said, as there is the risk the code may be invalid.  

Anna Blanchard
26 supporters
Started 2 weeks ago

Petition to New England Institute of Technology, East Greenwich city hall, Rhode Island State House

Keep the Animal Business Management Program Alive at NEIT College!

I am just finishing an Animal Business Management program at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. I have been going here for about two years now to achieve my associates degree as a future Business manager in the animal field. I am finally in my last quarter and was told that the program is shutting down and will not be offered to college students who would like to attend this program in the future. I find this extremely disappointing, because the value of the program can really benefit those who would like to consider this as a career someday. It offers a vast array of knowledge including the medical and business side of it. The professors who teach the program are real life veterinarians, certified vet technicians, marketers and business directors with years of experience in the field teaching their students a hands-on approach to develop into future leaders. It's important to have this program stay alive in the college because, unlike any other school the students are exposed to multiple facets of what they will actually expect in the field someday. This can include the student running a veterinary practice, owning their own business, working for a pharmaceutical company, getting more exposed to animal laws and changing them, and really so much more. The avenues of having careers in animal business management are endless! In today's world it's important to have a trained animal business manager, not just someone who graduated from a business management program alone without any prior animal knowledge in the field. Now college is expensive enough, why on earth would anyone want to take on two separate technical courses right? I say this because without this program, future students would need to take two separate programs in order to gain the knowledge that i was able to achieve within my two years with an associates degree. The animal business management program was a perfect cross of the two fields mixed. I took this program on because, i was not at all interested in being a certified vet technician. Instead, this program is perfect for every student who wants to run an animal business, work in a veterinary practice, or really anywhere in the field knowing they have learned what it takes to go out and make a real difference in the world.  Please sign my petition today in helping me fight to keep this program alive at the New England Institute of Technology in East Greenwich, RI. I have learned so much and want others to experience how wonderful this program truly is! Thank you for your support today! Sincerely, Erika D. Ps...this program has not been advertised on the radio, newspaper, school newsletter, or television. This needed to change earlier on,  which is why no one has heard much about the program to apply. NEIT is getting rid of the program, not giving it a fair chance!

Erika D.
6 supporters