Improve Mental Health Care Access at Northeastern University
The student body of Northeastern University is currently mourning yet another classmate lost to suicide. We are sad. We are tired. We are done with our administration refusing to change a toxic culture that negatively effects students' mental well-being. We *all* know that Northeastern and President Aoun could be doing more to increase access to mental health care. 85% of Northeastern students would be more inclined to seek out mental health care if it was more available on-campus - but students don't trust the university to provide high-quality care, so they instead suffer in silence. There is a mental health crisis in higher education. The time for change is now. As we head home for Winter Break, let's take this time to hold our university administration accountable. Share this petition far and wide with your friends and classmates. More importantly, look out for your friends and classmates when they're in need. If you need to talk to someone about how you’re feeling, grieve the loss of a loved one to suicide, or learn how to help yourself and others in crisis, you can find support with Samaritans of Greater Boston: https://samaritanshope.org/
Petition to Kumble R. Subbaswamy (Chancellor), John McCarthy (Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs), Brandi Hephner LaBanc (Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life), Evelyn Ashley (Dean of Students), Patricia Cardoso-Erase (Associate Dean of Students for Conduct and Compliance)
UMass Amherst should take an action and disband Theta Chi
On February 6,Daily Collegian published an article about Theta Chi hosting two crowded gatherings weekend after students return to campus, leading to a sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in Amherst. In the latest statement from UMass Amherst Chancellor Subbaswamy, released early on February 7, Subbaswamy states the following for students who do not follow self-sequestration: "Failure to comply with these directives is a violation of the Code of Student Conduct and will result in disciplinary action, which may include removal from residence halls and/or suspension. " However, as evident in the Daily Collegian article, Theta Chi and so many other undergraduates have not followed social distancing rules and organized gatherings upon arriving back on campus for the new semester. UMass does not provide any way to report these violations happening, such as a dedicated phone line. Last semester, upon seeing sudden increase in number of COVID positive cases, which was again due to undergraduates holding large gatherings, UMass reportedly opened an investigation to take a disciplinary action against nearly 200 students (source: Daily Collegian). However, no public announcements were made by UMass whether the university has actually suspended or expelled any of the students. Once again, UMass makes a blanket statement warning students and cautioning them to follow the rules. However the students will continue to not to listen the university administration. As the undergraduates see that it is their right to get together reckless and enjoy college life, it is also our right to demand UMass to take an action against the people responsible for this surge in COVID cases this week. Thus, the administration should disband Theta Chi to set an example to prevent further incidents happening.
Petition to King's College London
Make KCL 2021/22 exams 24-hour online assessments
Covid-19 has seen unprecedented changes to students' university lives, with assessment arrangements being no exception. In 2019/20, KCL implemented a 'No Detriment' policy in line with other universities, providing a “safety net” to ensure students obtain at least their average grade so far in the year, or with a better grade depending on results in summer exams or assignments. After 1 year of implementation, it was scrapped. Next to go is the 24-hour exam format, which is of huge detriment to students undertaking their assessments this year. There are a multitude of reasons why this will be detrimental to students: 1) The purpose of the final year percentage is that the final c-score is in part based on the assumption that students have become used to the system of exams by that point. If students have to deal with a new form of exam every year, that doesn’t work and increases the difficulty of assessments. 2) 24-hour exams were originally introduced due to students taking exams in different time zones. KCL is proud to be an international community – with many students sitting these exams across the world, this will create a disadvantage for those who either have to take the exam late in the evening or in the morning. 3) Mental health: 24-hour assessments significantly reduce the stress of exams. This format supports those with sleeping issues, anxiety, ADHD, and other conditions, ensuring that students can take sufficient breaks in during their exams. These students otherwise only have access to 15 minutes per hour for assessments, which is barely a supportive increase. 4) We made our module choices based on the syllabus content under the assumption that exam durations would be like last year. As we can't change module choices now and the syllabus states that the exam is going to be online and 24-hours, going back on this is highly unfair. 5) Some students aren't on-campus this semester, for example due to financial reasons. They are thus already disadvantaged in accessibility of resources (e.g. it is easier to speak with tutors in-person during lessons when you don't understand a concept). Shorter examinations will highlight and further increase this gap. 6) Previous horror stories demonstrate that this method has proven to be temperamental at best, exclusionary at worst: - "My exam from the maths department last year was timed, I submitted it 5 mins late due to technical scanning issue, they refused to mark it I had to send in an appeal." – Year 2, PPE student - "My brother is at UCL and he had a one hour submission period, even that messed up because of UCL tech issues and he ended up getting capped for that module." – Year 2, PPE student What about our working-class students who might not have solid access to internet and who couldn't afford to live in London this year? This reifies KCL's position as an institution serving the richest – a position they've been working hard to rectify. Other universities such as Bristol, Manchester, and Sussex offer students between 48hours and a week to complete their exams due to the unprecedented nature of the pandemic. Yet, KCL falls short on this – where is the prioritisation of our mental wellbeing? For these reasons, I urge you to sign this petition. Our mental health comes first, accessibility to resources must be considered, and ultimately our exam grades are likely to suffer as a result.
Petition to New Mexico Governor, New Mexico State Senate, New Mexico State House
Support FREE higher education for every New Mexican!
Reach Higher New Mexico. Education is the first step for people to gain the knowledge, critical thinking, empowerment and skills they need to make New Mexico a better place. Many jobs in today’s economy require an education beyond a high school diploma. With the ever-changing workforce environment, the proximity to the military bases and national laboratories, and top industry leaders deploying operations and research within the state, New Mexicans will need opportunities to continue to learn and grow their skills for career success and family-sustaining wages in New Mexico. But for too many, earning a degree or other credential after high school is often times unaffordable. For others, their education saddles them with so much debt it prevents them from buying a home or saving for retirement. We believe every New Mexican deserves a bright future. That future, which has been only a distant dream for many New Mexicans, is now within reach. We have the chance, right now, to secure this future by providing free higher education to EVERY New Mexican that chooses to reach higher. Do you agree? Then help us. Sign the petition to show your support for free higher education for every New Mexican.
Petition to Eastern Kentucky University
Save the TRIO NOVA Program at EKU!
Hey y'all, The U.S. Department of Education Federal TRIO Programs are federal outreach services targeted to serve and assist low-income individuals, first-generation college students, and individuals with disabilities. Eastern Kentucky University's TRIO Student Support Service "NOVA Program" was first funded in 1975 and has been serving the students of Appalachia ever since. This program is the embodiment of found family, support, and resilience. They are funded to serve 206 students per year but with a mere four member staff exceed their call and serve 280 students each year. I write to you today to say that this program is in grave danger. The Eastern Progress, the EKU Student News Publication recently reported "NOVA program students rally against forced exodus": Linked here. Please take your time to read the article. If you are affiliated with EKU you may take part in a petition linked on the publication. Federal grants hinge on a collaborative and supportive institutional host environment- and unfortunately EKU's commitment to the 47 year program is up for question. For over 30 years, this program has operated from the historical Turley House. It is a commitment to the program to provide this space for the myriad of services that the EKU NOVA program offers. Most devastating in this exodus, students lose dedicated space for student study, student lounge, and a fully operating kitchen to gather around meals- truly a rare and comforting space for students from similar backgrounds to gather together and revel in their community and fellowship. In particular, the home brings comfort to so many students who may experience marginal housing or homelessness. In the article you will learn that the program is being moved to the repurposed dormitory building with little space and is hardily fitting for a program meant to support the retention, success, and graduation completion of the underserved student populations that NOVA works so diligently to support. Please share your support of this program with others in the TRIO Family because we know that TRIO WORKS! Share with family, friends, and importantly, tag Eastern Kentucky University when you do so to let them hear the PEOPLE speak! What can you do? Sign this petition! Post your support of the NOVA Program on social media Thank you all! Paris Nelson Former EKU NOVA Staff and Passionate supporter of the passionate, brave, and inspiring NOVA students who are CLAIMING their space and making their voices HEARD! I am so very proud of each and every NOVA student.
Petition to The President of the University of Lynchburg and the Board of Trustees
Remove Liberty University influence and Falwell name from The University of Lynchburg.
The University of Lynchburg is independent and distinct from the values and mission of Liberty University. Over the past several years Liberty has encroached on the decision making process of the University of Lynchburg. Examples of this include but are not limited to the following: 1. A terrace has been named for Jerry Falwell Sr. 2. The University of Lynchburg has accepted gifts and money from Liberty University valued at 1 million dollars. 3. Chaplins and professors may have been silenced on campus so as to appease Liberty. 4. University of Lynchburg Students have been housed in Liberty dorms and teams have shared facilities. In honor of our core values that run contrary to those at Liberty we have hope that a change will be made. We urge the incoming University of Lynchburg President Alison Morrison-Shetlar and the Board of Trustees--in keeping with our history, our alumni, our professors past and present, and particularly for our community members of color and those identifying as LGBTQ--to do the following: 1. Affirm the right of free speech and assembly at the University of Lynchburg, as well as support diversity of thought and expression on campus. 2. Remove the Falwell name from the new terrace and campus. 3. Stop receiving money and gifts of any kind from Liberty. 4. End the University of Lynchburg's relationship with Liberty unless for purely academic experiences and in rare circumstances. We expect this to happen before students arrive on campus in mid August. Students of many generations have chosen UofL as their home because it is a "College that changes lives." They did not sign up for an institution that upholds (or is perceived to uphold) the damaging ideology of Jerry Falwell Sr.. We look forward to a bright, vibrant future for the University of Lynchburg. This is a step in the right direction.
Petition to Kim Puzey, Abe Currin, Jane Hill, Chris Brown, Bill Markgraf, Don Rice, Kent Madison, Shaindel Beers
Save BMCC (Blue Mountain Community College) from drastic staffing cuts.
The Blue Mountain Community College administration has alerted 10 full-time faculty that their employment will be terminated at the end of August. These faculty represent 152 years of service to our community. They are our friends and neighbors. These are good jobs disappearing from our community, and will greatly diminish the college and career opportunities in this community. These cuts will also cost BMCC about 20 part-time faculty, many of whom have taught at the college for a very long time. We urge the Board of Education of Blue Mountain Community College to reconsider these cuts. Sign this petition to join with students, faculty, alumni, staff, and our community in saying "Save BMCC.”
Atlanta Declaration of Core Principles for At-Scale Learning Platform Partnerships
ATLANTA DECLARATION Core Principles for Higher Education and At-Scale Learning Platform Relationships We, undersigned, are practitioners of non-profit global higher education, operating at-scale online academic and professional education courses and programs. We gathered in Atlanta, Georgia, USA on November 2nd, 2021, to reaffirm our commitment to our educational mission, our collaborative work, and declare our core principles in any partnerships, platform or otherwise, in designing, producing, and delivering our high quality, accessible, and meaningful educational opportunities. Our focus is on improving and broadening the impact of education and serving more people in meaningful and life-changing ways, while being fiscally responsible for the resources entrusted to us to sustain our institutions, generating a surplus to reinvest to further expand access. We are not driven by market valuations, corporate profits, or the destruction of the university as we know it. We are motivated by progressively serving learners via innovative educational opportunities. We aim to preserve our mission-focused commitment to furthering democratic practices around the world by democratizing and expanding access to high-quality, equitable, and rigorous education. The following are the characteristics of our community and our work that we deem crucial to achieving these ambitions. We are: Committed to Access, Affordability, and Equity We advocate for all at-scale content to be low or no cost to the learner, openly licensed, easily discoverable, created with universal design in mind, and fully accessible. We serve learners of all ages, genders, races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, abilities, background, and expertise anytime and anywhere. We aim to promote equity to improve the human condition. Committed to Quality We determine and uphold standards for quality at-scale from the perspective of course design and delivery; learner engagement and support; program sustainability; and faculty competencies to create and deliver at-scale courses and programs. We own the curricular control and academic rigor of our courses and programs, and the responsibility to define and manage academic integrity. We maintain and update course content and activities based on the information we collect about learners’ performance and the data provided by the system. We relentlessly seek continuous improvement by incorporating new knowledge, insights, and technologies. Committed to the Protection of our Learners and Faculty We respect and defend the data and privacy of our learners and instructors. We make the decisions on faculty compensation. We own the intellectual property of our educational products in their original and derivative forms. We own the relationship with the course instructors. We treat the learners who enroll in programs offered by our instructors on at-scale platforms as ours and care about them as such from a learner services, data collection, and marketing approach. At-scale platforms serve the purpose of increasing access, not abdicating our responsibilities to learner care and wellbeing. Committed to the Production of New Knowledge We own the data and insights generated from course and program activity to advance our understanding of how people learn and how we can help them learn. We commit to the ethical use of data. We allocate resources to conducting learning efficacy research and continuous improvement of learner services and reinvesting in expanding access. We demand a corresponding level of resource commitment to the creation of new knowledge and improvement of services from any entity with whom we partner. Committed to Each Other and Collegiality We drive at-scale innovation to enhance the higher education ecosystem by: connecting and collaborating with institutions actively offering at-scale courses and programs; promoting collaboration, research, and discovery; advancing policy, equity and quality; informing development of platforms and analytics, and engaging with vendors and service providers. We support higher education practitioners with an exchange of lessons learned, best practices, and tips for building successful programs as appropriate. Upholding transparency and trust among higher education entities is of utmost importance to us. We understand that this endeavor does not end with this declaration. We will continue our commitment and engagement with this community and revisit these core principles as needed. Issued at The Affordable Degrees at Scale Symposium, on Georgia Institute of Technology campus in Atlanta, Georgia on November 2, 2021. To continue the conversation and collaboration, join the Affordable Degrees at Scale Network.