As COVID-19 cases increase at the University of Minnesota, MSA intervenes to help administrators take more precautions.
The Minnesota Student Association (MSA) at the University of Minnesota has been working to create a new COVID-19 resolution to be sent to the administration, and is calling for more proactive steps toward a safer, healthier campus.
The author of the resolution, second-year student Carter Yost, wrote the resolution to shed light on and confront the current problems that the university’s faculty and students face in relation to COVID-19.
The sentiment shared among the communities seemed to be a sense of frustration over a dissonance between the state of COVID and public health in the twin cities and on campus, and the state of support systems available to students, faculties and community members designed to address issues, “Yost said.
Yost wrote this decision with the help of third-year student Nick Wallenhorst, third-year Zeke Jackson and second-year Amanda Ichel.
The solution includes a list of solutions, including more COVID-19 test options on campus, higher-quality face masks, integration of S / N grading, booster shot requirements and more.
“[Carter] approached me, Nick Wallenhorst and a few other people of concern that the university was not doing enough to address COVID and COVID issues, ”Ichel said.
Ichel said the decision focuses on reinstating the policies that the university introduced back in 2020 when the pandemic started, as well as adding some new policies.
According to Ichel, the old policies that MSA wants to reintroduce include “an increase in the number of free mental health agreements you can get at Boynton, the change in S / N character later in the semester, which were measures put in place to help students through these uncertain times. “
On February 22, the MSA will vote on whether to adopt the decision through the Forum. If the decision is approved, it will be sent to the administration almost immediately, according to Yost.
“We are awaiting the admin’s response, so we are waiting to send the decision to the administration,” Yost said. “We want to change some linguistic things, get rid of some of the policies that seem unnecessary, and add other things that we think are important.”
Yost believes the key to this decision is to spread awareness of the physical and mental resources that students need to ensure they have instant access to them, as well as the academic adjustments.
“Extending to S / N grading options or changes to attendance policies, which brings more favor with these systems, is a key piece for students who have that support system,” Yost added.
After speaking with many undergraduate students, MSA wrote the resolution from a student perspective and spoke for them, according to Ichel and the other authors of the resolution.
“As students, we see first-hand how these policies work and how it affects students, so we express our concerns,” Ichel said. “Our [resolution] is less a single requirement and more a collection of all these different topics and approach to the university. “
According to the four authors of this resolution, the overall goal is to keep students safe and secure that they succeed. Ichel added that she believes that success begins with the foundation of security.
“To make sure that everyone who goes to school here, or works or teaches here, knows that the university and society have their backs and make sure they are safe, healthy and in a place where they can succeed. crucial, “Yost said.
Wallenhorst said some other students who have been consulted about the resolution have also said the university administration should do more in terms of protecting and helping students navigate their way through the pandemic.
“It is telling that across the board, regardless of perspective, so many people agree that there is work yet to be done on strengthening that core support system,” Yost said. “This is reassuring in the context of the purpose of the decision, but it is disappointing as someone who is a member of this community at the university.”