ELON, N.C. — Students are speaking out against attending in-person classes at Elon University. Their concerns are centered around the possibility of contracting COVID-19 this upcoming fall semester.
“The real worst-case scenario is people will die,” said Liz Clarke, Elon University Junior.
Students part of “Boldy Elon Solidarity Collective,” a student-led advocacy group, led a virtual town hall discussion entitled “We won’t die for Elon.”
During this town hall, several students, professors, alumni and even former employees chimed in on the heightened level of safety they feel the university should consider, especially since there’s the possibility of a campus-wide outbreak.
“The fact that we are reopening classes even with measures gives the impression that there’s not much to worry about, and people will acknowledge that implicit message. It may not be what they’re saying but it’s what they’re showing,” said Clarke.
The group claims their concerns have not been addressed or acknowledged by the administration. They have a list of demands they want to see implemented.
“Stop in-person classes, housing for all who wanted it this semester, rehire adjuncts that they have let go and protect others from future layoffs due to budget concerns from the pandemic,” said Clarke.
Others spoke out about the need for remote-learning only because they’re not confident in college students not congregating and adhering to social distancing guidelines.
“Elon faculty is not at fault because these are unprecedented times, but what I do want to say is that the lack of the option to go remote learning is not here for our safety,” said one student during the virtual meeting.
University leaders say safety measures are already in place, like requiring students and staff to take COVID-19 pre-semester tests in addition to social distancing and keeping personal responsibility in mind, but these students don’t think this will work.
“We’re not confident that people will follow the rules, like this culture of personal responsibility. My personal responsibility does not stop me from being dangerous by other people being careless,” said Clark.
Other students have decided to defer this semester and others have opted to transfer to another school to avoid putting their health at risk.