RAVE Alerts show administrators lack racial sensitivity Thursday, Sep 24 2020 

By Zachary Baker-

Over the past couple weeks, the University of Louisville’s administration has made several mistakes when it comes to racial sensitivity on campus.

From the conflicting language when it came to the Black Lives Matter protests around campus on Aug 25., to the dangerous and irresponsible vague RAVE alert, the university has been failing its students of color. 

On Sept. 10, a RAVE alert went out at 2:20 a.m. warning students about “A Black Male wearing a red hoodie” on the run from the police and possibly on campus. 

In a time where the danger of a Black student to possibly be killed in a misunderstanding by police is high, it seems downright reckless to send out a vague text early in the morning to a student body that is made up of 11% Black students

There are thousands of Black students on campus at a university where the schools colors are red, black and white. Sending out a text which only includes vague descriptors was either completely ignorant of current events or dangerously negligent of the consequences that could come from doing so. 

This is no new issue from the university, problematic RAVE alerts have been around for a while. 

Student Body President Sabrina Collins commented on the incident and who should be held accountable.

“The Sept. 10 RAVE alert is only the most recent incident in a longer history of problematic RAVE communications that put people of color on our campus at risk,” Collins said. “Having served on Top 4 for multiple years, I know this is not the first time SGA has advocated for substantial change in the way safety concerns are communicated with campus.”

Collins said that the university “must back their words up with anti-racist action if we ever hope to come close to the ideal of a ‘premier metropolitan anti-racist university.'”

“The University is correct that we must do better; however, students must keep pushing our administrators and police department to follow through on that promise,” she said.  

It is painfully obvious to the student body that the university can do better to protect them. The danger is not limited to the student body either. People across Louisville have talked about how it seems better to avoid U of L than risk arrest or injury due to the negligent behavior of the administration. Is that the university we want to be? 

Do we want that same message to go to potential incoming students seeking a better life through higher education? 

Dangerous and reckless behavior by the administration in how it communicates is correctable only by the administration itself. U of L needs to do better in both protecting its students of color and by promoting true change and accountability within the system.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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Students can benefit from longer drop/add periods Tuesday, Sep 15 2020 

By Catherine Brown–

The drop/add period for classes only lasts from the first day of the fall semester to the last weekday of that same week. University of Louisville administration should extend this period for students.

This period is too short for students. With such a short time to get to know classes, it can be difficult to know whether a professor is right for the student’s learning needs. Students also have to determine whether the class is even necessary in the first place.

With only a week to drop or add classes, students might not get a full view into how the class is run and how their professor can help them. If given more time, students can actually meet the professor. This way, they can determine if the professor will be accommodating and understanding of each student’s needs. 

Students would also have the opportunity to understand the workload. Many professors have outlined the class schedule in their syllabus. Students, particularly those in general education courses, can benefit from knowing the expectations for the course and deciding if they should swap out. 

For freshmen, this can help to ease them into the college course load.

With only a week to drop or add classes, it’s impossible to judge the class fairly. For a class that meets twice a week for 50 minutes, the total meeting time in that first week would be less than two hours. A class that costs $500 per credit hours and can impact GPA only meets for less than two hours and we’re supposed to determine whether we want to stay in it. Most professors seem to only review the syllabus during the first week, anyway.

After the first week, U of L refunds 0% of course fees.

Sometimes, the time of the class doesn’t fit with the student’s schedule. It’s not fair to punish students who can’t fit a particular class into their schedule. We’re busy with sports, clubs, jobs, religious groups, and our social lives that we already have to plan into our schedules. 

Sure, we sign up for classes in spring/summer. But we can’t guarantee that the classes we signed up for 5 months prior to the start of the semester are the same ones we’re going to stay in. Some students change or add majors and minors. Many join new on-campus or off-campus groups. Others need fewer credit hours.

For students who have to drop a class after this deadline, U of L assigns them with a ‘W’ meaning the student withdrew from the course.

Having one or two ‘W’s on a transcript doesn’t impact a student’s academic record very much and ‘W’s don’t affect GPA. However, if continuous withdraws pile on, it can look bad to future employers or graduate schools. If U of L were to extend the drop/add period even a week more, students could avoid this problem entirely.

The administration needs to take students into account when considering how to help them transition into the new year.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal

 

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Good intentions lead to reckless results Tuesday, Sep 1 2020 


 By Zachary Baker–

The number of COVID-19 cases in the city of Louisville has been fluctuating in the recent weeks. With schools going back in session, including those that meet in-person, we’re likely to see an increase in cases.

With higher possibilities of an outbreak starting on campus, the student body is looking to the U of L administration for guidance. Instead of proper guidance, the university is changing their policies without warning. This may cause the predicted viral outbreak. 

Before classes began, the administration’s response to the Student Government Association’s letter stated their desire to follow the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s federal recommendation by not requiring mass testing. 

“We have a robust plan for testing and tracing, and we are urging everyone to get tested. But the CDC specifically states that mandatory testing is not advisable, and multiple lines of evidence demonstrate receiving a negative test encourages risky behavior and has been the direct cause of many outbreaks,” said Executive Vice President and Provost Beth Boehm in a letter to the SGA.

That is a stark difference from an email sent on Aug. 23 that stated within the coming week that testing will be required for all students and faculty. 

This move by the university seems to be with good intentions to protect the student body. But despite efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, their choice of actions may cause a viral outbreak on campus. 

It is important to understand why the federal guidelines said to not require testing: it would encourage negative behaviors within the student body. A group of people who did not want to be tested may receive a negative test and likely decide it is not dangerous to have a party or something similar. 

All it takes is one false negative or someone not yet tested to interact with that group and then you will have people with a “negative test” spreading COVID-19 to many others with negative tests. 

While testing can make us safer, the people most likely to be tested are the ones who wish to also self-isolate afterward. Those who do not want to be tested are likely to not follow the recommended guidelines set forth by the administration. 

Testing has been provided by the university within the first week and the administration has been posting a weekly COVID-19 positive test counter on the U of L website. Until Aug. 25, the counter only listed 53 positive cases.

There are many on-campus who wish to keep themselves and others safe by getting tested, but the university has not been very open about the processes. The positive test counter is not being updated frequently enough to promote confidence in the student body, and the contradictory language by the administration has caused unneeded stress instead. 

“A daily tracker would be invaluable to students who are deciding daily whether it’s safe to go to class in person,” tweeted senior engineering major Emily Walter on Aug. 22.

“We’re still only getting weekly updates, and that’s frankly unacceptable. While I’m thankful our cause count only rose to 90 in the last eight days, it could have been so much worse.”

She added that while she believes U of L is handling safe classroom procedures, they are failing in informing students.

Junior Kirandeep Kaur said that she took a COVID-19 test on Aug. 21, got the results Aug. 22, then was told on Aug. 23 that the mandatory testing protocol would require her to get tested again within the next week.

Let’s say, hypothetically, that the poor communication and the risks proposed by students going out after negative testing are worth it if the testing makes us safer. The issue is that the administration’s sudden change in policy has led to a dangerous testing area set up without realistic prep time. 

Today, students went to receive tests at the Student Activity Center testing area. In that one room, there were dozens of students in non-socially distanced space. If at least one is positive then they risk causing an outbreak at the testing sites.

Three weeks ago, we started classes with the expectation the administration is following CDC guidelines to protect us.

As the weeks went on, many students grew concerned with a lack of updates on positive test results. 

Now, despite any good intentions by the administration, the student body is likely more at risk by these changes. We can only hope that this sudden change will not be the cause of a viral outbreak on campus.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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