Coronavirus has stripped life down to its bare bones, and priorities have come into clearer focus.
You, much like the rest of your UF peers, are probably social distancing somewhere. You’re worried about the health of your family, where your next paycheck will come from or if the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 will come to a much-needed, screeching halt.
School is probably the least of many people’s concerns right now. However, students are being subjected to unrelenting course work, Zoom conferences and the pressure of a weighted GPA that seems to get more intense with each passing day.
Jared Machado, a 22-year-old UF political science and history senior, said classes are the least of his worries.
“It’s not a priority right now, especially because it’s my last semester,” he said. That’s because Machado said he has family and friends to worry about and because it’s harder for him to focus on his classes now that they are all online.
Drowning in stress and attempting to surface for air, more than 18,000 UF students penned a petition on Change.org, pleading for a pass or fail option for courses. It’s a call for help during this time of great uncertainty.
The No. 7 public university in the nation merely posted a murky response about possibly receiving a pass or fail option for certain classes and said that UF would notify students about when and how they could petition on its FAQ page, with no official announcement on real aid for its Student Body.
This minor tweak to UF’s FAQ site came right after UF told The Alligator it wouldn’t offer pass or fail at all. The language was then updated recently to say that UF administration and faculty were working on a process for classes to be considered as pass or fail and that students would be notified about the process.
Instead of sending out a release announcing this option for students and advertising its benefits, UF quietly published the pass or fail information online. It’s almost as if they didn’t want students to know about it.
All of UF, and especially its seniors, have been left in the dark on their future ever since this pandemic crept stateside. And Florida failing to listen to the cries of help from fellow Gators is the latest link in the chain of the school’s lack of empathy and incompetence while handling this crisis.
In a UF Public Affairs release on March 11, President Fuchs said these are “extraordinary and uncertain times.”
So why won’t Florida take extraordinary action and announce an official plan to make pass or fail an option for all students struggling with this pandemic?
You want to be a top 5 public school? Make top 5 decisions. Don’t do what you’ve done since Spring Break and leave everyone out to dry.
All throughout this semester, UF waited for other universities such as FSU, Vanderbilt, MIT and more to send its students home, shift to online classes and now respond to pleas to make classes pass or fail.
The UF community was also kept in the dark on four positive coronavirus cases on campus until Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis revealed the information in a press conference on Tuesday.
So, UF, you want to make some top 5 decisions?
Stop following the example of others. Set it.
Dylan O’Shea is an Alligator sports writer.