Globe’s Point: Teachers need to be more compassionate during COVID-19

We are quickly approaching midterm season, Pioneers.  

Except midterms this semester really are unlike any we have ever seen. Many Point Park students are taking some if not all of their classes online this semester. Practices for athletes, rehearsals for dancers and meetings for clubs all had to change to save lives during a global pandemic. A number of professors are still being unrealistic in their expectations of students and are unwilling to compromise on assignments. And, among all havoc in our personal lives, we don’t even know if we have learned or retained much knowledge in the last seven weeks. 

You’re probably feeling a little panicked and more than a little exhausted. Truthfully, so are we at The Globe. 

At the beginning of the year, the Point Park administration said we simply had to trust that all professors and faculty would be benevolent to students given the current circumstances, but we have observed that is not true. Even more distressing, there appears to be no clear recourse if students are rightfully feeling overwhelmed. Instead, the unspoken expectation is that we should shoulder all our regular burdens without notable complaint. 

In the absence of a system where students could voice these concerns and be guaranteed they would be taken seriously, we suggest students utilize the only other available option: pass/no credit, as needed. 

The Student Government Association (SGA) fought tirelessly to renew this option for the fall semester. Unfortunately, they might have to do so again if the administration persists in refusing to negotiate with students’ needs during these unprecedented times. 

Remote learning is just not as effective as the in-person experience for many. While Point Park is following a hyflex model, some faculty moved in-person instruction to online at the start of the semester, leaving students without a choice but to learn remotely. In other cases, some students have conditions or know of people with conditions that make them more vulnerable to the virus and thus have to take their classes remotely. And most students have had to engage in online learning in one way or another. Given these constraints added on by remote learning and all the extenuating factors in our lives right now, some compromise must occur in order for us to be successful. 

We are not trying to sound entitled by voicing these concerns. We are well aware faculty are struggling through the pandemic themselves. Rather, we hope that we can create a compassionate environment during the pandemic. And maybe, we can extend that compassion into a post-pandemic world.