Tag: Sydney Gayton ’23
The Pursuit of the… Half Truth?
by jmccoy3 on April 21, 2022
The Pursuit of the … Half Truth?
Providence College Doesn’t Always Allow Both Sides of the Story
By Sydney Gayton ’23
On Thursday, March 31, PC for Life, which is overseen by Campus Ministry, hosted a discussion by Emily Albrecht titled, “Understanding and Responding to ‘My Body, My Choice.’” The biggest issue with the event is that it dealt with how pro-life individuals should respond to dissenting, pro-choice arguments, but these dissenting arguments are not allowed to be expressed on campus. No pro-choice activists or voices would be allowed to speak on the issue unless a pro-life side was also offered. Thus, even by holding an event that claims to foster inclusive conversations, there is no opportunity for inclusion as one side is forced to remain silent.
Even Albrecht herself recognized that this issue needs to be treated as a dialogue between both sides. She commended pro-choice individuals for attending the event and seeking to understand, or at least listen to, a side that they do not agree with, as this is how productive conversations occur. The point of her discussion, in her own words, was to “promote less hate, and more dialogue,” something that would be successful if the College were to invite dissenting voices to join the conversation.
PC’s mission statement states that “the pursuit of truth has intrinsic value…and the search for truth is the basis for dialogue with others and critical engagement with the world.” It also states that the College “honors academic freedom, promotes critical thinking and engaged learning, and encourages a pedagogy of disputed questions.” However, the College does not appear truly devoted to this pedagogy as it has a history of not welcoming speakers who would actually encourage debate and allow PC students to think critically in pursuit of the truth.
In 2013, after canceling a talk by John Corvino on gay marriage (which was later postponed), then president Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P., stated that if the College “brings someone in to argue against the veracity of the church, there is an obligation to make sure it does not go unopposed.” This argument is often cited when speakers are not allowed to come to campus or events are campus, but Dr. Christopher Arroyo of the philosophy department, in the same year, explained that the ‘policy’ “requiring a speaker to present the Catholic church’s stance on controversial topics was revealed to be a practice, not a written policy, of the College.”
Student Congress in 2007, following the permanent cancellation of The Vagina Monologues at PC by Fr. Shanley, passed legislation entitled SSC57-01, which stated, “It is the sentiment of the Student Congress that suppression of academic, social, or other materials, under any auspices, religious or otherwise, is antithetical to the mission of the College, and unacceptable to its student body.” While this legislation does not carry much weight today, it represented mass student opposition to the censorship of certain voices.
Unfortunately, the interests of many students do not always align with the interests of the College’s Catholic identity. Bishop of the Diocese of Providence, Thomas J. Tobin, urged PC to remain vigilant against the politically correct mindset in society. He asked, will PC “simply be p.c.- politically correct, the pathetic, ephemeral fashion that has…taken such an ironclad grip on our culture?” This description of politically correct as “pathetic” is consistent with how PC has been treating some of these controversial issues, namely abortion and LGBTQ+ rights.
Censorship of voices which oppose Catholic teaching is not a new trend at the College. In 1976, as part of a Sexuality Forum held at the College, no gay people were allowed to speak at a talk on the subject of homosexuality. Nearly 50 years later, this trend continues, even when speakers are not presenting on controversial subject matters which oppose Catholic teaching.
In the fall of 2020, the College was faced with an incident in which they were forced to question their “political correctness.” When Dr. Spencer Klavan, a classicist and host of the Young Heretics podcast, was invited to campus by the Humanities Forum, students were concerned about the hateful messaging he shares on his Twitter page. In his announcement to the Providence College community that the event would proceed as scheduled, provost Sean Reid said, “As a College committed to free expression of diverse viewpoints, canceling speakers who express beliefs with which we may disagree sets a dangerous precedent.” This is certainly true to an extent; so long as a speaker does not challenge the established ideas of the Church, they will be invited to speak in front of the student body, even if they have a history of hateful speech.
As Sean Gray ’21 noted in a letter to the editor after Klavan’s talk was allowed to occur, the College is actually rather selective when it comes to who is allowed to express themselves on campus. Gray cited an previous incident in which the College rejected a talk by a group called Speak About It on sexual assault and consent because they listed Planned Parenthood as a resource on their website. As Gray said in his article, “Planned Parenthood had nothing to do with the topic at hand, but the mere affiliation apparently warranted a rejection.”
Although neither talk was on controversial topics or subjects antithetical to the Catholic Church, Speak About It’s vague association with Planned Parenthood was grounds for the group’s event being canceled, while Klavan’s public racist and hateful comments were ignored. Had his event been held in person instead of over Zoom, there would have been an opportunity for students to debate with Klavan. By canceling Speak About It’s event, students had no opportunity for debate, discussion, or learning.
It is not only school-sanctioned events or speakers that cause controversy; student actions on campus have been treated differently depending on whether or not they are in support of Catholic teaching. In 2000, three students were suspended for creating a flier that depicted an image of the Virgin Mary that read, “How’s this for an immaculate concept: Keep Abortion Safe and Legal.” Each student was fined $1,000, suspended for the rest of the semester, and none of their work from earlier in the semester was counted. PC officials stated that they were punished for not receiving permission from Student Life before hanging the signs up and also for allegedly “violat[ing] the college’s expectations for student conduct,” according to Rev. Philip Smith, O.P., president of PC at the time.
In 2018, St. Joseph’s Hall R.A. Michael Smalanskas posted a bulletin board in the dorm which said, “Marriage: The Way God Intended It…One Man, One Woman” with Bible quotes and images. Despite sparking outrage and controversy on campus from many members of the student body, there does not appear to have been any formal punishments from the College, unlike in 2000. The lack of administrative action against Smalanskas suggests that the punishment of the three students in 2000 may have resulted more from the content of the flier than the fact that the students did not get permission from Student Life.
Albrecht’s talk reminds the student body that they are only receiving the thoughts that PC supports. Yes, it is a Catholic Institution, but if the College wants its students to pursue the truth through discourse and disputation, dissenting voices and speakers should also be welcomed onto campus. The College simply needs to extend its “freedom of expression” policies to all voices. Or else why would Albrecht need to teach us about responding to dissenting voices if those voices are not allowed on our campus?
Tangents & Tirades
by jmccoy3 on February 11, 2022
Mocktails in McPhail’s
Christina Charie ’25
As a gathering spot for all Providence College students, McPhail’s needs to cater to all of them. As of now, the only specialty beverage available to underclassmen is milkshakes. While the McPhail’s milkshakes are legendary, mocktails would take the College’s finest hangout to the next level. The pub needs another non-alcoholic option since at least half of the student body is not of age. With gatherings and events from several clubs on a consistent basis, McPhail’s needs to offer more options so all students feel welcome.
McPhail’s should upgrade from soda to mocktails because students will simply go to Alumni or Ray for simple fountain beverages. The space is for special occasions, which requires an elevated level of food options. There are plenty of restaurants and bars off-campus. As a result, McPhail’s needs to offer unique, iconic options that students cannot find elsewhere. Additionally, mocktails can become themed drinks for the night. A Friars-themed mocktail would certainly be popular during an away-game watch party. Students could submit ideas for mocktail recipes for the chance to be featured on the menu.
Milkshakes have been an unreliable option in McPhail’s as of recently. On bingo night, milkshakes frequently run out before the first numbers are called. Mocktails offer another reliable option for underclassmen and non-drinkers. Also, employees would be able to learn the process quickly since most mocktails substitute alcohol for soda. Mocktails will take less time to make because most do not require a blender like milkshakes. This comes down to a simple decision. Mocktails are an essential addition to McPhail’s.
Sydney Gayton ’23
For some, Feb. 14 is a day filled with pink and red candy, flowers, and teddy bears. For others, the real appeal comes the next day, when the candy goes on sale. Every year it seems like holidays are becoming more and more commercialized, and Valentine’s Day in particular feels like a scam. While it is supposed to be a day filled with love, it feels much shallower in light of today’s mass consumer culture.
The origins of Valentine’s Day are anything but romantic, tracing back to traditions in ancient Rome that involved violence against women. Today, many businesses advertise their Valentine’s Day deals, such as Chick-fil-A’s heart-shaped trays of chicken nuggets and Olive Garden’s $15 bottles of wine for takeout. While these deals are great, Valentine’s Day seems to be less about the love it is meant to celebrate and more about the products and services that are marketed to consumers.
On the other side, those who are not in a relationship are made to feel extra single on Valentine’s Day, which is also catered to by various companies (and Netflix rom-coms). A quick Google search brings up hundreds of guides ranging from Cosmopolitan and Oprah listing activities for single people to do on Valentine’s Day.
Overall, Valentine’s Day does not deserve the hype that surrounds it. This “holiday” allows for businesses to profit off artificial gestures of love by pressuring people into getting gifts for their significant others. This can cause people to completely lose sight of why they are doing it in the first place. It is important to show love to those around you every day of the year, regardless of relationship status or heart-shaped candy.
Defeat, Don’t Delete
by The Cowl Editor on December 9, 2021
Defeat, Don’t Delete
Social Media Doesn’t Have to Be Damaging to Your Mental Health
by Sydney Gayton ’23
At some point or another, everyone has probably compared themselves to others on social media. Whether it be a new job or internship posting on LinkedIn, or a perfectly captured candid on Instagram, it can be difficult to not compare yourself to others’ achievements, or what is known as the “highlight reel.” Generally, people post all of the good and none of the bad on social media, which contributes to that so-called highlight reel. This forms an inaccurate representation of a “perfect life,” or feed, at least.
It is not necessarily a bad thing to post only the best and brightest moments of life, even if they are filtered with an editing app; it has become a human tendency. But, again, another human tendency is to compare aspects of one’s own life to the highlight reel of another. This is where the damaging effects of social media lie.
The issue, though, isn’t social media in and of itself. Social media has become a beneficial tool in keeping the world connected, and this has become more obvious throughoutthe COVID-19 pandemic. Families can post pictures on Facebook or Instagram for their relatives to see and FaceTime grandparents that live hours away.
College-aged students in particular compose a significant percentage of social media users. 66% of Gen Z, people born between 1997 and 2012, report that social media is “an essential part of their lives.” In 2021, 42 million Gen Z consumers reported using Snapchat, 37.3 millionTikTok, and 33.3 million Instagram.
In recent years, social media has become heavily criticized for the negative effects it can have on individuals, and not without reason. Studies have shown that heavy social media use is linked to an increased risk of anxiety, depression, and suicide. Social media can, and does, promote negative experiences and feelings of inadequacy about certain aspects of people’s lives, but it does not have to.
When people call social media damaging to their mental health, what is damaging is not the platform, but their use of it. In Bailey Parnell’s TED Talk on this subject, she gives tips and advice to prevent social media from damaging one’s mental health, such as self-reflecting after social media experiences. It is okay to unfollow celebrities or even friends if it harms one’s self-worth. Parnell urges listeners to also model good behavior on social media. Do not contribute to hurtful posts or spread negativity. Social media does not have to harm people; it can lift people up and be a good experience, not one where people feel worse after.
Parnell also says that when we discuss “the dark side of social media, what we really talk about is the dark side of people.” Facebook does not make people post offensive things on the site and Instagram does not force people to post hurtful comments on pictures. It is easy to blame social media sites for some of the negatives that can come with them, but it also seems misdirected. Parnell says she does not want people to stop using social media because it realistically is here to stay, and because of all the benefits it can have; yet, she urges listeners to “practice safe social [media].”
Social media should be viewed as neutral: neither bad nor good. All the negatives and toxicity people attribute to social media platforms are things people have always done, like comparing or bullying, the only difference is thatit is now online. People would not blame their television providers for a bad show or movie the way they do with social media.
The bottom line is that,when used incorrectly, social media can have negative consequences on users’ mental health. A survey conducted by the CDC in 2020 found that one in four Americans between the ages of 18 and 24 have considered suicide in the past month. In a class of 30 students, that would mean seven to eight students have contemplated ending their lives. That is a scary and very serious statistic. So, always remember to be kind to others and yourself, in person and on social media, because behind someone’s Instagram highlight reel, they could really be struggling. Kindly educate someone the next time they say social media is ruining people’s lives, point out safe ways to use these platforms and help redirect the blame from these sites to harmful individuals instead.
Tangents & Tirades
by The Cowl Editor on November 18, 2021
Veteran’s Day Should Not Be Business as Usual
Christina Charie ’25
Enjoying a day of relaxation is not a tragedy. After multiple five-day weeks in a row, Providence College students are exhausted and feeling anxious about finishing homework and studying for exams. Since Veterans Day is a federal holiday, many people in the Providence area do not report to work. A one-day vacation from classes would not result in a learning deficiency. In fact, having Veterans Day off could have the opposite effect. Additionally, by ignoring the federal holiday, PC prevents students from honoring and serving veterans in the community.
After midterms, students often need time to find their homework routine again. A day during the week without classes gives students the chance to complete assignments while taking time for self-care. Cutting down on instructional time seems counterintuitive; however, if students feel overwhelmed, they will not learn effectively. Time spent in classes is more productive once students are relaxed. In addition, professors could utilize the extra time on Veterans Day to grade exams, alleviating much of the anxiety that lingers after midterms. Having the College close on Veterans Day would encourage and support learning, despite giving up time in class.
By taking off Veterans Day, students at the College would have the opportunity to organize Veterans Day events, service projects, and memorials. Events on campus could help students learn about the sacrifices veterans make for the community. The College could invite alumni who served in the military back to campus as a sign of gratitude. Veterans in the Providence area would certainly appreciate Providence students reaching out to them.
Clearly, changing the academic calendar offers benefits to all members of the PC family, including students, staff, and alumni.
by Sydney Gayton ’23
The last thing people could have imagined at Travis Scott’s Astroworld concert in Houston, TX on Friday, Nov. 5 was the death of nine people and the hospitalization of hundreds more. Injuries resulted after concert goers at the 50,000-person music festival stormed towards the stage when Scott came on. People were pushed and trampled while others sustained more serious injuries, some treated for cardiac arrest.
The tragedy is attributed to a systematic breakdown. In the 59-page operations plan for the event, only the concert and executive producers had the ability to stop the concert. It also did not have an emergency plan in place to deal with such a situation despite something similar occurring at Astroworld in 2019. The plan only contained a warning about avoiding a potential “civil disturbance/riot.” The safety measures at the event are currently under investigation to determine who is at fault. Hundreds of concertgoers have already hired attorneys in lawsuits against Scott and Live Nation for their bodily injuries that occurred as a direct result of the encouraged violence and lack of safety precautions at the venue.
While Scott may have been unaware of the situation while performing, his prior safety violations, as well as his and Drake’s actions after the tragedy, that resulted in the death of nine people between the ages of fourteen to twenty-seven are reprehensible. The “concern” both performers show on social media seems to be only to protect their images and minimize lawsuits. It was their actions that night, at Dave & Busters and a strip club, that say more about their care for their fans than the obligatory Instagram apologies try to express. No one should die at a concert. Scott should cancel the rest of his Astroworld Tour and spend time figuring out how he can ensure his team’s and his own failures never result in the loss of another fan’s life. In the meantime, stop listening to Travis on Spotify and listen to Taylor Swift’s new releases.
Business Majors are Not the Only Students at PC
Olivia Bretzman ’22
There is no doubt that Providence College has an extremely successful business school. Most PC students are business majors, so obviously, they need support from the Career Center, networking events, etc.
However, there are a lot of other majors at PC that deserve the same support considering all undergraduate students pay tuition to attend PC and utilize their resources. This is a major point of discrepancy in PC’s student support system, particularly when it comes to mentorship in applying for internships, jobs, and higher education.
When looking for internships using PC’s Slavin 108 network, the “past internship list” includes about 30 possible places to intern for each business major and only five-10 for other majors. The Slavin 108 system is entirely geared towards becoming a corporate businessperson, so much so that when an undergraduate, non-business major asks for guidance, the system fails to foster.
There is a real lack of knowledge within the network of what humanities majors can accomplish and how to assist them, which seems incredibly convoluted considering PC prides itself on its liberal arts education and was founded on a strong belief in the humanities.
Thankfully, many professors in these non-business major departments are incredibly helpful in job searches, internships, etc. However, that is out of their expectation as a professor. While most are happy to connect students to their connections, other faculty, and more, it often feels like putting more work on an already extremely busy plate.
Overall, PC simply needs to do more and better support its non-business majors. Not only should they have mentors in Slavin 108 for all majors, but they should also provide career expos with more than just business-focused jobs and graduate work. While there are some, it truly is not enough.
Is This a Sixth-Grade Dance?
by The Cowl Editor on October 28, 2021
Same-Sex Schools Put Women at a Disadvantage
by Sydney Gayton ’23
Single-sex schools have been around for centuries, with women having been excluded from higher education up until the 19th century. Even then, the disparities that separated the education for male and female students are striking. Oberlin College, which was previously only men, became the first college in the United States in 1837 to allow women to enroll. While seemingly progressive, female students at the college did not attend classes on Mondays, instead being forced to do their male classmates’ laundry (bestcolleges.com).
At Providence College, which started in 1917, the first coed class did not graduate until 1975. In the first year women were allowed at PC, there were 287 female students. Today, 50 years later, there are more women than men at PC, with 2,662 female students.
Although most colleges and universities today are coed, there are still a few single-sex institutions left, such as Hampden-Sydney and Morehouse Colleges for men, and Barnard and Wellesley Colleges for women. There is an ongoing debate as to whether coeducational or single-sex schools facilitate a better learning environment for students, and the matter is exstensively researched.
Among the arguments for the separation of men and women in the classroom is the idea that students can focus better when not distracted by those of the opposite sex. On its website, the Army and Navy Academy, which focuses on the benefits of sex segregation almost exclusively for men, claims that when separated by gender, students show lower levels of behavioral issues and are more willing to take risks in the classroom when the pressure of failing in front of the opposite sex is taken away.
The Academy says, “In a co-educational environment, young men and women distract each other, and are more concerned with fitting into their prescribed roles and impressing others than pursuing their own personal skills.” This statement seems to insinuate that coed schools facilitate the continuation of gender expectations in society. Without classroom integration, though, how will women be able to redefine their own roles in the academic and professional world when not given the chance to be equals with men in the classroom? Will men continue to see women as a distraction that should be avoided, and men as their only peers, long after school ends?
The answer is resoundingly pessimistic for women.
Even more alarming, the website goes on to say that single-sex classrooms or schools allow educators to teach material and books based on issues related to the students’ sex, such as Hamlet, which “introduce[s] a ‘coming-of-age’ discussion and father-son relationships”, which, while possible at co-educational schools, must often be “more concentrated and open in a single-sex environment.” They make open-mindedness, and the understanding of others’ issues, seem like a bad thing. Male students should be taught about the struggles their female peers have faced and continue to face. Instead of teaching men to be allies, this education system is teaching men to be enemies.
Once students get older, whether in college or in the real world, it is inevitable they will be expected to work with people of another sex. Instead of teaching children and young adults that the opposite gender is a distraction that must be avoided, we need to teach them how to interact and collaborate with one another. Schools need to instruct girls and women to not tolerate being spoken over and interrupted, and teach boys and men to respect what women have to say and to not interrupt.
Same-sex schools continue to promote sexism by covertly teaching students that they will not succeed in the presence of the other gender. Men are taught to dominate a room, to speak up and assert their beliefs, while girls, who will not have experienced navigating this, are not heard. In 2021, schools need to become integrated in order to stop promoting the sexism that continues to dominate society.
This is not to say that the education provided at all-boys or all-girls schools is a negative thing, but the effects that this gender segregation produces later on is harmful to women. Men indirectly learn to see women as a distraction in their academic and professional life by not having been socialized to learn with them, causing men to see women not as their peers, but as the “other.”
by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2021
PC Should Consider Alternative Housing Options for Students
by Sydney Gayton ’23
Living with your friends is one of the best parts of college and something that students look forward to while in high school, sometimes even earlier. It offers a new sense of freedom that is typically not experienced until coming to college, where there are no parents telling you to make your bed.
At Providence College, first-year students will typically be in a traditional dorm-style room in buildings separated by sex, with sophomores in either McCarthy or Aquinas Hall, and juniors in one of the five on-campus apartment buildings. Around 50% of students in each senior class will choose to live off campus their senior year on or around Eaton Street. This is also the only year that the school allows students to live off campus.
While, in theory, it is nice to have most of the student body on-campus, there is not enough housing on campus to accommodate so many people. The lack of housing has been made even more apparent with the COVID-19 pandemic, as fewer juniors are going abroad. Often, juniors will have to live in McCarthy Hall because the entire class does not fit within the five apartment buildings, which means that there are fewer rooms in suite-style living for sophomores, who, after Aquinas fills, are forced to live in first-year dorms, such as Raymond Hall and St. Joseph’s Hall. This means even less room in the first-year dorms, resulting in forced quads or triples in rooms that are not meant to hold so many people. It is a vicious cycle.
On its website, PC says that “freshmen, sophomores, and juniors are required to reside on campus. It is college policy that any student wishing to live off campus must have permission from the Office of Residence Life.” If the school allowed juniors to live off campus again, there would be enough room in the apartments and other dorms so that students would be able to live in a building with their own grade and friends. Additionally, no one should be forced to live in an office building, such as Koffler Hall, just because the school does not have enough rooms for its students.
On the Residence Life website page, PC administration says, “We know that housing is an important aspect of every student’s college experience. At Providence College, we strive to create a comfortable environment that compliments your academic pursuits.” Whoever wrote that must have never used a communal bathroom here.
Joe Sinicropi ’23, who currently lives in McCarthy Hall as a junior, and was almost housed in a freshman dorm during his sophomore year, says that “it’s frustrating that the school has been unable to offer my friends and I housing with our own grade, and won’t even allow us to live with our other friends off campus. If there isn’t room for us, we shouldn’t be forced to live somewhere we don’t enjoy.”
This is not a new issue, either. There is a petition on change.org from a few years ago calling for juniors to be allowed to live off campus. The school changed its policy to prohibit juniors from living off campus because of “lost revenue” from meal plan and room and board fees. This seems selfish and irresponsible on the school’s part, as students are forced to pay thousands of dollars a semester to be in an overcrowded room, which is not conducive to creating a “comfortable environment that compliments [our] academic pursuits.”
How can students be expected to maintain their mental and physical well-being, as well as succeed in the classroom, when their beds are touching their roommates’ and there isn’t even enough room for everyone to have a desk? What is supposed to be a fun and rewarding part of college feels a lot like a punishment.
There has been talk that a building similar to McCarthy will be constructed in the next few years, but until then, PC should allow some of its juniors to live off campus if they wish to do so to help with its housing shortage.
If the College really cannot cope with losing revenue from juniors living off campus despite the continually alarming tuition increases every year, it should stop over-enrolling the incoming classes or start building that new dorm quickly (both of which seem more expensive than letting some juniors live more comfortably off campus).
The Pandemic Isn’t Over Yet
by The Cowl Editor on October 7, 2021
The Pandemic Isn’t Over Yet
Professors Should Still Offer a Remote Option
by Sydney Gayton ’23
While college is still certainly strange compared to those of us who experienced it prior to March of 2020, this semester is starting to feel a little more “normal”. Providence College has resumed fully in-person classes, and has brought back many of the events we all know and love, such as Homecoming Weekend, Board of Programmers’ Provapalooza, and re-opening McPhail’s. With all of these events, we almost forget that we are still in the midst of a global pandemic.
Although 97% of undergraduate students and 96% of faculty and staff are vaccinated as of this week, we are still not out of the woods. Students are still at risk of being exposed to and contracting COVID-19, and to add to this stress, they face falling behind in classes, as professors are no longer required to offer a Zoom option or record lectures.
It is definitely nice to be back in the classroom and have the ability for face-to-face interactions, something that a lot of people missed last year. The general census of students not just at PC, but at other schools as well, is that it was harder to learn in a dorm room with roommates and other distractions, instead of a classroom where it isn’t an option to turn off cameras or lay in bed. When a professor is looking at you in person while asking a question, it’s much harder to conveniently lose wifi and get disconnected from Zoom.
The main argument against recording lectures or offering a remote option for classes this semester is that students will take advantage of them when they don’t have a valid reason to not show up to class. The administration and professors’ qualms of providing remote options for classes are understandable, but what about the students who test positive for COVID-19, were in close contact with someone who did, or are experiencing symptoms that could either be COVID-19 or just the “freshman plague”?
Students in these circumstances are put in the difficult spot of potentially exposing others to the virus, or risk hurting their grades and ability to learn now that they are unable to participate in classes or listen to online lectures. Samantha Smith ’23 faced this dilemma the second week of the semester after being in close contact with someone the day before they tested positive. Although the school has loosened its contact tracing and close contact protocol, she decided to go home to wait for her 2 negative tests to avoid potentially infecting those around her. Smith missed a full week of classes and although her professors provided her with the notes she missed in class, she was not able to get the full learning experience that comes with being physically in the classroom or listening in on the lecture.
On the College’s website, the school released a statement saying, “Unlike the 2020- 2021 academic year, students may not have remote access to classes while in isolation or quarantine”, underneath their other COVID-19 protocols.
One other aspect the school has failed to take into consideration is how difficult isolation is for students’ mental health. Katherine Cleary ’23, who was isolated in the Marriott last year after being deemed a “close contact,” says, “Having online classes was extremely helpful, as they not only alleviated my anxiety and stress emanating from my having to miss class, but they also offered a useful distraction and a way to spend my seemingly endless amount of time [in quarantine]”. While quarantine is difficult and lonely already, not having the ability to attend online classes to receive any sort of human contact or provide a distraction seems terrible.
While it may require more effort from professors, is it that difficult to send out a zoom link to students with a documented reason as to why they cannot come to class? If this pandemic has taught us anything, it’s how to adapt to nonideal circumstances and be flexible and understanding. If the College and its faculty wants their students to thrive, they should change their current protocol to allow students with extenuating circumstances to attend class via Zoom or at least have access to a recorded lecture for social and academic purposes.