Students at Oberlin College are pushing the school to put their studies on hold so that they can turn their attention to their efforts in?activism.
In all, over 1,300 students have signed a petition requesting the college remove any grades below a “C” for the semester, with a few students suggesting alternatives be implemented to replace written midterm exams, like a conversation with the professor rather than writing an essay.
Many of the students say that coursework requirements along with their activism efforts are which makes it difficult to keep their gpa up.
Megan Bautista, a co-liaison in Oberlin’s student government, said that many of the student activists protested alongside community members in Cleveland over the shooting death of 12-year-old Tamir Rice who had been killed by a police officer in 2014. ?Bautista continued to say that in order to do so, students required to organize on campus, and that as a result, their grades suffered.
The school has adjusted its grading policy in the past. ?Student activists who protested the Vietnam War and the Kent State shootings in the 1970′s saw their grades change as a result of their efforts. ?Meanwhile, students currently attending the school are angry that the same changes to our policy are not being designed for them, despite the recent Rice protests concerning a police shooting that had taken place only 30 miles from the campus.
Student?Zakiya Acey added to Bautista’s argument by discussing other barriers to his efforts of activism, including probation and family issues.
“You know, we’re spending money on a service. We’re paying for our attendance here. We need to be able to get what we need in a way that we can actually consume it,” Acey said. “Because I’m coping with having been arrested on campus, or suffering the things that my loved ones are going through because of larger systems – having to deal with all of that, I can’t produce the work they want me to do. But I understand the material, and that i can give it to you in different ways.”
Acey went on to discuss professors in the school who he explained have offered to allow students to come see them during office hours, and discuss the fabric with them?in lieu of taking?an itemized exam. ?However, he added that the practice isn\’t institutionalized.
Meanwhile, black student union member Jasmine Adams suggested this too much time is being spent learning about Marx, who she said did not spend time discussing race, and as such, is of no importance to her. ?Adams went?onto say that she plans to return to her hometown upon graduation to become the same person she was before she entered college.
Robby Soave argued her point on?Reason.com, stating that college is really a transformational amount of time in which students should be changing who they really are and how they think about things.