Addressing Student Concerns

December 1, 2020

Dear AUC Community,

On December 1, 2020, the Student Union organized a demonstration to express their concerns, within the guidelines of AUC’s Freedom of Expression policy. We are proud of their commitment to express their thoughts in ways that are mindful of the policy and the COVID-19 pandemic guidelines. On December 1 and December 2,  I had two meetings with Student Union leaders to discuss their concerns. I explained to them that their main request of adopting a Pass/Fail grade option is not in the best interest of the educational process of our students. The Provost’s Council, which includes all of the school deans, carefully considered this option and determined unanimously that it cannot be implemented at that time of the semester.  The idea of discussing such a policy in the future has not been dismissed by the Provost’s Council.

Since the start of the pandemic, we have worked to continuously enhance the delivery of our online instruction. The faculty have shown tremendous dedication to their students and continue to strive to support them. I also joined each of the school deans last month in meetings with students in their schools to fully understand specific challenges firsthand and take immediate steps to address them. My office and the deans continue to respond individually to student emails and engage directly with faculty and department chairs to address issues in specific courses. I encourage all students who are facing challenges to reach out to their instructors, department chairs and deans.  I also encourage the Student Union to maintain direct communication channels with me in all issues related to academics. 

We will continue to do our best to support our students. In the coming weeks, I and the Provost’s Council will continue to meet the students and faculty to discuss the preparation for Spring 2021 semester. If there are any changes to our existing plan, we will announce them in advance of the start of the semester to ensure fair treatment of all students and a shared understanding of the options prior to the start of the semester.

With the Fall 2020 semester nearing completion, we approach another milestone in successfully navigating the pandemic, while balancing the equally important imperatives of ensuring the health and safety of our community and delivering on our educational mission. I know the pandemic has not been without sacrifice for all members of our community. As we begin to see the end of the pandemic on the horizon, I am confident we will emerge from this experience a stronger, more resilient community.