Students and faculty scramble to figure out how to deal with the rest of the semester.
By Hosam Elattar
Coronavirus has pushed Cal State Fullerton classes online, canceling or postponing numerous events on and off campus. Partly because the situation is developing faster than the university’s Infectious Disease Working Group can anticipate.
Now, both students and faculty are feeling uncertain about the rest of the semester.
Criminal Justice major, Kassy Zernemo, said news of the transition online was tough to bear, especially after finding out her study abroad trip to South Africa was canceled.
“A lot of stuff changed in one day, and it was hard to handle because I was looking forward to the trip,” Zernemo said. “I was already so heartbroken when I got another email saying all of my favorite classes were going online.”
Drew Okino, a graduate student, said online classes are inconvenient.
“I’m more used to face to face classes. I’m not the biggest fan of online classes. At the same time though, it cannot be helped. The situation is deteriorating, so you have to prepare for it,” Okino said.
But not all students feel the same as Okino about going online.
“I think it’s good everything’s transferring online, that’s definitely a good start,” said Cherokee Anderson, a fourth year Biology major on how the university has responded to limit the spread of coronavirus.
While some students are rejoicing at the move to virtual instruction, they’re not the only ones affected by this.
“Professors are also having a hard time dealing with this,” said Zernemo. “I’ve seen them stress out over the transition. Students should also understand that we have to give professors time to adapt as well. We’re not the only ones that are affected.”
Faculty members expressed some of their concerns with the shift to online at last week’s academic senate meeting.
“I’ve talked to some of our lecturers who have already gone online and they said the learning curve is steep,” said Jon Brushke from the department of Human Communications. “I want to highlight what a huge ask this is of the faculty, especially our lecturers who are doing way more than they are paid for.”
Other faculty members like Communications professor Erika Thomas, criticized the university for not updating faculty before the campus community, so they could prepare to address student questions.
“I think we need to acknowledge how the information was communicated at the same time it went out to students,” said Thomas. “Students are asking me what to do, and I haven’t even had time to process what we were told. Some of us feel like our credibility had been undermined.”
With all the changes affecting faculty, staff, and students on campus, activists such as Students for Quality Education (SQE) look to support communities most vulnerable to these transitions.
SQE intern Andrew Flores appreciates the precautions being taken, but feels the university did not make decisions in a democratic way.
“How these decisions are made, doesn’t necessarily take into account what people have to say or think about them,” Flores said. “This is a very top down decision making process and I think that can be very detrimental to certain communities.”
Another intern for SQE, Valarie Segovia, emphasized that community is very important at this time.
“It’s important to think about how we’re going to be there and support and care for our communities, and what we can do for them and for each other, said Segovia. “For our health, our mental capacity, our resources, for everything—physically, emotionally, and economically.”