From university to faculty concerned about the Covid: “begging”
“We are discouraged from” sharing Covid data that is unrelated to the course. Presumably, gossiping about overcrowded state hospitals, exhausted doctors and the growing number of deaths could be ‘pressure’ and professors’ should not pressure students to get vaccinated or wear a mask. “All we can do is” encourage. “In practice, these guidelines let professors offer details of their personal lives to crowds of unmasked students. We have become beggars and beggars. suppliant, hoping for mercy.
These are the words of Amy olberding, presidential professor of philosophy at the University of Oklahoma, writing in The Chronicle of Higher Education about University of OklahomaThe utter and utter failure to take even minimal precautions to protect its professors, staff and students from COVID-19.
This first week of the fall semester, my colleagues take the tour, meet their classes for the first time, and this year tell stories about their own lives. A teacher talks about her baby, too young to be vaccinated. Another mentions an immunocompromised spouse at home. Yet another speaks of a brother who recently died from Covid. While each tale has its own rhythm and tone, they tend to end in the same way: professors nervously offer masks to their bare-faced students, who mostly refuse to take them. Some look sheepishly away, some look placidly, some chuckle. Then the course as we knew it must begin, with introductory tours through the syllabuses, requirements and objectives of the course …
At the University of Oklahoma, located in a “high risk condition“:
- Students are not required to wear masks in classrooms or other indoor spaces
- There is no sign encouraging students to wear masks
- Teachers are prohibited from making students wear masks
- Teachers are officially discouraged from structuring group work in class to determine who wears masks or not
- Students do not have to be vaccinated
- Students are not required to notify their professors when they contract COVID-19
- Free COVID-19 tests on campus have been removed
- There are apparently no student ‘surveillance tests’ for COVID-19
- “The University organizes public events where unmasked administrators lead hundreds of unmasked freshmen to shout the school’s spiritual songs â
Professor Olberding writes:
Our stories do not result in completely masked classes. In a small classroom filled with 40 or 50 students, only a handful will wear a mask. Classes grouped in the hundreds may have less than half hidden. Some professors are posting online about their success in getting students to wear masks. I have read these articles carefully because I want to know if there is any magic key, attraction, or particular strategy that could work reliably. I’m a moral philosopher by trade, so I’m also natively interested in how to morally motivate people to do what they’d rather not do. So far, I haven’t discovered any secrets …
We offer our vulnerable loved ones, our bereavements, or our own medical history as sacrifices before fickle gods – gods who, it turns out, are mostly teenagers invested with divine powers by our administration. We beg the teens to think about our babies, to feel our deaths, and not to kill us. Some of them oblige. Some don’t – an alarming number don’t. The university’s response so far amounts to: Better Begging.
You can read the whole essay here.