Over 1,000 students at Oberlin College in Ohio have signed an online petition asking the school to suspend standard grading because they need to process the police killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Tamir Rice.
The petition states in part: "Basically, no student especially black students and students of color should be failing a class this semester. A 'C' should be the lowest grade students can receive this semester. Professors should be required to work with students, who would otherwise be at risk of failing, to create alternate means of accessing knowledge."
According to The Oberlin Review, the university has said it would be flexible when it comes to emergency incomplete requests for some struggling students.
The petition was reportedly started by minority students, including a junior named Kiki Acey, who wrote on Facebook, “People’s communities are being mercilessly murdered and beaten in the streets every day around the world. Others are being locked away by the millions for petty crimes. And many of us are still working every day just to be able to afford this education that fails to tell us how to free ourselves.”
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Acey also wrote on Facebook on Dec. 10: "I encourage all of you who believe that your white professors and administrators are not racist, email them with about anything that has to do with black people and see their response."
In response to the petition, Oberlin College president Marvin Krislov wrote an email to the students last Thursday, “I will work to make this community as diverse, inclusive and safe as it can be. I invite our students and all members of the Oberlin community to have a frank, open, and honest discussion of how we can work together to improve understanding and achieve our shared goals.”
“[President Krislov] has made minimal efforts to help those of us on this campus who feel afraid for our lives,” Acey told The Oberlin Review. “We are expect[ed] to be our best through finals? … This is not a fleeting pain. This s--- will be happening two weeks from now [and] two months from now. And we do not have time to process … I see my friends breaking because they are literally forced to choose between what they’ve been told they need and what they feel they need to do.”
Sources: The Oberlin Review, Facebook
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