Petition calls for university closure because of coronavirus

Jordan D. Brown, Staff Writer

In less than one month, Morgan State implemented remote learning, students evacuated their dorms and the university implemented building entry protocol for the remainder of the semester due to the coronavirus (COVID-19). With the annual spring town hall address scheduled for Wednesday, the university was hit with another obstacle—a student petition.

Freshman sociology major Alexia Smith created a petition on Sunday requesting that students receive a passing grade for their spring semester courses and in approximately 48 hours, the plea received more than over 3,000 signatures—nearly half of the university’s student population. 

“I started this petition because of the struggles I’ve been going through trying to be able to go to online school—even though I didn’t sign up to take online classes,” she said.

Smith set a goal of 5,000 signatures and is less than 2,000 autographs away from her mark. She said Morgan students have endured an enormous amount of stress as they navigate a whirlwind of changes and those who don’t have access to technology to participate in online instruction have begun to worry the most.

“Most classes are very hands-on and we are not able to do those from home because of the limited resources available at home,” Smith said in a statement addressed to the community.

On Monday evening, freshman entrepreneurship major Bryanna Willis, a supporter of the petition, emailed the link to the appeal to President David Wilson, who in less than 10 minutes, forwarded the email to Lesia Crumpton-Young, the newly appointed provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs. 

I do not understand the need for Morgan State staff to go out of the way to make online learning a necessity during this time…the main thing people want to focus primarily on is the wellness of themselves and loved ones at home,”  Willis said in an interview with The MSUSpokesman.

While approximately half of the student population agreed to the petition’s terms, others believe it’s unethical to reward students with a grade they haven’t earned.

“It’s unfair to the students who have actually worked hard if the students who don’t do anything all semester just get a passing grade, It may cause some conflict,” freshman biology major Sydney Bowie said.

Morgan State’s virtual town hall meeting is scheduled for Wednesday at noon on Morgan’s Youtube channel. Wilson and his administrative team will discuss the future of Morgan as the institution continues to navigate the rapid changes of COVID-19. The community is urged to submit questions to [email protected].