The current outbreak of the coronavirus is plaguing almost every country worldwide. Although the elderly and those who are immunocompromised are most at-risk of not surviving if infected, we are forgetting those who are still affected by the evacuation of college campuses across the country. Even if they are not likely to face fatal health consequences due to the virus itself, they are still in desperate need of assistance.
I am in no way trying to diminish the valid fears of those who are likely to suffer serious illness if people do not take the necessary precautions to protect these fragile populations. However, I want to recognize the students who are struggling during this nationwide crisis. While some universities are providing resources and monetary compensation for students during this time, the majority of them are not assisting in anyway.
I understand that this is an issue of health and wellness, which universities claim is their top priority. But how can you state that the well-being of your student population is your major concern if you're not helping your most vulnerable ones during this transition?
Too many low-income students are facing potential homelessness. Too many international students are being told they cannot return to their home countries, but they also cannot stay at their university. Too many LBTQIA+ students who do not feel safe with their families are being forced to return to guardians who do not support them. Too many students do not have access to technology to support the transition to online learning that many universities are taking.
I applaud the numerous organizations and student-led movements that are working tirelessly to help support these groups. I am grateful to administrative staff who are dealing with this transition in the most effective way they can because I understand this is a sudden change for everyone involved.
I am sympathetic to universities who are trying to adjust in the best way possible, but I will still advocate for the rights of our students who are just trying to survive the next few weeks. If the top concern is safety, universities should make sure that their students have everything they need at this time instead of expecting them to fend for themselves.
As much as I appreciate the many alumni, organizations, student groups that are providing for us, they should not have to do so. We should not have to depend on their generosity to get through this. Universities should be giving those resources to us during this time of insecurity.
For those of us who can afford to stay afloat during this pandemic, please keep these students in mind and try to help in anyway you can. Whether that's offering your empty basement as a source of free storage or just creating a safe space for us to openly communicate about our frustrations, know that we are thankful for any help you can provide.
Stay safe. Stay as sane as possible. And wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap and water.
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