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ASSU executives’ letter to faculty on finals

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Dear Stanford faculty members,

We hope that you all have been able to find some peace in this stressful time. 

Students — ourselves included — have no idea how to proceed; we don’t know if we should cancel our flights home for spring break, or if we should move out completely from our dorms ASAP because we will not be able to return to retrieve our belongings. Seniors are preemptively saying good-bye to friends and classmates. Many FLI students and international students fear being deserted on campus for the foreseeable future as the rest of the student body clears out.  

We want to start a dialogue with you all about the University’s plans for spring quarter and their impact on students. To be quite frank, the University’s email announcements this week have sparked chaos among students.  

On top of it all, we are expected to continue working on our final assignments and studying for final exams. This situation has been incredibly stressful and emotionally draining for all students, who are required to make a series of high-stakes decisions in the coming days with limited information. Students are worried about the health and well-being of their friends and family members, and how their decision to either remain on campus or leave could affect these individuals. We know that we are not alone in having tremendous difficulty focusing on our academic requirements during this time of uncertainty. Countless petitions have been circulating among students imploring the University to cancel final exams and projects; one such petition has already garnered over 2,000 signatures.

In light of Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Harry Elam’s most recent announcement about finals, we feel that it is important for us to inform you about the reality that students are facing. We would like to echo our constituents’ demands: We firmly believe that Stanford instructors should make final exams optional and/or take similar steps to reduce academic pressure on students at a time that has arguably been one of the most stressful of our lives. This decision is in your hands as individual instructors.

We hope that we can partner with you all to mitigate the effect of this situation on student health and well-being.

Sincerely,

Erica Scott ’20, ASSU President

Isaiah Drummond ’20, ASSU Vice President

Remy Gordon ’20, ASSU Executive Chief of Staff