What’s a socially active college student to do?
It is a dilemma. At least according to the more than 1,300 students at Oberlin College, Ohio, who signed a petition asking administrators to abolish midterms, and do away with all grades below C. They need that, they say, to accommodate their busy protest schedules. Attending all those demonstrations against social injustice doesn’t leave them with much time to attend classes or study.
It’s true that hundreds of students have taken part in protests after the fatal police shooting of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, as well as the shootings of Michael Brown in St. Louis and Eric Garner in New York. And they do have a point when they say that people are being beaten in the streets every day around the world, and unfairly locked away for petty crimes. But why does speaking out mean one must desert the responsibilities of being a student?
Many of us oldsters truly do understand. Hey, we were college students of the 60s and 70s. We can tell a story or two about protest and demonstrations. But a petition for academic relief? Hmmm… That’s something even we wouldn’t have tried.
The Oberlin petition was given to President Marvin Krislov on Friday. His answer came on Sunday. It was firm “no.” Although he did allow that he and the college’s deans gave the request serious consideration. But he responded with a good dose of real life responsibility. Good for him.
“We are in firm agreement that suspending grading protocols is not the way to achieve our shared goal of ensuring that students have every opportunity and resource to succeed.”
Marvin Krislov, Oberlin College President