Have we done enough?
University Responses to the Coronavirus
A Student’s perspective
It is commendable that the Netherlands has scrapped the Binding Study Advice (BSA) for all first years, but if this is the only measure they will take, they are overlooking students who are further into their degree and may be struggling.
We see more and more in academia a high pressure drive to constantly produce work, pushing students, professors, and PhD students into burnouts. Even during a health crisis, some universities are incapable of turning this pressure down, forcing students to perform in the same way, seeming to try and optimize isolation rather than checking in with their students. Nobody has asked for this time off, nobody has asked for a global pandemic. This isn’t a luxurious writing retreat that we have all found ourselves on or the perfect opportunity to cross off all those tasks on our lists we’ve been meaning to do. It is a time in which everyone is under great strain. Any measures universities should be taking during this time should be in the best interest of our health and wellbeing, not primarily tailored to our grades.
Now, why should we be calling on our universities to increase their efforts in supporting students? After all, the University of Amsterdam, as well as the majority of universities, have been sending out weekly updates and reaching out to international students. I am sure all our tutors are understanding and will take into account the situation, but that is not enough. If anything, the different university responses have shown us is that there is much variation, some for worse and some for better. But what we need is a standardised response across all faculties, so students have the peace of mind that the university is working with them, that they can do their best, and that fairness and equality spread across the faculties.
First published Online. April 2020. Volume 15, Issue 3. Painting titled “Business as usual” by Susanne Lund Pangrazio (2018)