I, too, was anticipating Senior Week, Commencement, and all the last goodbyes we never got to say. But after everything that has happened, my doubts about taking a “scenic route” instead of the expressway to my goals have vanished.
Ever since Penn first announced there would be no in-person ceremonies this year, I have been thinking about what graduation means as a first-generation, low-income student, and what it means for my family.
By voting in the upcoming primary election, students at Penn will be able to make a difference in who represents our communities in Congress and the state legislature. One person, one vote is perpetually under threat and this year is no different, if not more than ever before.
I’m writing to wish you luck in your finals but to also put everything in context for you as well. As a Penn undergraduate student, I remember how stressful the finals period was and I’m imagining that in this virtual environment, this stress is likely amplified.
The two most important aspects that need to be fulfilled in order to accommodate all Penn undergraduates are to allow the option to have letter grades and to mitigate the effects of circumstantial inequality. The best way to approach this problem is by having a Double-A grading policy, in which students are guaranteed an A-, or a double-A/fail policy, in which passing a course awards at least an A-.
While Penn’s focus on continuing to support staff under $70,000 is commendable, this is truly a moment for the Board of Trustees and the Penn administration to be more transparent about why fiscal austerity is falling on the backs of their employees and students.
With the federal government’s current social distancing recommendations, it is best for us to remain in our homes until the experts say it’s safe to come out again. However, once we return to campus, we should not fear the precious in-person connections that make Penn wonderful.
What if, instead of bowing to political pressure, we demanded more news coverage and investigations? What if we gave Tara Reade the same credibility and respect that we gave Dr. Christine Blasey Ford in 2018?
I call for unity among Penn community ahead of the upcoming presidential election in support of Biden to restore the dignity of the office of presidency. I ask Penn for Bernie to endorse Biden for president despite all the disagreements.
It is time for Penn to acknowledge that it owes more to students than a refund for housing and dining and that we pay our school for more than just a diploma, especially when students have never been more vulnerable.