In the interests of our safety and well-being, the William & Mary Community calls on the Administration to implement the following policies:
Universal Pass System
Many students will not have reliable access to housing, food, or the internet throughout the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. As the situation deteriorates and the virus spreads, more and more students and professors are going to become incapacitated. How can we proceed with online classes as if everything is normal? We must transition to a Universal Pass system, in which every student will pass their courses, and all credit will fulfill COLL, major/minor, and proficiency requirements. All courses will be marked as a Pass on students’ transcripts. This must include counting all study abroad programs that have been cut short due to COVID-19 towards the COLL 300 requirement. Allowing students to take one or two additional Pass/Fail courses which do not satisfy COLL, major/minor, or proficiency requirements is a grossly insufficient response. Even if this optional expansion of Pass/Fail courses were made applicable to those graduation requirements, the stigma of opting for Pass/Fail courses instead of letter grades would unfairly impact disadvantaged students. Additionally, many students rely on merit-based scholarships to attend the university. With the ongoing crisis only expected to get worse, many students may not have the opportunity to focus on maintaining their GPAs or grades through the end of the semester, thus putting their ability to continue attending the university at risk. We are in the middle of an unprecedented crisis, and we need to take extraordinary measures to look out for the best interests of the members of our community.
Refund Remaining Housing, Dining, and Parking Costs In Full
The partial refund for room and board costs that was announced on March 19th must cover the entirety of the costs and fees related to services which will not be available to students. Students who will be unable to live in campus-managed properties, make use of meal swipes and dining dollars, or make use of the W&M Campus Decal for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester must be provided with a full prorated refund. This refund must include all housing costs, meal plan costs, parking costs, additional class fees (applied music, art, science lab, and kinesiology courses), and other relevant fees. Our dining and campus housing contracts for this semester were intended to cover a period of 108 days. But between the date the semester was supposed to resume, March 15th, and the date the semester was supposed to end, May 13th, students will be unable to access the facilities we have paid for. The table below illustrates the discrepancy between the full costs of our Room and Board and Meal Plan contracts and the remaining costs for the period in which campus will be closed.
Suspend Collection of Unpaid Student Account Charges
At a time when students are struggling to pay basic living expenses due to the economic impact of COVID-19, the College must halt all collection of student account debt.
Indefinite Paid Sick Leave, Emergency Leave
All William & Mary employed and contracted workers who are unable to continue working due to COVID-19, including all student workers, must be provided indefinitely with unlimited paid sick leave, with benefits. This must include all workers who are self-quarantining, all workers who are caring for sick family/household members, and all workers whose workplaces have been forced to close due to COVID-19. We endorse the policies proposed by the William & Mary Workers Union in their response to the crisis, attached here.
William & Mary employed and contracted workers who are being asked to put their health and safety at risk by coming to work, including student workers, must receive hazard pay at the rate of time and a half.
Pause the Tenure Clock, Extend Graduate Student Programs (With Funding)
The severe limitations placed on graduate students and untenured professors by COVID-19 must not be allowed to harm their careers. Any work that they are able (or unable) to complete during the remainder of this semester cannot be considered representative of their abilities. Deadlines and funding packages must be automatically extended until after the crisis has ended.
Suspend Parking Enforcement on Campus
To protect the health of William & Mary’s workers and the already-precarious finances of the members of our community, all parking citations must be suspended for the remainder of the COVID-19 crisis. With the exception of rules that protect health and safety, such as obstruction of disability parking, fire hydrant zones, and “no parking” zones, all parking rules and regulations must be indefinitely waived.
Refund Graduation Fee
If the Commencement ceremony cannot proceed as planned due to COVID-19, students must be refunded the $145.00 graduation fee.