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Student leaders voice concerns over UArizona reopening plans

President and reentry task force director sit down with students
Posted at 2:07 PM, Jun 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-04 21:26:54-04

TUCSON, Ariz. — A group of student leaders on Thursday’s panel at the University of Arizona spoke for student voices on campus. They laid out a few things they’re concerned with; but it really all came down to the students needing more answers.

“Last night, I was talking with my roommates and we were discussing what the new normal is going to look like in the fall semester,” said Anthony Rusk, the UArizona Regent Student representative.

Rusk said there is a lot of uncertainty among the student body. He mentioned that the new normal culture will begin with the students and their understanding of how their safety and health will be protected.

But Courtney Halsey, with veteran’s education transition services, said they need to know what those guidelines are.

“The consensus I’ve gotten from military-connected students is that they want to come back, they really do. But what we need is guidelines to tell us what does coming back and staying safe and healthy look like. A lot of our military-connected students are using G.I. Bill benefits and that effects their income. And if we’re not in-person, then we’re getting a lower rate,” said Halsey.

For students with disabilities and illnesses, the disability resource center, wants clarity on the flexible options the university says will be available.

“I myself as a chronically ill and disabled student and university employee will continue working and studying from home, despite any calls for re-entry onto campus. I am fortune to have this flexibility and support built into my job, although I know that is not the case for everybody,” said Sav Schlauderaff, the disability resource center representative.

UArizona Chief of EMS, Timothy Gustafson, asked for a call of compassion. He said, with returning in the fall, students will be coming back from all around country and the world; from places with more or less spread of COVID-19.

“Its important to me that we still retain that sense of University of Arizona community and compassion for each other, even when exposure-reduction measures require us to be a bit further apart,” said Gustafson.

UArizona president Dr. Robert Robbins and the reentry task force director, Dr. Richard Carmona, applauded the students bringing these concerns for them to consider.

“And we’re going to be a better university because you and your colleagues are speaking up on all issues. So thank you for doing that,” said Carmona.

All agreeing, university and student leaders will need to make the cultural push and encourage everyone to follow the guidelines that are ultimately set.