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Davis, California

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Students protest in favor of masking, hybrid learning

The rally organized by Davis Socialist Association and Cops Off Campus demanded accessible education through masking and hybrid learning

By JENNIFER MA — campus@theaggie.org 


On April 12, students gathered on the corner of 1st and A Street and marched to Mrak Hall to protest against UC Davis’ instruction policies during the pandemic. According to organizers, UC Davis should make classrooms more accessible for people with disabilities, and the money spent on UC chancellor raises should be reallocated for increased accessibility.

Davis Socialist Association (DSA), UC Davis Cops Off Campus (COC), Students for Reproductive Freedom at UC Davis and United Students Against Sweatshops (USAS) Local 143 signed a list of demands. This list included the following: hybrid modality for students in all lectures, discussion sections, labs and other instructional spaces without requiring formal requests for access through Student Disability Services; reinstatement of the mask mandate; provision of free, high-quality masks for all members of the campus community and permanently upgraded ventilation in all buildings to MERV-13 or higher. 

Megan Lynch, a third-year master’s student in the graduate group of horticulture and agronomy, emphasized how important accessibility is for everyone.

“This is something that a lot of individuals, like all of us, need,” Lynch said. “We all pay for this public university. We all pay in the form of taxes and tuition and fees. It needs to be a university that works for the entire public that’s funding it.”

Lynch also addressed the Academic Senate’s statement that hybrid instruction creates an increased workload for instructors, lecturers and professors.

“[The university wants] to punt the result of their lack of planning onto instructors and not give them enough resources, not give them the staffing they need, not give them the training they need,” Lynch said.

 Peter James Russell, a thirdthird-year biological and agricultural engineering master’s student, echoed this statement.

“This is all admin’s failures,” Russell said. “No work or blame should be put on teachers for the way that classes are designed. Admin needs to get their act together.”

Maxine Valkov, a third-year sociology and philosophy double major, believes that this is intentional. 

“As much as the university loves to try to play toward values of progressive and liberal ideals, because of its history and because of how it’s organized systemically, it can only fail at that,” Valkov said. “This is how the system was designed from the beginning.”

UC Davis’ Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Dana Topousis supplied a comment on the rally over email on behalf of Chancellor Gary May. 

“The faculty have sole authority over the curriculum at UC campuses, including the mode by which instruction is offered,” the comment reads. “Having said that, we encourage students to practice freedom of expression.”


Written by: Jennifer Ma — campus@theaggie.org



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