‘Not MI Campus’ petition circulates online

Rachel Yim, Science & Technology Reporter

As several public universities and colleges have welcomed students back to campus for the fall semester with hybrid learning systems, students across Michigan are still frustrated and concerned about the dangerous approaches their campuses are taking to re-opening.

Not MI Campus is a coalition of students from universities across Michigan. They’re dedicated to fighting any unsafe re-opening of campuses and demanding that resources go to students, faculty and staff members.

In mid-August, Oakland University launched its own petition, joining five other universities in Michigan, according to a news release. It has built a coalition of over 100 students, staff and faculty who are supportive of the demands to the OU administration.

The OU petition demands universal options for online learning as well as protection for its employees such as increased allocation of paid sick leave and more personal protective equipment for on-campus residents.

Kayla Sharpe, a sophomore at OU, is a member of Not MI Campus and an organizer with Michigan Student Power Network. Leading the coalition at OU, Sharpe said she is concerned that the OU administration is valuing profits over students’ well-being and safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am extremely disappointed with this current hybrid method of instruction, mainly because many classes that could be taught online are unnecessarily being taught in person, putting students at risk,” Sharpe said. “If students don’t want to gamble with their lives going to class in-person in a pandemic, they should not be forced to.”

As mentioned in the petition, the coalition’s main priority is to get OU to offer universal online options. This means having all courses offer at least one section online or grant student access to livestreams or recordings of the class as well as making sure all students have stable internet access and resources.

In addition to universal online options, the second most important demand is to make sure all student workers, staff and faculty are thoroughly protected and to encourage the faculty to use public-domain or low-cost course materials to reduce the burden of required textbooks.

“It is so heartbreaking and striking to read the horror stories each student is facing right now,” she said. “From nursing students being forced to do clinicals in hospitals still, to students being forced to live on campus to keep scholarships, the student body is realizing how unsupported we actually are.”

According to Sharpe, the OU petition has more than 100 signatures and nearly 2,000 statewide. She also said that the goal is to build a base of support for the petition if and when they escalate their actions. This action can be crucial as it educates people in the community about the policy of the universities and encourages them to make a change if they disagree with the current system.

“Students are scared, feeling taken advantage of, but most importantly they are taking note of every move the university administration makes in treating our health like pawns,” Sharpe said. “This should scare the administration greatly.”

To learn more about petitions for Not MI Campus or to sign a petition, visit linktr.ee.