University Response to Student-Led Petition Via USG Resolution #3
Dear students, alums and other DU community members,
From the moment we received the student led petition via USG Resolution #3 earlier today, I have been in active conversation with the Faculty Senate, Undergraduate and Graduate Councils, and the undergraduate and graduate deans.
Some of the accommodations sought in the petition are under the purview of the faculty. So, the University of Denver Faculty Senate has sent a survey to all senators to assess the support for the accommodation requested, in addition to asking for other options that could alleviate the stress and inequity around final exams. This is certainly understandable, particularly when Black students, facing an already stressful environment, are also coping with the additional emotional toll of discrimination and the trauma it brings. We understand the urgency and criticality of your petition. We have some answers on the accommodations sought right now. Others will be available tomorrow, after the Faculty Senate results are shared.
What we can answer now is:
- Regarding: “the implementation of optional finals or alternative final projects to be available for Black students and to consider other POC who may also be struggling during these testing times.” The Faculty Senate is voting via a survey tonight, and we will have an answer by tomorrow afternoon.
- Regarding: “the immediate implementation of a NO Failing policy for the Spring Quarter 2020 as implemented at Yale and UC Berkeley.” In fact we already have such a system. For the Spring Quarter we have a Pass +/Pass/No Pass system. But No Pass does not mean Fail, and is not entered into a student’s permanent record as a fail or indicated in the GPA that way.
- Regarding: “free medical care for students injured while practicing their first amendment rights in protests now and throughout the summer.” We can accommodate students with free medical care services provided at the DU Health and Counseling Center now and throughout the summer.
- Regarding: “that the University of Denver, being ‘a private institution dedicated to the public good,’ openly and transparently donate a portion of its funds towards the following organizations.” The University is prohibited by the IRS from contributing to any political advocacy organizations. We will discuss what else might be possible with the Board of Trustees as quickly as possible. If unable to contribute directly to organizations, we pledge to help our students with fundraising in support of these causes.
- Regarding: “all internal reports from Campus Safety with regard to race be made public.” Currently there are several reports that Campus Safety makes public that are sorted by racial demographics: use of force, bias-based police reports (contacts, stops), and internal affairs reports. Access to race-based reports is limited, due to privacy law, and must have names and other identifying information redacted before they can be shared publicly.
As soon as we get more information tomorrow we will post an updated petition response. Policy changes do take time to be enacted, but we are moving as quickly as possible in respect for the urgency of this petition and of the gravity of our situation across the country.
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor