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Updated Response to Student-Led Petition Via USG Resolution #3

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Office of the Provost

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Dear DU community members,

I want to update you on the important faculty vote that took place today concerning academic accommodations for students who have been involved or impacted by the protests occurring in Denver, and around the country, these last 10 days.

The request for accommodations came from a petition, originally organized by the Undergraduate Student Government Diversity Committee. The petition is signed by Asian Student Alliance, African Students United, Black Student Alliance, Latinx Student Alliance, Native Student Alliance, Pi Lambda Chi, South Asian Student Alliance, University of Denver Hillel, and Queer Student Alliance. The heart of the petition was then shared yesterday, June 3, with the administration in the form of USG Resolution #3. As of this writing, the petition has received over 2,500 signatures of support.

Last night, following consultation with a number of administrators and deans and multiple governance groups at DU, I shared a response to four of the five issues in the petition, but today I want to share the outcome of the one outstanding item that was subject to faculty vote today:

  • 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 University of Denver Faculty Senate poll confirmed overwhelming support for the students’ demand for an alternative or optional final projects/exam for any student impacted by the protests these last ten days. A follow up conversation indicated that senators believe any accommodation process should not contain inappropriate obstacles.

    I am therefore requesting that all faculty provide an alternative or optional final project/exam for all their students in need of an accommodation. One of the options may be deadline extensions. I am officially notifying you that grades will not be due from faculty until one week past the normal deadline (the new deadline is June 25).

I shared the following information last night but repeat it here for anyone who may have missed it:

  • 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. In the case of life-threatening illness or injury, please immediately call 911 to receive emergency care.
  • 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.” 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. Currently there are several reports that Campus Safety makes public that are sorted by racial demographics including use of force, bias-based police reports (contacts, stops), and internal affairs reports.

Best Regards,

Corinne Lengsfeld
Interim Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor