Cleveland-Marshall Law Students Demand COVID Accommodations to Continue Education

Unlike many Ohio colleges who chose to delay or begin the semester remotely, CSU and C|M|Law avoided this good judgment, in spite of peak Covid-19 Omicron transmission and the inevitable disruption on the educational process for their students. As a result, C|M|Law students  ( including parents, immunocompromised students, working students, first-year students, etc ) are now navigating the chaos of mixed messaging from professors, and C|M|Law administration on the handling of absences and remote learning. After 2 years of navigating Covid-19 as law students, we are tired.

C|M|Law, you say the solution is on us; that if we have a problem, we should rearrange our schedule. We disagree. We are the students and you are the educators, and we seek the solution to be educated properly is on you. Therefore, the students demand a simple and reasonable solution: until the end of Summer Semester 2022, C|M|Law will apply an unlimited absence policy to all classes, no questions asked, in addition to remote learning options during such absences, to allow students to make safe choices for themselves and their families. 

If you are a student who agrees with this simple demand, please sign below. To be clear, you will be agreeing to: 
(1) From now until the last day of Summer 2022 classes (excluding exam periods) all individual class attendance policies will be lifted. 
(2) From now until the last day of Summer 2022 classes (excluding exam periods) all in-person classes that are equipped with an overhead projector and microphone, will be connected to Zoom each class period and recorded. This will exclude the opportunity to participate in class but will afford access to class material.

Reasoning & Details
1. Attendance Policy: C|M|Law administration has been clear that all "Covid-19 related absences" have been and will continue to be excused. But what counts as a Covid-19 related absence? If your child is sent home because they came in contact with another student at their school with Covid-19? What about if you have cold symptoms but are rushing from your job and don't have time to go get tested before class? What about if you live with someone who has cold symptoms but hasn't had time to get tested - should you come to sit in a classroom of 75 people and potentially expose them? Do you, a student, want to email the assistant dean or your professor with each and every one of these personal health and family-related questions? Students need to make these choices for themselves.

It is simply illogical, impracticable, and unfair, both to students and professors, to have dozens of different sets of vague absence policies. If there is an ABA requirement of hours, tell the students exactly the number of hours we need to reach and let us navigate that on our own, via remote and in-class learning and an honor code system. As future attorneys, if we can not navigate that simple requirement we should not be here. If students abuse this system, it will be reflected in our grades and we alone will suffer the consequences. 

2. Remote Learning: From now until the last day of Summer 2022 (excluding exam periods) all in-person classes that are equipped with an overhead projector and microphone, will be connected to Zoom each class period and recorded to accommodate students who are absent or are too ill to participate. To be clear, we are not demanding that professors duel teach. We are simply demanding that while they teach their in-person class, they have Zoom connected and record their lectures. All Zoom recordings will be posted either in Blackboard or emailed out to the class by the end of the day, whichever is preferable to the professor. 

Most of us agree that remote learning is sub-par to in-person learning, however, it is a welcome solution when life demands that we prioritize our health and safety. Unlike other disciplines, the law (particularly for 1L and core courses) is often taught linearly. For the student, missing one or multiple classes is a challenge to make up, and asking professors to individually work with students to do so is burdensome beyond practicable. Additionally, depending on the professor, the culture at C|M|Law regarding their willingness to do so can range from extremely accomodating, to downright hostile. When a student is out with Covid-19 themselves or is out caring for a loved one, having the option to view the class remotely, or view the class recording later to acquire the material relieves the burden on both the student and the professor. Is this solution perfect? Of course not. It removes the student's availability to participate and ask questions in real-time, and limits the professor's academic freedom. However, this is a temporary compromise when students feel it is us who have been making far too many of the compromises for the last two years.

The pandemic is not over. The pressure we are under is still very much present. We need you to trust us. We need you to start listening to the solutions we are offering. 

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