Letter to SFU

January 13th, 2022

Hello President Dr. Johnson and Vice-President Dr. Dauvergne,

I am communicating to you regarding the decision that SFU confirmed to return from online learning to in-person learning January 24th.

I understand that you have many stakeholders to take into consideration, and I am pleading with you to take a lead in our society and consider the marginalized often discriminated against community groups. The people most affected by this decision to return to in-person learning is going to be anyone with children, grandparents, disabilities, and anyone with medical conditions and immune concerns. That includes your students and faculty. Anyone who, for financial or culture reasons, comes from a multi-generational or shared home situation, single parents, disabled students or anyone caring for a loved one experiencing medical care is not going to want to be in a 400 student lecture hall, elbow to elbow, vaccination status unknown, wearing lose hanging off cloth masks, during the most contagious time of our pandemic. A return to in-person learning is catering to those who are in positions of power and privilege.

I am in my 40’s and this is my second degree. I have two children at home. I am not the only student/faculty who is attending your school who is a parent who is extremely concerned about the position you are forcing us into. I refuse to attend lectures. My grades will suffer. I am not comfortable attending tutorials, and you are forcing me into a situation I don’t want to be in. How is this decision meant to foster healthy mental health? I don’t ever remember receiving a survey, asking me my preference or asking my concerns for a return to in-person learning.

I am asking for an extension of the already online classes to continue to Feb 7th, and for the decision to be reviewed again at that time. You already have a functioning online education system. At the bare minimum, there should be a hybrid approach for those  who are in high risk positions and the option to stay online. At least it will decrease the numbers in the lectures and tutorials. By enforcing the in-person approach and not allowing the already community groups prone to discrimination to access their education online, I question the motives of this university. This feels like a human rights issue to me.

Take care,

Kim