Students form coalition to demand Michigan universities stop in-person classes

Published: Sep. 3, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WJRT) - As positive cases of coronavirus on college campuses across Michigan begin to pile up, students are demanding colleges take action to stop the spread of the virus.

“Our concerns were, students are going to be coming back from all over the state, all over the country, bringing this disease with them into our community,” said fifth-year Central Michigan University student Emily Jones.

At Central Michigan University, more than 160 cases of COVID-19 have been connected to students returning to campus.

“They thought they were doing everything they could and they were going to closely monitor and try to keep folks quarantined if they did test positive, which we are seeing is not working,” Jones said.

It’s why she and other students at CMU, along with their students at Michigan State University, all University of Michigan campuses, and several other universities across the state, have come together to form a coalition calling for the end of in-person classes at all Michigan universities.

“Protecting workers and faculty members to make sure they have paid family leave that they can take time off when they need to for having symptoms. Opting out of face to face classes because of vulnerable folks in their homes or themselves are vulnerable,” Jones said.

To cover the cost, Jones said they want universities to reallocate resources.

“To make sure universities don’t come back at us and well we don’t have the resources to continue to pay faculty. The resources to get you a bunch of masks or to pay for food for you or whatever the case may be. That way we can advocate for reallocating those resources and getting students the resources they need, but also standing firm with our belief that defunding the police should be the next step,” Jones said.

Once they have collected 10,000 signatures from the eight campuses, Jones said they believe university officials won’t have a choice but to take action.

“I think the goal for us is to have our administrations listen to us,” she said.

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