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By mid-March, concerns over the spread of the coronavirus emerged at the forefront of the national conversation. Within weeks, nearly every state adopted some form of a stay-at-home order, bringing the country into an economic standstill. While stay-at-home orders were originally adopted to slow the spread of the virus, these orders overlook their original purpose, and will ultimately cause more death and hardship than the virus itself.
Provost Liz Magill sent out a University-wide email March 18 detailing the implementation of a credit/no credit grading system for all undergraduate courses. According to the email, students will be automatically transitioned into the credit/no credit system. Students will then be given the choice to opt in to receive a regular letter grade prior to the beginning of the final exam period. A few weeks later, the administration announced the addition of a “general credit” option. While the CR/NC opt-in policy was created in response to “extraordinary challenges” in the midst of the pandemic, the current implementation overlooks its original purpose and only serves to perpetuate underlying inequities among the student body.
Sen. Bernie Sanders has suffered yet another crushing set of losses in each of the three contested states — Illinois, Florida, and Arizona. These were following rough performances on Super Tuesday and Super Tuesday II, where former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders’ primary opponent, dramatically expanded his lead in the delegate count. While supporters of Sanders’ campaign are quick to argue that Sanders is the best candidate to beat Donald Trump and better at addressing the needs and concerns of younger voters, the results of recent primaries suggest that this message fails to resonate with most Democrats.
In late February, the University Board of Elections released results from the most recent University-wide election which included races for Student Council, Honor and UJC seats as well as a number of proposed amendments. The participation rate for these races was approximately 10 percent of the student body. The lack of participation in February’s student election is only the latest in a trend of declining turnout, down from nearly 40 percent in 2017. In response, many student leaders voiced concerns over this recent trend, claiming that Honor amendments “deserve” a turnout rate higher than 10 percent and that student self-governance is dependent upon voter participation. However, most calls for increased turnout overlook the most fundamental reasons behind student apathy — a lack of buy-in and an overwhelming shortfall of meaningful initiatives.
On Feb. 14, 2018, students and parents across the country turned on their televisions only to find that yet another “Columbine-style” school shooting had occurred in Parkland, Fla. — claiming the lives of 17 students and wounding an additional 17. Parkland, however, was only the latest in a string of tragedies. Since Columbine, the U.S. has experienced 11 school shootings in which at least four people died, or mass shootings. As a result, safety has come to the forefront of the debate over education, as schools today constantly look for new ways to protect their students. Most Virginia legislators and school district administrators, however, overlook the most fundamental procedure associated with school shootings — lockdown drills.