JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Three Arkansas State University students stood outside the Administration Building to protest for all classes to have an online option.
The students are part of the “Students for an Online Option” group, which has around 40 members. They have also created an online petition that has over 130 signatures.
It was clear the students were outraged. They said that the administration had let them down.
“We do not have several options. It may appear that way to outsiders, but being on campus, we are frustrated, we do not have answers, and there’s a lack of communication,” said Arkansas State University junior Marti Boren.
They said they continually see students not wearing masks while inside.
Some students wait until a teacher tells them to put on their mask before doing so.
It’s normal for groups of 20 to 30 students to gather outside to play sports and come into close contact without wearing masks. They say students also get too close while inside buildings.
All of this is why students believe the administration is not putting their safety first.
“Every student deserves a choice. We all have family members who are at high risk. We don’t want to feel unsafe going back home,” said Arkansas State University junior Ben Hall.
“We have asked repeated questions and gotten no answers. I have personally sent numerous emails with no answer. I have attended town hall meetings and asked questions, which they have hid, so other people cannot see your questions,” said Boren.
“It’s not always easy answers. It’s not always the answers they want to hear, but we are always happy to have that conversation with them,” said Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse.
Damphousse said they do not think transferring online is the best option. They will do it if they have to, but for now, they will continue in-person instruction.
Students have the option to speak with their advisor and professor about online alternatives. The administration cannot tell instructors what to do. Damphousse said that students could also take electives that offer an online option.
Students say these options do not work for them, and their advisors can only do so much. To graduate on time, they must take the required classes.
After students spoke with the Chancellor Wednesday, they said their questions were still not answered.
The campus is reporting a total of 135 active cases of COVID-19 on campus.
Thirty-seven of those come from students living on campus while 89 are off-campus. At least nine employees have active cases.