Sujata Iyengar, who has been teaching literature at the university since 1998, said she joined the protest after university administrators made comments about the return plans during a meeting earlier this week that were “a sign to me that they have not thought this through.” She believes the university should think more creatively about ways to limit exposure to COVID-19, such as holding courses in outdoor settings or giving greater consideration to any ideas students believe will be effective.
The university said in a statement, in part, that “(w)e have affirmatively addressed the core of these concerns through our comprehensive planning over the summer” and noted an announcement Wednesday that it has committed $250,000 to two emergency funds benefiting students who are experiencing critical and unexpected financial difficulties.
UGA’s fall semester begins on Aug. 20. Some University System schools begin classes Monday.
Graduate student Bryant Barnes, one of the protest organizers, said the current testing plans will not be enough to consistently test all students and employees. He wants all instructors to have the option to work remotely.
“The universities seem to be adamant people need to be on campus,” he said.