ASCWU requests final exams be made optional


Bailey Tomlinson, News Editor

ASCWU signed and released a letter calling on administration and faculty to immediately make all final exams optional. This decision comes following consideration of the novel coronavirus pandemic and continued protests in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s been rolling around for a while now, when COVID started we noticed that our students were stressed more than normal,” ASCWU President Jasmin Washington said. “And we know that based off of public health that that’s not healthy and people aren’t really able to function and do quality work when they have such high stress levels.”

The letter specifies that students, particularly students of color, are traumatized, stressed and vulnerable at this time and would not be able to perform during final exams in any normal capacity.

“CWU administration has released multiple statements in support of students in this unprecedented time, but have not made adequate accommodations for those who are affected,” the letter reads.

ASCWU reached out to the Black Student Union (BSU), Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán (MEChA) and Filipino American Student Association for endorsements of the letter.

“[BSU] would hope the university understands the effects of this pandemic, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement and everything that’s going on with that,” President of the BSU Nathaniel McMillion said. “We would hope that the university understands the amount of pressure and stress that puts on the student community as well, because while we are students first, we are also human beings, and we have to deal with life on every other level as well.”

The letter was written with the intent to lessen the amount of stress students are facing.

“The tremendous amount of stress in people’s lives right now is unimaginable, and it’s really impossible for a lot of students to be thinking about finals,” ASCWU Vice President of Legislative Affairs Zackary Turner said.

Washington said that ASCWU wanted to ensure students could be academically secure as the quarter ends and following recent stressors in students’ lives, and making finals optional would be a way to do so.

“We’re in the middle of a race war right now, and you have communities of color who are not only dealing with the effects of COVID-19 but now have to deal with the fear and the effects of their own president saying he doesn’t agree with their movement,” Washington said.

Both McMillion and Washington said the university acknowledging the letter and implementing optional final exams would enforce their commitment to putting students’ needs first. 

“It lets us know that they stand with the movement,” Washington said. “It lets us know that the university hears students’ voices, it lets us know that the university cares about the overall wellbeing, the emotional wellbeing, the spiritual wellbeing, financial wellbeing of all students.”