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VIDEO: What Happens in September? COVID-19 & Social Justice in Higher Education

Almost 900 viewers watched as university leaders, and educators shared their predictions on what will happen if schools return to campus in the fall.

Fall ’20: University leaders and researchers weigh in

What are the ethics of balancing institutional fiscal health and sustainability against life-threatening risks? How might we overcome the equity issues and the disparity in access to technology associated with online instruction?

We invited university leaders, instructors, and COVID-19 researchers to address these issues head-on as students and faculty question the moral and economic viability of returning to campus in the fall.

To honor George Floyd and the countless victims of racial injustice, we also convened a second panel of social science scholars and community organizers to explore issues and questions connected to race, poverty, and systemic racism.

Almost 900 viewers watched and contributed hundreds of questions during this event. We invite you to watch the recorded discussion here. We will continue these conversations at our upcoming Virtual Education Summit (July 29–31, 2020). You are welcome to register and participate in the ongoing dialogue.

Join us for the 2020 Virtual Education Summit. Registration is free.

Register here

Panel 1: What Happens in September?

Quotable Moments

There were so many quotable moments from these discussions, but these are just a few that got us thinking.

  “As someone who looks at this through the lens of the disenfranchised, I refuse to engage in economic modeling, where my students, my staff, their families, the communities they come from, are being asked to disproportionately bear the responsibility for what comes next.”

  • Michael Sorrell, President of Paul Quinn College 

“I think the way to make the decision here is based on available evidence and also understanding what we don’t know. What we know is that the disease spreads mostly in confined environments where people spend a long time together … and that’s exactly what a classroom is.”

  • Tomas Pueyo, Author of “Coronavirus: The Hammer and the Dance,” and Vice President of Growth at Course Hero

“I had a moment of self-reflection and realized I needed to organize my online class better. I put myself in the role of taking my class. I’m a better communicator as a result of just taking a step back and looking at how I can make this a stronger course. I’m a much better instructor now because this moment in time gave me an opportunity to look at my own course in a way that I never really had before.”

  • Kelly Richmond Pope, CPA, Professor of Accountancy at DePaul University 

“I’m really concerned not only at the university level, but within all of our communities, that this is going to … dramatically increase in the fall and potentially have a really big impact. So I’m concerned about some of the complacency around that, as well as the fact that people think this is over—and it just is not.”

  • Tara Smith, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at Kent State University

Panel 2: Race, Poverty, and Social Justice in Higher Education

 “I have a Vietnamese student … and she said, ‘Professor Banks, if it wasn’t for your class, I would think that black people were barbarians. But I understand the context now. I understand the context for the race and the pain. I get it.’”

  • Ingrid Banks, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Black Studies, UC Santa Barbara

“When you look at the impacts of white supremacy, capitalism, patriarchy, genocide, slavery and all those things, it has created a condition of mental illness in our society.”

  • Quetzal Flores, Grammy Award winning [email protected] musician, producer, and cultural strategist/organizer

“We are not simply trying to teach social justice as if it is a topic or a discipline, just like history or economics. We are deeply committed to social justice as a way of life. We know that it’s really this commitment that undergirds, but also transcends, all disciplines and even spaces of brick-and-mortar learning.” 

  • Gaye Theresa Johnson, Associate Professor of African American Studies and [email protected] Studies at UCLA

Watch the full recording and learn more about the speakers here. For your convenience, we have also included timestamps, so you can skip around based on the questions asked.

Watch the event recording:

Continue the discussion with the Course Hero educator network at our Virtual Education Summit July 29–31, 2020.

Register for our free virtual forum for college instructors to gain actionable insights on student engagement and assessment in the age of remote/hybrid teaching.

Join us for the 2020 Virtual Education Summit. Registration is free.

Register here