Opinion: How Should the College Heal from the Pandemic?

Compiled by George Malian, Opinions Editor

We asked faculty, staff, and students how they think the College should move forward from the pandemic. Here’s what they had to say:

Hakim Williams, Professor of Africana Studies and Peace and Justice Studies

Hakim Williams (Photo Provided)

Hakim Williams (Photo Provided)

“I think that healing will look differently for different aspects of the community. I think that it’s important that faculty, and many already do this, be increasingly welcoming to students bringing their whole selves, as much as they would like to, in very intentional ways, into the classroom. Faculty are not therapists, but I think too often students leave many non-academic issues out of the classroom. We should allow students to bring more of themselves into the classroom space because I think it enriches their experience.”

Syd Quan ’22, President of Student Senate, Biology Major, Peace and Justice Studies Minor

(Photo provided)

Syd Quan ’22 (Photo provided)

“There’s more pressure for seniors to lead by example. Whether that be in Greek life, clubs, or organizations, there has to be more emphasis on seniors, especially in leadership, knowing what Gettysburg College was like pre-COVID, and somehow translating those same experiences and opportunities to our younger students here.”

Clinton Baugess, Research and Instruction Librarian

Clinton Baugess (Photo provided)

Clinton Baugess (Photo provided)

“For some, this was the first time seeing the educational inequalities in our own community—such as being able to gain access to textbooks and other course materials, having a safe and quiet environment for studying, and even a stable internet connection. I hope that what we’ve learned isn’t forgotten in a rush to return to life before COVID. The issues remain and require solutions.”

Ethan Wilt ’23, Political Science and Public Policy Major

Ethan Wilt (Photo provided)

Ethan Wilt (Photo provided)

“With the pandemic exacerbating students’ physical and mental health, I believe the college needs to repair its relationship with the student body by, first, communicating more effectively and concisely about issues on campus and, second, giving more leeway to students during these times and offering enhanced counseling and academic services. In addition, Gettysburg College, in order to regain its distinguished and undeniable spirit and community, must allow for the return of the ideals, traditions, and events that characterized the college before the pandemic. Overall, we cannot go back and change the past but what we can do is work together to offer a path forward that will better advocate for and concentrate on the needs of the student body, the backbone of Gettysburg College.”

Roy Dawes, Professor of Political Science

Roy Dawes (Photo provided)

Roy Dawes (Photo provided)

“People should continue to be careful. Uncertainty is hard to deal with but we can all hope that things will get better sooner rather than later.”

Colin Hughes ’23, Vice President of Student Senate, Political Science Major, Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Minor

Colin Hughes (Photo provided)

Colin Hughes (Photo provided)

“In order to heal in a post pandemic world, all students must join together in changing the status quo. A big problem I see in achieving change on campus is a lack of coordination between students advocating for change and the Student Senate has an important role to play in coordinating different student efforts. However, the Student Senate must also inspire involvement and coordination by showing it is willing to fully implement the student body’s will, such as by meeting the goals set out in last year’s opinions regarding increasing access to Plan B and disability accessible entrances.”

This article originally appeared on pages 14–15 of the September 24, 2021 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.

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Author: George Malian

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