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Columbia urges professors to consider canceling final exams, moves testing remote


Daily Caller News Foundation

Columbia University announced Wednesday that professors should consider making exams optional or forfeiting them altogether as the school has been rocked with escalating protests, according to the Columbia Spectator.

Police arrested over 100 individuals camped out on university property after they defied the school’s mandate to clear the area, according to 4 NBC New York, a local media outlet. University Provost Angela Olinto sent an email to students and faculty that all classes would be moved online for the rest of the semester and that professors should consider making final exams optional or cancel them entirely, according to the Columbia Spectator.

Professors are “encouraged to provide accommodations in their final assessments” such as “modifying the final’s weight, … making the final exam optional, or canceling the final exam,” and must provide an “asynchronous option to accommodate students who have left campus and returned to homes that may be in different time zones,” Olinto wrote in her email, according to the Columbia Spectator.

“Given the evolving campus situation, we are working hard to provide support and accommodation to our students, particularly those who are in residence on our Morningside campus,” Olinto told the university community in her email. “Again, the safety of our community is our highest priority as we strive to support our students’ learning and all the required academic operations.”

All exams for Columbia College, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of General Studies, and the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences that were previously scheduled for May 3 have been moved to May 10 and all papers, projects and other final semester coursework has been reassigned to a date in-between May 6 and May 10, according to the Columbia Spectator. Columbia’s School of Professional Studies and graduate programs in the School of the Arts are not included in the announcement.

Protesters began occupying Hamilton Hall Tuesday, prompting the university to call in the New York Police Department to break up the group and the encampment outside. Officers arrived in full riot gear and used “distraction devices” to break up the crowd.

Columbia President Minouche Shafik called on protesters Monday to disband, expressing concerns about the upcoming commencement ceremony. She noted that many seniors had missed their high school graduations in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and that the university wished to avoid depriving “thousands of students and their families and friends of a graduation celebration.”

Protests have broken out across dozens of universities in Michigan, Texas, California and Indiana among others. The University of Southern California announced Monday that it was canceling its graduation ceremony and the University of California Los Angeles canceled all classes online Wednesday for the remainder of the semester.

Columbia did not immediately respond to the Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Republished with permission from Daily Caller News Foundation

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