For the past two weeks, I have awoken to more alarming news than I had the previous day. I have read countless articles and social media posts in an effort to learn about pandemic updates, grading policy debates and COVID-19’s impact on the presidential election. I’ll even admit to firing off a few politically-motivated tweets myself, as boldness has leaped into the hearts (and hands!) of many Yalies despite our current conditions. Gil Scott-Heron was right: the revolution will not be televised — it will be digital.
I can’t begin to imagine the burden many of my peers have taken on over the last two weeks. From lacking resources to caring for immunocompromised family members, many in the Yale community have been extremely affected by this tragedy. My heart goes out to all of you. In all of our challenges, online platforms can provide a way to bring us together.
These trying times have caused student activists to join in support and solidarity like never before. Confined to only 280 characters, countless students have taken to Twitter — and other social media platforms — to voice their concerns about social and educational inequity. Yalies have been vocal about universal healthcare, voter suppression and — above all else — Yale’s grading policy in the aftermath of the pandemic. Our technologies have allowed us to revolutionize not only the way we protest, but also the way we come together.
One of the biggest issues currently in debate is Yale’s grading policy. Hundreds of students have organized in favor of the Universal Pass policy, drafted by Yale undergraduates to address grading inequality now that we have limited access to the abundant resources campus life provides. Students have vocalized their positions for and against the policy on various social media platforms, with scholarship eligibility and graduate school admissions at the center of the disagreement.
Despite this contention, there is a lesson to be learned for the Yale community — one that requires a united front. Whether one supports UP or opposes it, now is the time to make sure we treat each other with full empathy and respect. Speaking about how students have the responsibility to be there for one another, Sumaya Bouadi LAW ’21 posted on Twitter, “Objectivity is meaningless in the face of real human suffering.” As so many of our peers suffer in ways large and small, we need to ensure they have a shoulder to lean on using the technologies that now connect us.
While we may not be able to see each other in person, it is inspiring to know that so many Yalies still have the courage and vulnerability to be there for their peers. I commend students who’ve offered up their homes to fellow Yalies, the alumni community for investing in students’ travel expenses and professors for ensuring that our transition to online learning is as smooth as possible.
Don’t forget the ties you have to your Yale community. We must be cognizant of the challenges we all may come to face at this time and in our uncertain future. It is important to recognize that the community we have built at Yale stretches beyond Phelps Gate. But even as we reenter the worlds we grew up in, we remain part of the campus we call home.
I know times are scary, but as we accept the unknown, we must emerge from this difficult moment with the bonds that keep us together stronger than they have ever been before. Let the innumerable emails, social media posts and outpouring of love be a testament to that.
ZAPORAH PRICE is a first year in Ezra Stiles College. Her column runs on alternate Tuesdays. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org .