As part of our initiative called Curious Cornhuskers, an anonymous reader asked The Daily Nebraskan, “Did anything become of the petition for [the University of Nebraska-Lincoln] to switch to remote learning? How many signatures? Did UNL administration address the petition?"
An anonymous group, Go Online UNL, distributed the online petition, aimed to move all UNL classes to remote learning and implement health measures similar to the spring 2020 semester, in early September. As of the time of publication, the petition has accumulated 762 signatures.
The university has not received the petition for consideration or any request to take action from Go Online UNL, according to Leslie Reed, public affairs director for UNL
However, a representative of Go Online UNL told a different story.
“UNL's administration has fully ignored our existence outside of blocking several of our email addresses,” the representative said in an email.
Reed said this is not the case, and the university’s computer security system often routes emails to spam if they aren’t from within the @unl.edu email domain.
When the university never received the petition or a call to action from Go Online UNL, Reed said university leaders thought the petition had lost its momentum.
The Go Online UNL representative said the group reached out to several university departments. A faculty member, who the representative did not identify, responded to the group’s message and cc’d University of Nebraska President Ted Carter, Chancellor Ronnie Green and one of the university’s vice chancellors, according to the representative.
However, the representative said the group received no further correspondence and said the university blocked the group’s emails.
Go Online UNL has started to expand its reach and work with student bodies at other Big Ten universities. The representative said the group aims to “create a collective that will be able to raise its voice in a unified way regarding our various universities' spring reopening plans.”
“The university’s current plans are deeply insufficient,” the representative said. “They ignore the medical [experts’] warning of a winter that will get much worse in the Midwest as well as elsewhere.”
The representative said Go Online UNL’s goals have always been to make the University take COVID-19 seriously and not prioritize profits over people.
“The petition was a means to that end,” the representative said. “Now this inter-university organizing is a means to that end.”