Giving Compass' Take:

• EdSurge's Jeffrey R. Young discusses the compounding difficulties of police brutality, protest, and pandemic during many college students' finals week.

• How might these added stressors add to the disproportionate level of challenge for already marginalized college students? What can you do to help alleviate pressure for students who face an uphill battle?

• Find resources to support college students during protest and pandemic.

At UCLA, classes are still in session—remotely, due to the pandemic—even while National Guard troops patrol near the campus to stop any violence that might arise from protests over the killing of George Floyd.

Many schools and colleges had already completed their terms before a white police officer in Minneapolis kneeled on the neck of Floyd, a black man he was restraining, for eight minutes until Floyd died. But at institutions where classes were still in session, the protests that followed and the consuming national conversation about racism in America have added another layer of tension and drama to an unprecedented school year.

More than 14,000 UCLA students and community members signed a petition calling on the university to cancel or postpone finals, arguing that students, particularly black students, are unable to focus in the current political, racial and public-health turmoil. “Forcing students to continue on with their schooling as if everything is normal is inhumane and shows that the university does not value students’ health,” the petition reads.

In response, the academic senate on Monday met with student leaders to hear their concerns. But the senate told students that systemwide regulations prevent them from cancelling finals, and that academic freedom prevents them from forcing professors to make other alterations to the timing of exams, said Naomi Riley, president of the Undergraduate Student Association Council, who attended the meeting.

Riley said in an interview that some students want to take time to join the protests, and that even those who don’t have been disrupted by a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by city officials earlier in the week. “That makes it nearly unimaginable to complete finals right now,” she said.

Read the full article about taking finals amidst police brutality, protest, and pandemic by Jeffrey R. Young at EdSurge.