Students and staff at the University of Georgia held a “die in” on Thursday to protest the school’s decision to reopen for the fall semester.
University of Georgia graduate students organized the protest in front of the university’s administration building on Thursday, according to a report by the Athens Banner-Herald.
The protesters laid sprawled out in the grass to appear as if they were in a cemetery in front of the school’s administration building, and held up protest signs in the form of gravestones.
“I can’t teach when I’m dead,” read one protester’s sign.
“R.I.P. Campus Safety,” read another.
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“How many will UGA let die?” read a third protester’s sign.
“When I said I was dying to get back to my classroom, I didn’t mean it literally,” quipped another sign.
In-person are expected to resume on August 20 at the university located in Athens, Georgia.
The report added that protest organizers attempted to present an open letter to UGA President Jere Morehead, stating a list of demands including allowing instructors and teaching assistants to opt-out of face-to-face instruction, free coronavirus testing for all employees and students, hazard pay, and guaranteed paid leave for employees that have to quarantine after contracting the Wuhan virus.
“Leaders across the University System of Georgia are showing callous disregard for health and safety and workers’ rights in their plans to reopen campuses for in-person teaching in the fall,” the protesters said in a recent petition. “They are putting revenues over people.”
The petition has garnered over 12,300 signatures as of Friday afternoon.
“Under the circumstances and given our mission to educate students, it is not practical or prudent to allow individual employees to decide whether to work from home or campus,” said Morehead in a statement, according to the Athens Herald-Banner.
“In order to plan for and deliver the high-quality educational experience our students expect and deserve, and to be fair to all employees, the University must apply consistent standards for work schedules,” added the university president.