Guest Opinion | A campus shutdown is not the answer

One University of Iowa student writes on how a closure of campus will disrupt learning.

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Thomas A. Stewart

The Old Capital is seen on Tuesday, September 18, 2018.


After having been on campus for just over three weeks, I have finally found my motivation as a student that has been missing for many, many months. When the university sent us home in March, my academic motivation plummeted. Full online learning from my childhood home was the most difficult and taxing experience I have ever had during my academic career. When the semester ended in May, I was practically counting down the days until I could return to campus. Now that we are back, I am so grateful to have found my academic drive.

But now, there is a new movement, one that is calling for a new shutdown, a second closure of campus. And it has caused a massive pit to form in my stomach. I cannot imagine how bad it will be if campus were to shut down again, and for me, my scenario at home is good. There are many students here at Iowa whose home lives are toxic and dangerous, and campus has finally provided them with the chance to escape that. And now, people too ignorant and privileged to see that are calling to send these students back to a place that is simply not safe. I agree that the University should be doing so much more in order to control the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. But for so many students, this is not just a campus, it is a home. It is a place to feel safe and welcomed. It is a place where resources and support exists and where friends can still interact and lectures can still be watched together. None of that exists at home, for anyone. It is not fair that there is a new call for a shutdown. And I will not let the voices of so many less fortunate than myself go unheard. We demand more from the administration, but we cannot close our campus once again.

Peter Mertka, UI Sophomore

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