A tenured professor at the University of Alabama in Huntsville resigned this week because of the agency’s COVID-19 mitigation policy — or, in his view, a lack of policy.
Professor Jeremy Fischer wrote: “Some faculty, staff and administrators, when preparing to hold or attend face-to-face gatherings on campus, turned a blind eye, covering their tongues, noses, or holding hands in fear. Breathe.” His resignation letter. “It seems that only when we encounter political and public health crises, our universities will safely transfer most or all of their courses online. But this is a Morality Emergency situations, not timid, timid, or selfish reactions. “
Fisher, a philosopher who specializes in moral psychology, wrote that any professor will be punished for harming public health, such as smoking in the classroom. He said that compared with second-hand smoke, COVID-19 poses a greater direct threat to public health, but professors who refuse to open large classes in Huntsville due to public health issues this fall will be punished.
Fisher said in the letter: “We know what is needed to protect the health of the community and possibly save lives, and we have the ability to do this.” “What is lacking is the collective will to do so. I found myself having to consider me and UAH. Will my ongoing relationship make me an accomplice in moral brutality.”
Fisher’s analogy and invocation of morality and collective is the content of philosophy.But Fisher told Inside higher education On Tuesday, “philosophers are not needed” to recognize “obviously a brutal institutional decision.”
What decision?Huntsville recently adopted indoor Mask mission, But it has no mandatory social distancing, no comprehensive testing program, and, according to National law, There is no vaccine requirement. All courses will be taught in person.
Before his resignation, Fischer asked the university to take more measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including through petition Signed by more than 100 cross-disciplinary colleagues. The university did eventually adopt the mask requirement that the professor requested in the petition. But the professor’s two other requirements, namely, general indoor social distancing and allowing online teaching or taking unpaid leave, have not been met.
The university did not respond to requests for comment on its policies or Fischer’s departure.
Via email, Fischer praised the “smart” mitigation measures plan The nearby Alabama A&M University has adopted this approach, including transferring courses online for two weeks at the beginning of the fall semester, and then randomly testing unvaccinated students every week. He further suggested that large-scale lectures be transferred to the Internet, especially when professors prefer it, there are other ideas.
Fischer only won his tenure in Huntsville last year. Regarding his career, he said that he “is stable recently and I will continue my research and publication goals as before.”
Although publicly due to resignation On twitterFischer cautioned that his story is not about individuals, but “related institutions and policies.”
He said: “In my opinion, UAH does not provide adequate job protection for workers in this pandemic.”
Huntsville is not the only institution whose fall pandemic plan has been criticized. Many professors worry that their universities are canceling prevention strategies because the number of cases has surged again due to the more spreadable Delta variant. Therefore, Fischer’s resignation is not the only difficult choice that professors must make in teaching this fall.
For example, Jason Holmes, an English associate professor at Texas Christian University, recently shared that his wife and two young daughters will move to North Carolina this school year to live with the extended family. Helms will stay in Texas to teach in person as required by his institution.
Helms’ concerns about protecting the safety of his family have intensified because his youngest daughter, a toddler, has a rare heart disease that has only recently put her at a high risk of COVID-19.Family members are more and more concerned Lack of available Pediatric ICU bed in northern Texas.
He said that Helms’ eldest daughter did not wear a mask when she went to school on the first day of this month. Her new district will need masks. The family left after a few days.
“I think you now know the body temperature of university faculty and staff, but we are angry. And we are also tired,” Helms said, adding that he will soon be looking for work elsewhere.
Helms’ standard of work this time is not necessarily what kind of research projects they have, or whether he can continue to write books. Instead, he said he would ask, “What did you do during the pandemic? Did you take care of your people?”