Three weeks after a student at Dixie State University filed a lawsuit due to a “subpar” education during the COVID-19 pandemic, students and professors at Southern Utah University expressed satisfaction with their quality of education.
Since the initial pandemic lockdown last spring, over 100 students have brought class-action lawsuits to colleges and universities around the United States.
Ariiyana Ringgold, the student from DSU, is bringing her lawsuit against the Utah System of Higher Education. Deseret News reported that her lawsuit is, “claiming the online classes that public colleges and universities pivoted to in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic ‘are subpar in practically every aspect.’”
SUU has also experienced several changes regarding online and in-person instruction. However, many students and faculty have found SUU’s transition successful in its attempt to hybridize education.
Senior English major Kiley-Anne Larson said that after the hard switch to remote courses in the spring, she was surprised at how well SUU managed to adjust. Larson shared that she’s pleased with the quality of education the university has continued to provide.
Student event director Courtney Shaively had specifically signed up for an in-person class which ended up being cancelled due to the pandemic.
Shaively said that she can see how this might be unfair to students but thinks that, “SUU has done a good job at trying to keep most classes in-person and face-to-face.”
One way SUU has tried to make the transition more fair to students was reduce student fees by 40%.
Faculty members have also reported satisfaction with the new conditions this semester. Professor Xiangping Jiang, a visiting Mandarin Chinese professor, said that SUU’s turnaround from spring’s hard shift has had unexpected advantages.
“In a classroom, there are only a few students in the front row, but now, it’s easier to instruct them personally,” Jiang said. “Now everyone’s faces are right there like it’s the front row.”
Jiang held a small, outdoor meeting for her intermediate Chinese course for the Mid-Autumn Festival, a Chinese holiday that took place on Oct. 1. Jiang reported that her class enjoyed the event while also social distancing.
“I think more professors should use the outdoors for meetings. Maybe once or twice even, during the semester,” she said. “It helps the students keep the connections with each other and their teachers, and it’s still safe.”
Story by: Trayce Bradshaw and Janzen Jorgenzen
Photo Courtesy of SUUNews