Graduate Teaching Fellows Criticize UO COVID Response

Oct 15, 2020

Representatives of the Graduate Teaching Fellows Federation at the University of Oregon say their workplace is not safe and they’re not getting support from administration.

Graduate Teaching Fellow and student groups say the UO wasn't fully prepared to open fall term amid the Coronavirus pandemic.
Credit Rachael McDonald / KLCC

A virtual press conference Wednesday included a representative of Reclaim UO and statements from Disarm UO and Covid.campus. GTFF members said while students can get Coronavirus tests, there’s not robust testing for UO staff, nor is there enough information for what to do if someone tests positive for COVID-19. 

“Other Universities have already taken these steps and can serve as a model for the University of Oregon to follow.” Liz Fairchild, VP for GTFF external relations said. “The GTFF demands that the GTFF take steps to address these issues and we will continue to work with the university to bolster working conditions and change academic policies that are unfair in a time of global upheaval.”

Others said the UO blames student behavior for the high number of coronavirus cases among the population, but doesn’t offer adequate resources to help those living off campus.

Rhiannon Lindgren read a statement from the student social media group Covid.campus. They said the UO opened this fall without an adequate plan

“They’re now individualizing the blame onto students for making easily predictable choices.” Lindgren read. “We want to redirect the blame from visible acts of individual irresponsibility to the hidden institutional failures of the University of Oregon that are driving the spread of COVID-19 and putting the lives of our community members at risk.”

This month there have been more than 236 cases of COVID-19 in the UO community. Most are students. 

Copyright 2020 KLCC.