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Students react to the ISU decisions made in Response to COVID-19

Written by on October 8, 2020

Photo courtesy to ISU 

NORMAL, Ill. – Illinois State University students share their concerns regarding returning to campus and the new implication of ProctorTrack.

In the beginning of the semester, some students felt strongly that ISU’s response to COVID-19 was not enough. One ISU student and SGA member, Jaman Lewis says that from the beginning ISU did not have students interests and health prioritized.

“ISU is doing an inadequate job. I think they should have kept the campus closed. I think they should have prioritized students health and safety before other things. Whether that be revenue, tuition, or stimulating the local economy. I just feel like they’re putting student in harms way,” said Lewis.

Not all students were disappointed in ISU’s response, which included the addition and modification of hybrid classes, in-person, classes and online classes. ISU also added on-campus testing sites.

“People are here and they’re going to do what they’re going to do. No matter what you do, no matter how much testing you do, obvious the more testing you do cases are going to rise,” said ISU student Steven Jordan. “I think ISU has done a good job, testing comes within three days. I know they had that struggle when they first started testing where students were waiting for a week or so, but they have really stepped up their game.”

Some students believe they are faced with a continuous pattern from administration following their decision to use ProctorTrack. Which is an AI software to track eye movement during tests, quizzes, and exams. ISU set up ProctorTrack to be running by Nov. 1. ISU student Jonah Beer combats this decision through a petition that has over 7,000 signatures.

“My biggest concern is when professors have to go back and review the videos or review what they believe is suspicious behavior. That they will either skim it or they won’t give each and every student a fair opportunity for what the system has marked suspicious or untrustworthy,” said student Jonah Beer.

Beer says that ISU should have been upfront about software’s they were potentially going to use and that the timing is an injustice to those who face the challenges of having ADHD and ADD. Beer believes privacy should have been prioritized.

“So to put this in the middle of the semester is kind of awkward timing-wise and they should have known about this beforehand,” said Beer.

Beer says these software’s take much more than just suspicious activities deemed by professors. By agreeing to terms and services, you allow the software to have access to your monitor, camera, and microphone.

“It is good to be aware of this, and I am not one for being a social activist or whatever label you want to put on it. I have never been that way, but I think privacy is such a huge thing and especially in today’s modern world where media has been such a dominant force and over-taker of what we know life to be,” said Beer. “I just think it is important to let people there are risks out there.”