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Professors cancel, postpone midterms in wake of election

UCLA professors cancelled classes and postponed midterms and essay deadlines Wednesday to help students to recover from election results. (Miriam Bribiesca/Photo editor)

By Kuhelika Ghosh and Erica Drake

Nov. 9, 2016 6:44 p.m.

Correction: The original version of this article incorrectly stated Maggie Pa is a neuroscience student, Michael Tsiang's midterm will be held Friday, Aradhna Tripati cancelled her class and referred to a Statistics 10 lecturer as a professor. In fact, Pa is a sociology student, Tsiang's midterm will be held Monday and Tripati made class optional.

Some professors made changes to their classes and assignment deadlines Wednesday due to the election results.

Many students said they were disheartened by the election results. To give students time to work through their feelings over the outcome, some professors postponed midterms, extended paper deadlines or canceled classes.

[Related: Campus lockdown disrupts final exams, class presentations]

Michael Tsiang, statistics lecturer, said he postponed the midterm for his Statistics 10 class in light of Tuesday’s election results.

Tsiang added he thinks it is a big deal to rearrange the class schedule and he is still not sure if he made the right decision. However, he wanted to keep the well-being of his students in mind.

Tsiang said he thinks grades are not everything and there are more important things in life. He added he thinks that universities put a lot of emphasis on grades, but the emphasis should be on learning instead.

“Who am I to say what is fair for everyone?” Tsiang said. “My decision reflected what I value and hope it was the right call.”

Khadija Shalbi, a second-year neuroscience student, said she would have preferred the midterm not be postponed, but thinks the decision was considerate.

“A lot of people were really anxious the night before and had trouble studying,” Shalbi said.

She said the enormity of events need to be taken into account when canceling tests and classes. She added she thinks classes should also have been canceled this past June after the murder-suicide, because many students were traumatized.

The other lecturer that teaches Statistics 10 was considering changing her midterm as well but ended up sticking to the same schedule, Tsiang said. He added he thinks his class is a different situation because it is at 8 a.m. which is earlier than the other section.

Tsiang’s midterm will be held during the next class session on Monday.

Miriam Posner, professor of digital humanities, canceled her Digital Humanities 101 class Wednesday.

Mariana Loureiro, fourth-year neuroscience student, said she thought canceling class was the right move. She said she thought that though elections usually shouldn’t take priority over school, the uniqueness of this election called for time off.

“Now is the time to reflect what the next steps are going to be,” Loureiro said. “(Right now) being an American should come first.”

She said she thought people took for granted that Trump winning was an actual possibility. She added she could feel everyone’s disappointment on campus and in Westwood.

“You can really see everybody coming to the realization of what actually happened last night,” Loureiro said.

Abigail Saguy, a sociology professor, extended a paper deadline for her Sociology 162: “Sociology of Gender” class. In an email to students, Saguy said she made the change due to the emotional toll of the election.

Aradhna Tripati, an earth, planetary and space sciences associate professor, also made her class, EPSS 15: “Introduction to Oceanography,” optional and extended the deadline for students’ projects.

Some students did not agree that canceling class was a good decision in the long run.

Maggie Pa, a fourth-year sociology student, said she was also disappointed by the election, but thought taking time away from class could potentially hurt students’ grades because they lost time to learn.

She added despite her disappointment in the election, there is nothing she can do but accept it and move on.

“In the larger scheme of things, the president is only one branch of the government,” Pa said. “I’m not just going to sit around and mope in my apartment … I can’t skip work just because a tangerine got elected president.”

Contributing reports from Isabella Welch, Daily Bruin contributor.

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Kuhelika Ghosh | Features & Student Life editor
Ghosh is the assistant news editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She covers features on UCLA students, faculty and staff, obituaries, events on campus, Greek life and the Hill. She was previously a Features & Student Life news contributor and an opinion columnist.
Ghosh is the assistant news editor for the Features & Student Life beat. She covers features on UCLA students, faculty and staff, obituaries, events on campus, Greek life and the Hill. She was previously a Features & Student Life news contributor and an opinion columnist.
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