Students Express Their Frustrations with College & COVID-19

As the university approaches the middle of the semester, students must learn to roll with the punches — but what happens when the punches just keep coming? 

Student restlessness can be spotted from miles away. University decisions, both big and small, continue to send student frustration soaring. From the limited number of student football tickets to the cancellation of spring break, UF students may be reaching their breaking points, voicing many of their grievances on the popular Facebook page Swampy UF Memes for Top Ten Public Teens. 

In September, UF announced their decision to open the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium at 20% capacity, putting the total number of those able to attend around 17,000. Of this number, the university set 2,000 tickets aside for students. Using “a single-game, lottery based system,” the Gators select students to attend the game. 

Each student that wins the lottery has the opportunity to purchase two tickets. The number of entries per student is determined by their year. Seniors have the greatest odds in the lottery, receiving four entries each. 

Despite the lottery system developed by UF, students expressed their disappointment that such a small percentage of tickets were set aside for the student body. 

Alexa Long, a 20-year-old political science junior, said she thinks the lottery system is a fair way of giving students a chance to attend football games. While she said she understood the university’s decision regarding the number of student tickets, she believes having students in the crowd adds to the excitement of the game. 

“A big part of football games is the crowd,” Long said. “The student sections help to hype up the team, which is hard to do with only 2,000 people, so I think it would be nice to have some more tickets open to students.” 

Students were hit with a further blow on Sept. 17 when The Alligator reported the UF Faculty Senate meeting voted to cancel the 2021 Spring Break. According to an email sent to the entire student body, the university approved this decision on Sept. 23.

Long said that she believes UF should have waited until later in the year to cancel Spring Break. 

“I think it is beneficial to have a break during the semester since school can be overwhelming,” she said. “I also think the decision was made prematurely since they didn’t even know how classes would look at that time or everything with COVID-19.” 

 

Confirmation of Spring Break’s cancellation wasn’t the only news the student body received on Sept. 23. In a separate announcement, UF also announced the university’s plan for a virtual fall commencement under the direction of the State University System. The virtual ceremonies will occur Dec. 18 and 19, but UF promises to give graduates “an opportunity to participate in a future in-person ceremony.” 

Miranda Glotfelty, a 21-year-old junior who is a part of the Occupational Therapy Combined Program, said that she does not understand the decision to make fall commencement virtual. 

“I think that if you’re able to have 17,000 fans in the stadium for game days, you can figure out a way to have graduation be in person and at least give the students the ceremony that they’ve worked so hard for,” Glotfelty said. 

In another angering moment, students discovered unexpected balances on their Campus Finances account, which were labeled as distance learning fees, as stated by The Alligator. While Bright Futures covered these charges for many, students without the scholarship were forced to pay the fees themselves. Students were given three days notice.