AU’s Center for Advocacy and Student Equity announces changes to their policy
During a time of difficulty and confusion among students, CASE has adapted to new online circumstances
Clarifications and corrections: This article has been corrected since it was first published to differentiate between changes to AU and CASE policies. It has also been corrected to state that CASE offers services in the Accommodations and Access department and no longer in ROTC.
In response to the challenges American University students face with online classes, the Center for Advocacy and Student Equity (CASE) announced multiple changes to their services.
The group has also pushed for AU policy changes.
The adjustments include changes in the relationship between CASE and the students who seek out its services, and technological updates to improve online functionality and accessibility.
One major effort of virtual classes resulted in the overhaul and renaming of the Freshman Forgiveness Policy to the Course Repetition and Grade Replacement Policy. The updated version includes more flexibility, allowing for all undergraduate students to retake two courses that they have received a C- or lower final grade in.
CASE is also working to create a Student Bill of Rights, established to clearly outline all of the rights that students are entitled to. The group urges students to email email@example.com with issues they have regarding their rights this semester.
Mehak Chadha, the CASE director, said that her goals are to help her fellow students navigate the complexities of AU’s policies, especially during this unprecedented time.
“Our role is to serve as a bridge from the student body to the administration,” she said. “We’re making sure that students who need accessibility accommodations are being respected in this virtual space.”
CASE offers services in five different departments on campus: Title IX, Conduct, Academics, Financial Aid, and Accommodations and Access. The group advocates for the rights of students in addition to explaining AU policies to those affected by them. CASE also provides resources that students might need when dealing with a given department, as well as many other services.
With the staggering changes this semester has brought, CASE advocated for increased assistance with technology. This includes the Student Tech Task Force, led by the Office of Information Technology, which supports students who do not have adequate technology for classes.
As part of their efforts to be more inclusive, CASE pushed for AU to remove gendered language in its policies.
“We’ve been working on advocacy initiatives in this time,” she said. “These are goals that I had to make sure that students still feel like their rights are being supported in the online space, specifically when it comes to accessibility.”
Chadha also expressed the importance of the compassion that she has employed throughout this time, something that she considers to be just as important as the office’s broader policy changes.
“Occasionally, my responses [to students] just provide them with support; like, ‘I'm so sorry, this is so hard,’” she said. Chadha said she makes sure to tell students, “We’re all in this together.”
The sentiment, she said, has guided her leadership of the office in recent months.
“It's been a learning process, but I think we're getting a lot closer to what works,” Chadha said.