Harvard Law students are criticizing the school for its ‘stringent’ policy on class recordings arguing that the law school isn’t doing enough to ensure that its most vulnerable students are included.
The Law School’s policies state that students are allowed to request lecture recordings in the case of a “religious holiday, birth of a child, death of an immediate family member, significant personal or medical emergency, or military service.” For students abroad or for those affected by the pandemic, however, the law school is falling short, The Harvard Crimson reports.
“In some countries, there’s a possibility of having constant and steady electricity,” Victor O. Ojeah, a Master of Laws student taking online classes from Nigeria, tells the Crimson. “In others like mine, electricity is really a luxury.”
Other students, such as Anita T. Alem, say the law school treats students in a ‘strict, punitive’ manner and makes it difficult for them to access class recordings.
“There’s just something so off about how [the Dean of Students’ Office] is navigating the situation during a pandemic, where we need to set policies that are somehow so specific because we need to be treating students in some very strict, punitive manner,” she tells the Crimson.
Last fall, students circulated a petition that called on the Law School to change its strict recording policies. The petition has since been signed by more than 300 students and includes perspectives from a variety of students facing challenging circumstances.
“The administration interacts with a lot of students who aren’t in more difficult scenarios,” Anna J. Dorman, a third-year student who circulated the petition, tells the Crimson. “We wanted to make sure that these were people that they were thinking of when making their policy, and realizing that there are a lot of students who are in situations that are more difficult.”
In response to the petition last September, then-Dean of Students Marcia L. Sells replied,
“We have done our best — through measures such as the tech fund, the allocation of rooms in North Hall, the scheduling of some classes at hours more consistent with remote time zones, and coordinate note-taking for all 1L classes — to mitigate the impact.”