Students talk online classes, professor layoffs

Canisius students comment on the layoffs and adjusting to classes during the pandemic.

Students reflect upon the recent changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the layoffs that took place over the summer. (Griffin File Photo)

By Steph Wetzel and Lauren Schifley

Students all across the U.S. are still adjusting to online classes and the unique challenges that come along with being a student in 2020. Canisius students were faced with an even bigger challenge: having to adjust to online learning, some of their professors being laid off and even their classes or majors being cut. 

Frustration and burnout are two common themes that students are all too familiar with this year. 

Sophomore Madison Ross said, “Online learning is not learning, it is teaching yourself.” Ross goes on to say that a big part of education is being able to have hands-on experiences and connect with professors face-to-face. 

Ross recognizes that it ultimately comes down to individual students’ motivations, but she says that it’s hard for students to stay motivated for online learning in the same way that you would for an in-person class.

Other students feel that this semester, while not ideal, is going relatively well for them.

Freshman Sarah Lynch said that her classes are going relatively well and that she is grateful for the ability to be on campus and for the two in-person classes that she has.

“All of my professors have been extremely helpful in the transition to being mostly online, and using Zoom wasn’t much different from the end of my senior year in high school,” Lynch said. 

Sophomore Gregory Kuhn says that online learning has gone well for him because he has been able to stay on top of his work and effectively communicate with his professors. 

Kuhn said, “During this time, I really feel for those students/professors who might not have a stable internet connection or working laptop, as this current situation has called for this type of technology to be introduced.” 

Kuhn said that we’re still working out the problems with the system and that we have to be grateful for what we have now, even if it isn’t what we expected or wanted.

In addition to adjusting to online learning, whether it be with frustration or with happiness, many students also have their own opinions regarding layoffs earlier this fall. 

Mason Bowes, a freshman majoring in English and philosophy, is passionate about liberal arts at this school. 

“Cutting various humanities-related programs is a direct insult to ‘Cura Personalis.’ The humanities are central to education and every institution should have just as much respect for the arts just as it does for science,” Bowes stated. 

Following this sentiment, Lynch said, “It is unfortunate that so many brilliant minds had to leave, especially since I know some current and graduated students who have had classes with these professors. They told me about the impact they have made on them in helping them with their future careers.” 

Furthermore, some students recognize that tough decisions had to be made with everything going on in the world, but that the way that things happened is still unfortunate.

Lynch says that she understands that it is hard to satisfy everyone in such a tumultuous time, which makes this situation difficult. 

Kuhn, a sophomore, said, “Personally, I feel that the professor layoffs weren’t a terrible thing especially if these classes happened to be less popular and were never filled enough to make it worthwhile for the professor to conduct it. However, I think it was a bit unfair for the school to announce this without prior notice, which is why I don’t 100% agree with the decision that was made.” 

Jesse Brodka, a senior majoring in English and education, is another student who was directly affected by the layoffs, and one that feels very strongly on the subject. 

“I was definitely not expecting the cuts to be this extreme. Especially since we cut so many programs. One of the things that really drew me to Canisius was the variety of majors and minors. And I already know people who decided to transfer after their program was cut,” Brodka said. 

He was close with one of the English professors who was laid off, leading him to take this decision very personally. He saw this professor at Mass on Sundays and claims that they were always very active and engaging in the classroom. 

“I think the worst part about the cuts is seeing the administration act like nothing has happened. We’re hurting right now, as a whole community. And it’s the responsibility of our leaders to acknowledge and address that pain,” Brodka stated. 

Students everywhere are struggling with adjusting to online classes and even in-person classes with COVID-19 regulations. 

In addition, Canisius students were forced to tackle their professors’ layoffs and the related cuts in their classes and majors. 

“It’s important now to showcase the incredible work of our professors, especially those in the humanities. The cuts have made me frustrated with the college, but I’m proud to be a Griff because I’m proud of my professors and all the work they continue to do. Those professors deserve our appreciation now more than ever,” Brodka said. 

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