OP-ED: I Need Universal Pass Because My Step-Sister Keeps Getting Stuck in the Dryer and Needs My Help

Like many of my peers, I am calling on Cornell to adopt a Universal Pass system. This is the only feasible way to reduce the pressure to complete my schoolwork and allow me time to focus on the unique issues facing my family during this global crisis; mainly the fact that my just-turned-eighteen step-sis keeps getting stuck astoundingly deep in our dryer and I am apparently the only one that can help. 

While this phenomenon never seems to occur while I am diligently pursuing my studies in Ithaca, this problem keeps happening whenever I’m back home and it is really taking a toll on my mental state. As Cornell transitions to online instruction, my grade on a virtual Networks II prelim is the last thing I want to worry about when I am prying my step-sister out of our Maytag for the fifth time this week. 

Naturally, every Cornell student will experience this global pandemic in a different way and Universal Pass is the only way to account for every unique circumstance. I, for one, will be assisting my step-sister, at minimum, 15 to 20 hours per week since she only calls for me when ma and step-dad are out of the room. Add that responsibility to my existing schoolwork and I simply don’t know how I’ll be able to manage it all. I certainly don’t want my grades to slip away, but I sure can’t afford for step-sis to spend the rest of her life in there, moaning my name—“step-bro, step-bro”—for hours at a time. Heck, with the outfits she typically wears to do laundry, she could catch a cold if I don’t get in there real quick. 

Ask any supporter of Universal Pass and you’ll find thousands of different answers for why this policy is necessary to help students heavily affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. For me, Universal Pass is the only way to ensure that my family can spend more time together and determine the root cause of this issue.

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