Last week, the Record sent out an anonymous survey to gauge student views on various possibilities the College is considering for the fall 2020 semester. The survey found broad dissatisfaction with online learning and a willingness to withdraw for the fall semester either if campus were not opened or if it were opened under flawed circumstances.
Collecting specimens from local frog ponds in the Berkshires, manipulating glassware and working with hazardous chemicals are just some of the activities originally designed for Division III lab courses that faculty have had to alter drastically or remove entirely since the College switched to remote learning.
In Other Ivory Towers is the Record’s look at colleges and universities outside the Purple Bubble. In recent weeks, schools nationwide have been considering the question of whether classes can be held on campus in the fall.
In the wake of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the College has been forced to make large-scale changes to both spring and summer scheduling. An all-campus email sent by Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom on April 13 laid out alterations to the College’s summer programs and housing, including announcing that students who need housing will be able to stay on campus during the summer and that normally on-campus research and summer programs will move off campus during June and July.
Student-run Williams for Williamstown feeds Berkshire Medical Center staff while supporting local restaurants
While many students spent their spring break adjusting to life during the COVID-19 pandemic and preparing for the transition to remote learning, Eliza Bower ’20 was also thinking of a way to help the local Williamstown community. About three weeks ago, Bower reached out to medical centers and restaurants in Berkshire County and began organizing a campaign that would connect the two, providing medical workers with free meals and giving restaurants much-needed business.
Following Gov. Charlie Baker’s March 15 order for schools across Massachusetts to close in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, some faculty at the College have had to contend with caring for their children in addition to restructuring curricula for remote learning. School closures were initially set to expire on April 6, but an extension ordered by Baker will keep public and private schools and non-emergency daycare programs closed until at least May 4.
Since Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed an executive order on March 23 ordering all nonessential businesses in the state to close due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, staff at the College were directed to work remotely unless their in-person services are determined to be essential. Staff duties had already been significantly altered following the departure of most students from campus.
In the wake of the College’s shift to remote learning, many
aspects of academic life remain in question, including the fate of the
colloquium requirement the computer science and mathematics and statistics
departments. Under normal circumstances, according to the webpage for the
mathematics and statistics department, every senior math major is required to
“prepare and deliver an acceptable colloquium talk or thesis presentation”
between 30 and 40 minutes long, in addition to attending at least 21 colloquia
during their junior and senior years.
This week, colleges and universities across the U.S. cancelled classes due to the spread of the coronavirus.
On Feb. 18, an anonymous plaintiff under the pseudonym John Doe filed a lawsuit against the College. The lawsuit alleges that the College violated Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 by suspending the plaintiff after finding him responsible for sexual misconduct.