The Center for Development Economics (CDE) will defer admissions for its incoming class of students to the 2021-22 academic year, while the Graduate Program in the History of Art will proceed with a combination of remote and hybrid courses in line with the College’s plan to convene an in-person semester for fall 2020.
The College released its data on fall enrollment. It reveals disparities by race and financial aid status.
According to enrollment plans that 2,254 students submitted by a July 10 deadline, approximately 73 percent of the respondents, or approximately 1645 students, indicated that they would be returning to campus during the 2020-21 academic year–– a figure which Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom in an email to the Record said will be “a noticeable difference for all of us.”
In an email sent out to the College community on July 8, President of the College Maud S. Mandel condemned the federal guidance issued by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) which, among other restrictions, prohibits international students from returning to or remaining in the country if they are enrolled exclusively in online courses during the fall semester.
Yesterday, the College signed an amicus brief — a legal document filed by parties that have an interest in a case — supporting the lawsuit filed by Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) seeking to block the ICE directive. The College signed it jointly with 58 other institutions of higher learning, including Amherst and seven Ivy League universities.
Responding to demands by JA class, Mandel promises affinity pods, other changes to first year experience
President Maud S. Mandel responded on Thursday to a list of demands sent by the incoming Junior Advisor (JA) class, promising affinity pods and further changes to the first year experience for JAs and the class of 2024, while rejecting two other demands. The response from Mandel closes out a week of discord between the JA class and the campus administration surrounding affinity pods and various other aspects of the first-year experience.
Forty-nine members of the JA class sent a list of demands to Mandel, Dean of the College Marlene Sandstrom, Dean of First-Year Students Chris Sewell ’05 and other members of senior staff on Tuesday, following a series of group meetings and town halls in which some members of the JA class advocated strongly for the creation of affinity pods within entries.
In the weeks preceding the College’s June 29 announcement of its plans to convene in person this fall, working groups and faculty worked to modify the College’s academic structure to best navigate a semester that presents unprecedented challenges for students and faculty alike. Still, as September grows closer, there are many unknowns about exactly what classes will look like.
In response to an anonymous Record survey sent to the entire student body following President Maud S. Mandel’s email last week about reopening campus in the fall, 66 percent of the 685 students who completed the poll said that they would likely return to campus and live in on-campus housing.
The College announced last week that it will decrease the cost of tuition by 15 percent this coming academic year, waive the work-study contribution and provide a personal allowance to all students on financial aid for the upcoming academic year. The first to do so among peer institutions, the College announced these changes as students and families across the country have questioned and have even brought lawsuits against universities, arguing for decreased tuition for a partially or completely online education amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
As the College prepares for an in-person fall semester, a large majority of Junior Advisors (JAs) is pressing the College administration to implement changes to the entry system for the 2020-21 academic year, including an affinity housing model for first-year students. Many JAs have raised their concerns with Dean of First Year Students Christopher Sewell ’05 and have asked for a commitment on affinity housing prior to July 10, the deadline for students to announce whether they will return to campus in the fall.
With the College’s decision to welcome students back for an in-person but socially distanced fall semester will inevitably come changes to first-year student traditions, including EphVentures, the entry system and the role of Junior Advisors (JAs). The College’s decision to make First Days fully virtual will affect first-year students’ transitions into college this coming fall, while JAs currently worry that their role is evolving in detrimental ways due to potential changes to the entry system.
Campus in the fall will no doubt be a dramatically different place for those who return, with social distancing restrictions, hybrid or all-remote classes and countless other changes. But despite the unusual circumstances, the College’s libraries are approaching the upcoming semester with relatively few major alterations to their pre-COVID-19 operations.