Re-Cap of University Town Hall Meeting Last Week

“You guys are now mentoring the mentors and helping the faculty to be online and stay online as well as possible and we thank you for that,” President Kaplan says as he welcomes the students attending the University-wide Town Hall meeting on Wednesday, April 15.

He also explains that universities worldwide, “from Gateway Community College straight up to Harvard”, are suffering a severe economic loss to refund students for room and board, employment, and summer arrangements. The University of New Haven is no exception, but Kaplan reinforces the fact that they are doing the best they can in these circumstances to support the students and faculty through this time.

To help combat this, President Kaplan announced that faculty will face salary reductions and that the university is freezing retirement contributions. They have also furloughed staff who are unable to work from home, all of these employees are receiving full medical benefits and Kaplan says that around 94% are receiving the income they usually would if they were working.

After Kaplan’s remarks, the meeting allowed a Q&A session to a panel of administrative faculty to help answer some of the student’s questions. Here are the highlights:

Q: Will students be reimbursed for room-and-board and meal plan tuition for the rest of the semester?

A: Yes, the University is going through individual awards and billing statements and our intention is to make those credits out to students by the end of the month for meal and room expenses from this current semester

Q: What is happening with seniors who are planning to graduate this semester? Will there be a commencement ceremony?

A: The plan for seniors is to have a kind of electronic ceremony around normal commencement time, the execution of this has not been specified yet. There are also arrangements being made with Oakdale theater to have a commencement in person in the late summer. “Everything you would have in the May ceremony; you will have in the summer ceremony.” Kaplan says. This is pending CDC regulations.

Q: What will happen with the SURF program?

A: Faculty is working to determine which research projects require University’s facilities on campus (like labs for science research) versus those that may not require it. Decisions will be made on a project-by-project basis and if a student is unable to perform their research because of the circumstances they will work with the student’s sponsor (faculty member) to find an alternative.

Q: I still have items on campus, how will I be able to retrieve them?

A: We estimate that around 40% of students still have items in their rooms, rest assured they are still there. We are working to outline a procedure where we can allow students to individually come back. However, local and state officials are not allowing this to occur at the moment. As soon as we are allowed to, there will be a procedure in place and if necessary, items will be secured in a storage facility.

Q: How will the Pass/Fail procedure be executed and how will it appear on our transcripts?
A: There is a form available on My Charger for you to fill out and indicate which courses if any, you would not like a letter grade to appear for. Pass/Fail will appear as a “P” for a pass and “U” or “Unsatisfactory” or fail. These will not produce any quality points and therefore will not impact your GPA in any way. You will be able to submit a request for Pass/Fail for any or all of your courses and change your mind at any time up until May 5.

Q: What will happen with SOAR Orientation Sessions and other summer activities like FLEX?

A: Student Affairs and Admissions are working to plan a virtual SOAR for this summer with hopefully an early arrival in the Fall for incoming students to complete their onboarding experience. We will be offering three evening sessions as well as three weekend sessions.
We are also working a plan to hold FLEX and other leadership programs virtually and on-ground. Our team is creating contingencies for both instances to ensure the best experience possible for our students.

Q: How is the University working to ensure quality online learning and reduce the inclination of work overload?

A: We have asked all of the instructors to avoid changing the time of any live lecture from the time it was scheduled. We also ask professors to not overload the students with too much work to replace live class-time. We are going to be engaging a leading national expert in how to develop and deliver high-quality online programs.

Q: I am a College of Business senior and was not able to fulfill my PEP credit requirement completely, will this affect my graduation eligibility?

A: Dean Kench has deemed that the PEP credits graduating seniors have already accumulated are satisfactory. There will be no further obligation to complete more PEP credits in order to graduate.

Q: My internship was canceled because of this pandemic; how will I be accommodated?

A: If necessary, we will waive the two experiential education graduation requirements. This will only be done under emergency circumstances; we value experiential education very highly but we will not let it be an impediment to someone being able to graduate. We are working with each department to try and find an alternative to field-work if this can help accommodate students as well.

Q: Summer tuition bills are due in a month and my financial circumstances have changed considerably since the pandemic, will there be penalties for missing the deadline for payments?

A: We encourage students to reach out to the Bursar’s office if there is an issue and we are more than willing to work with students on an individual basis if they need an extension.