Provost Wendell Pritchett announced Friday that Penn is adopting a new grading policy which allows undergraduates to opt in to take any course pass/fail, including ones that fulfill major and general education requirements, without counting towards the total number of pass/fail courses a student may take over four years. While these changes are a positive step, they do not go far enough. In light of an unprecedented disruption to daily life and student coursework due to the coronavirus, Penn must switch immediately to a universal pass/fail policy.
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In the midst of a global pandemic, approximately 140 dining hall workers from Penn will be laid off starting March 31. The affected staff members are employed by Bon Appétit Management Company, Penn’s dining services provider. The decision to lay off workers was made by Compass Group, Bon Appétit’s parent company. After learning about Compass Group’s plans, the Student Labor Action Project started a petition for the workers to not lose their jobs that currently has approximately 5,300 signatures. College senior and SLAP member Erik Vargas also said SLAP plans to create a GoFundMe page for the laid off workers.
Penn President Amy Gutmann announced earlier today that this year’s Commencement ceremony is canceled and being replaced with a virtual event in light of the coronavirus pandemic.
Penn students have been navigating a global pandemic over the course of the past few days, fighting for their safety with unclear guidelines from the University that have left students frustrated and afraid. While it is unreasonable to expect Penn to have all of the answers during an international crisis, administrators’ methods of pushing students off campus have been unacceptable.
While Penn’s response to the coronavirus outbreak lacked haste and clear details in execution, the time the administration took certainly shows an effort to make the most careful decisions. Amid other Ivy League institutions enacting many of the same precautions, and small to large scale shutdowns across the world, Penn’s decision should be taken seriously.
The coronavirus outbreak has hit Philadelphia. Peer institutions have moved to remote classes, but Penn has not announced whether courses will continue to meet in-person after spring break. Penn students, particularly those who hail from other countries or low-income backgrounds, deserve answers about how this will affect University life.
Earlier this week, Penn suspended University travel to several countries affected by the coronavirus outbreak, including China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Since coronavirus was declared an international public health emergency by the World Health Organization in January, concerns have been picking up around Penn.
Penn men’s basketball pulled off an impressive win over Brown this weekend to keep its Ivy League Tournament hopes alive. Despite all the passion and drive that the members of the team put forth every season, there will be more than just Brown’s tough perimeter defense getting in their way for the coming years.
Complaints about imminent “midterm seasons” are a ubiquitous part of the Penn undergraduate experience. Many students dread these periods throughout the semester filled with papers, exams, and group projects, but they are standard practice at Penn.
While Penn likes to celebrate the fact that legendary American thinker W.E.B. Du Bois was an instructor at the University, many scholars say Du Bois was treated poorly during his time at Penn.
In a wave of high-profile clemency orders earlier this week, President Donald Trump pardoned ‘junk bond king’ Michael Milken, a 1979 Wharton MBA graduate.
Students and Penn community members recently learned that the Fresh Grocer will close, prompting widespread confusion among Penn students and West Philadelphia community members.
Earlier this week, Penn students praised the University for selecting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie as the speaker for Penn’s 2020 commencement, the first Black female speaker since 1978. While this does reflect an unfortunate lack of diversity presented by Penn’s choices of commencement speakers over the last four decades, it hopefully shows Penn leaning toward a more progressive and diverse future list of commencement speakers.
While the Palestra is one of college basketball’s most historic sites, many Penn students fail to attend basketball games.
Students received an email from Penn President Amy Gutmann last month, which mentioned various actions and investment decisions the University is adopting in response to climate change.
No one can change the world alone.
When it comes time to choose courses for the upcoming semester, Penn undergraduates have to be cognizant of their respective schools’ graduation requirements. The College of Arts and Sciences, the Wharton School, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the School of Nursing each have their own set of requirements for their respective student bodies. But, when students search for possible classes to fill these requirements, they are often met with limited options in terms of both the content and availability of these courses. This lack of options may drive students to choose classes they are less passionate about, even if they are interested in the general topic of the requirement.
For the past few months, the Coalition Against Fraternity and Sexual Assault has argued against the presence of fraternity houses on Locust Walk. These efforts reached new heights last week when four members disclosed their identities at a public town hall. The CAFSA affiliates said they shed their anonymity to promote support and solidarity.
Many Penn students on dining plans, particularly first-year and transfer students who are required to join a plan, find they have leftover meal swipes at the end of each semester. Students can end up losing a significant amount of money in end-of-semester swipe conversions – a period during which students may exchange a limited number of swipes for dining dollars at a rate well below their value – in an attempt to remedy their situation. This is why many students choose not to sign up for dining plans after their first year.
Many Penn students may be embarrassed that Donald Trump, the only Penn graduate ever elected to the presidency, was impeached last month. Instead of passively lamenting Trump’s Penn affiliation, students should use impeachment as an opportunity to fight for policies they believe in.