This semester, Penn students are facing a learning experience which is far from typical. One of the larger changes is the lack of a fall break, typically held in early October. After Penn's announcement that the fall semester would be conducted remotely, more than 700 students signed a petition calling on the University to reinstate fall break, which had previously been canceled in June. Penn, however, has stood by its decision, citing a desire to limit student travel and a possible resulting spread of COVID-19.
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Benji Mowatt’s football career has gone through a number of iterations.
The School of Arts and Sciences announced last week that it would temporarily pause admissions for Ph.D. programs funded by the school. This decision was met with immediate surprise and confusion from members of the Penn community. Moreover, there is little cohesion between different departments. Some departments, such as the Department of Chemistry, will continue to admit new students next year, while many others will not be able to.
Greek life is a substantial aspect of life at Penn, with an estimated 25 percent of Penn undergraduates actively involved in fraternities or sororities. According to an analysis by The Daily Pennsylvanian, a number of these organizations are worth tens of thousands of dollars.
The University announced on August 11 that it will not be offering on-campus housing for the vast majority of students this fall, and almost all classes will be held online. This was a reversal from its earlier announcement in June, which promised a hybrid academic model and guaranteed on-campus housing for first years, sophomores, and transfer students.
The School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania declares its vision statement to be, “the passionate pursuit of social innovation, impact, and justice.” However, SP2 does not expand that same vision of social impact and justice to the financial well-being of its student body.
In the coming weeks, the thousands of Penn students who will come to campus from around the world globe face a unique set of challenges as they adjust to a hybrid semester. These hurdles will be faced most intensely by residential advisors and graduate associates, who are students that work for the University and are integral to dorm life.
After temporarily closing in mid-March, Pottruck Health and Fitness Center and other Penn fitness facilities will are preparing to reopen under a phased approach throughout the fall semester.
As the start of the academic year approaches, students, faculty, and families alike continue to worry about exactly what the fall semester will look like. The University announced its plan for a hybrid semester in late June, with all students invited back to campus but most learning taking place remotely. Penn’s announcement also included a Student Campus Compact which stated that all community members must agree to wear facial coverings in public, avoid large gatherings of all types, and follow other health-related guidelines. Still, many questions about social life and safety remain.
Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (D-Mass.) and Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) sent a letter to Penn President Amy Gutmann asking for details on what percentage of Penn’s endowment assets are managed by diverse-owned firms.
Not all students who were committed to living in greek housing for the coming school year will be permitted to do so after new guidance from Penn requiring students to live in single bedrooms.
Since Penn announced its decision to pursue a hybrid model for the upcoming semester, students are trying to decide whether or not to return to campus this fall. With COVID-19 cases on the rise in Philadelphia and elsewhere, it is not unlikely that quarantine restrictions will be reinstated and University operations will need to be adjusted. The University’s June 25 announcement of the hybrid model acknowledges that “some plans could change, depending upon the progression of the virus and/or applicable state and local government guidance,” and Chief Wellness Officer Benoit Dubé reaffirmed that the University’s plan to bring students back to campus is “not immutable.”
Although Penn announced that students can return to campus for the fall 2020 semester, the experience will be very different from what students are used to. Among other changes, all classes with 25 or more students will be conducted online, on-campus housing will be less dense, and all in-person activities will conclude before Thanksgiving break.
Penn announced Thursday that students will be invited to return to campus for the fall 2020 semester under a hybrid model of instruction. The official announcement detailed changing housing and dining policies, an updated academic calendar, expectations for adherence to a new Student Campus Compact, and other new policies relating to campus life.
In January 2021, 2013 Engineering graduate Rick Krajewski will take office to represent Philadelphia’s 188th district, which encompasses Penn’s campus in University City.
The novel coronavirus pandemic and subsequent nationwide shutdown mean the coming academic year will be unlike any the Penn community has experienced before. If students are allowed back on campus in a few months, masks will be the norm up and down Locust Walk, in-person classes will likely be outnumbered by Zoom meetings, and group activities will be limited to small gatherings.
This summer, Penn is introducing an online educational program for rising Philadelphia high school seniors — aiming to provide free preparatory college and career-related instruction to thousands of students.
The Stavros Niarchos Foundation Paideia Program announced its first class of undergraduate fellows last week.
For the past few days, cities around the country have erupted with protests against racist policing following the brutal murder of George Floyd and many other Black individuals at the hands of police officers. Philadelphia has been no exception, as citizens flock to the streets to join the nationwide protests. Penn must hear the voices of these protesters both in the streets and online through petitions to take concrete actions to reduce its complicity in racial violence. The University can take immediate action by disarming the Penn Police Department, and banning the “box” asking about prior criminal records from its application for admission.
If there is anything to be learned from this time of rampant unemployment and violent protests, it is that our lives are fragile and our institutions are fallible. The pandemic and police brutality against Black Americans highlights the need for policy that outlives political cycles — policy that has staying power even as the world becomes a world that we do not know. Furthermore, the global crisis has emphasized that our society relies deeply on the strength of its workers, and that the laws that protect them in return often fall short of their sacrifice.