Today’s news stories focus on the changes occurring in education, as well as hurdles that students and staff face during the continuing coronavirus pandemic. As always, all stories are curated from the front pages at newseum.org.
After a public outcry, Notre Dame has turned down a stimulus package for universities, alongside some other universities with large endowments. The university, with an endowment of 11 billion dollars, insists it did not actively seek out the additional funding. A spokesman for the university commented that, had it taken the money, it would have been used to help students who had been negatively impacted economically by the pandemic.
Maryland schools have confirmed that they will not be reopening this academic year. School systems will continue to offer online learning to students and schools will be deciding how best to move forward with graduations, grading, and the inevitable catch-up work. Now the debate turns to reopening. Whether it will be a normal return to school or a gradual process remains to be seen.
Fall enrollment at four year universities is projected to fall by as much as 20% this year, with that number rising to around 41% for students of color. Instead, many are choosing community college - either entirely or planning a transfer to a 4 year school later. The biggest reason for this shift is money, as minority families have been hit hardest by this pandemic’s economic effects. Many still plan to attend, but cannot manage the additional financial burden.
According to new Department of Education rules, colleges must now hold live testimony hearings with cross-examination, even of the alleged victims. Advocates have expressed deep concerns that this rule change will negatively affect victims and endanger those who decide to speak up. While proponents insist this change from the Obama status-quo is “fairer”, experts in sexual assault cases warn that this will lead to silencing and intimidation of victims.
Georgia Southern University, whose Spring 2020 commencement is scheduled for this weekend, has moved the ceremonies online. Each constituent college will present slides honoring their graduates, accompanied by famous Georgia Southern alumni speakers. While many are disappointed they can’t fully partake in the pomp and circumstance of a traditional graduation, many shared sentiments that they understand the danger such an event would pose.
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