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Friday 5: Things To Ponder This Week In Higher Ed 7/31/20

We hope you were able to join us for our last Friday 5 Live.  We are grateful to have Andrea G. Harris, Senior Director, Student Administrative Service at Pepperdine University, join us again! We will continue our discussion about well-being as we work from home. We will also talk through how to handle virtual fatigue which will be critical for all of us for the fall.  Please join us on August 7 as we prepare for the fall semester!


The State of Higher Education This Week

This week brought continued rise in COVID rates nationally as well as changes to academic plans as institutions get closer to August start dates.  Georgetown University reversed plans this week and announced it will start the fall online.  Institutions that will have students on campus for the fall continue to release student testing and quarantine plans.  Pace University will have students from 43 states quarantine upon moving in. The University of Texas is asking students to self-quarantine for 14 days prior to coming to campus for the fall.  At the University of Pittsburgh, students will shelter in place for the week before they arrive and for their first week on campus, reporting health daily. Faculty and staff in the University of North Carolina system have filed a lawsuit to delay the start of in-person classes.  We continue to watch the constantly shifting environment of higher education as we edge closer and closer to the fall semester start.



On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program is being cut back.  According to Education Dive, “new requests for DACA will be rejected and the renewal period of existing protections will be reduced from two years to one.” Two percent of all U.S. higher education enrollment consists of unauthorized students: a total number of more than 450,000 students. About half are eligible for DACA.  Left without the protection of DACA, students may be unable to finish their studies in the U.S. There are also repercussions for faculty and staff as well as states’ revenues if the DACA program is cut.


Innovative Educators On Demand Training: Creating An Inclusive Campus



Last Friday a federal judge requested more information about  whether states that potentially ignore the new rule would be in violation of Title IX.  This request for information delayed the preliminary injunction blocking the new Title IX rules which was filed by 18 attorneys general.  The new Title IX legislation goes into effect in mid-August.  The states filing the injunction argue that under the new rules, colleges have less responsibility to investigate incidents, and therefore, would fail to protect students from sexual harassment.

4,300: the number of people who have signed a petition calling on Towson University to drop its $499 athletics fee after it suspended fall sports.



Students have been pushing back on activity fees as institutions cancel fall sports programs and shift activities online for the fall semester.  Many institutions, like Towson University, are  maintaining pre-pandemic prices for student activities.  Other schools like The College of New Jersey and Edinboro University will cut student fees. Traditionally, activity fees go to fund student-organization budgets or campus life and recreation centers. Colleges and universities are shifting these resources to provide online programming or virtual health and wellness support.

“Eliciting the active involvement and encouragement from peers is far more effective than me begging students to wear their masks.” - Matthew Gregory, dean of students at Texas Tech University



The Chronicle of Higher Education reports this week on how institutions are responding to COVID outbreaks traced to large gatherings of students at off campus events.  Institutions are restricted in how they can enforce student behaviour off campus. Responses institutions are implementing include: threatening to revoke recognition of groups that ignore public-health rules and requiring students to sign behavioral contracts.  Administrators are also working closely with student leaders, like those in fraternities and sororities, to train them on risk assessment and safety.
Author: Meg Foster
July 31, 2020
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