Editors note: Certain parts of this article have been updated for clarity on April 17, 2020.
President Donald Taylor sat down for a Loquitur-exclusive conference call to answer questions submitted online by concerned students on March 31, 2020. Eric Olson, the vice president of finance, also participated in the interview. Snippets of the interview can be found on Loquitur’s Instagram.
- What will happen to commencement?
On the morning of Sunday, May 17, the original date for commencement, President Taylor will host a virtual commencement where he will confer the degrees. For undergraduates, he will also present the awards that are typically announced at the annual Honors Convocation ceremony. That afternoon there will be another virtual commencement for the Graduate students. The university has elected to postpone the in-person commencement until Aug. 8. Taylor plans to make the ceremony as close as possible to a normal ceremony, but if there are still social distancing mitigations, he said that there may have to be some alterations to how commencement is carried out. “Typically, a lot of graduating students, they will come up on stage and bear hug me and all that stuff… so there may not be any of that. But I think it’s really important for our students to have a live ceremony as almost 40 percent of our undergrads are first-gen students,” Taylor said.
More information and updates on commencement can be found on the university website and on Loquitur.
- How will Senior Week be affected?
Senior Week will be hosted virtually by SEaL on May 11-17. They have planned a variety of different programming and online events. Announcements from SEaL can be found here.
On April 6, a video was posted to the Cabrini University Instagram story. In the video, a representative from the Alumni Association said, “Seniors, we did not forget about you. We’re working on a special event just for you once this is all over. Go Cavs.”
- When can I return to my dorm and get the rest of my belongings?
Due to the shelter-in-place orders being enforced nationwide, Cabrini has had to extend campus closure indefinitely. With many students having evacuated with only a few weeks’ worth of their belongings, many are questioning when they will be allowed to return and move out entirely.
Residence Life is currently working on a plan for students to retrieve their items in an orderly way while still following public health procedures. These instructions may be released sometime in the next month.
- Will tuition be refunded?
“With the classroom instruction moving fully online, as well as the support functions, the goal is to get everybody to the end of the semester and completing all the coursework so we’re not planning to provide refunds or credits for tuition at this time,” Olson said.
Taylor also confirmed that the cost of tuition in subsequent years will not be impacted by the current situation.
“We have already set our tuition pricing for next year,” Taylor said. “We set that in the fall way before this crisis. At this point we have no intention of changing our tuition rates for next year nor do we see ourselves doing it for the years going forward beyond what would be normal inflationary measures.”
- I’m a commuter, will my meal plan be reimbursed?
Yes, prorated meal plan costs for both residents and commuters are going to be included in the adjustment.
- Is my parking permit going to be refunded?
“Yes, in addition to providing credits for room and board the University does intend to provide credits for other incidental expenses such as parking,” Olson said.
- How can I return my book rentals?
The process is the same. Students can ship back their books for free going through the Cabrinishop.com website. The Campus Store is offering free shipping return labels and is also extending the non-return period without penalty to assist with increased returns by mail. Click the COVID-19 message on the home page of cabrinishop.com for details. The Campus Store is aware and understands that some students may have left rental books in their dorms which they currently cannot access and just request that students make their best efforts to return their books as soon as they can in May since other students will start needing those books in the summer. More information, as well as a full FAQ, can be found here.
- Will my summer classes be online?
Summer housing will not be provided for Summer 1 courses. Summer 1 courses (beginning May 18) will be conducted in an online-only format. In an update email sent to students on April 3, students registered for summer courses were told they can expect updates on “class modality for the full duration of Summer 1” to be available by June 1.
- Can I make my classes Pass/Fail?
Students who wish to apply for the “pass/fail” option must obtain approval from their professor, their academic advisor and the registrar. These adjustments must be made prior to Finals Week.
Dr. Chioma Ugochukwu, provost and vice president for academic affairs, will be putting together an FAQ to answer further questions related to the pass/fail adjustments in addition to the email that was previously sent out to students on March 27, 2020.
- What is the plan if this pandemic continues into the fall semester?
The University is currently forming contingency plans depending on how long the shelter-in-place mitigations will last, according to Taylor. Taylor, who has a Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology, is familiar with how viruses operate. He is taking into consideration the many possible outcomes of the current situation. The University is not only preparing for when the virus subsides but is also planning if it lasts longer than expected or even if the virus were to go dormant and reemerge again next year.
“We will have contingency plans for all those different scenarios,” Taylor said.
- What’s the first thing on your list when things return to normal?
“Throwing a big party,” Taylor said. “Some kind of a celebration for all the students and the entire faculty/staff and community so that we can celebrate how we continued to work together and support one another. Believe me, it is not lost on me how much of a disruption this is, for the students and our graduating seniors, this is certainly not the semester they had hoped for… We need to embrace the fact we came out on the other side.”
President Taylor sends his thanks to all the students, faculty, staff and alumni for their patience and for sticking together to support the Cabrini community during this difficult time.
“We’re all in it together and so please continue working together to support each other,” Taylor said in closing. “We wish everyone first and foremost to be well and be safe. As we enter the Holy Week, this is certainly a time for us to be thankful for all the blessings we have but also to lift up those families who have been affected worldwide. I wish you all the best.”