All summer 2020 courses, except for research and internship, must now be offered online, and no face-to-face courses may meet, according to the Office of the Registrar. In addition, fees for summer 2020 courses have been reduced to $250 per credit hour from the typical $800 per credit hour billed for online summer classes, according to the Rice Cashier’s Office.
Shut down for the remainder of the semester, student-run businesses are facing challenges filling the financial and emotional gap left by COVID-19. Questions hover for Coffeehouse, The Hoot and Rice Bikes, as well as student-owned East-West Tea and student-staffed Willy’s Pub, as to how they will support their student employees, deal with disrupted income and plan ahead.
The honor council, which upholds one of Rice’s longest-standing systems, has been adapting to their new virtual environment for investigative meetings and hearings as a result of Rice’s response to COVID-19. University court, however, will not continue hearing cases in this remote environment.
For the students still staying in the south colleges, one noise rises above the rest: the sounds of construction on the new Sid Richardson College building. Although most major buildings on campus have been closed, all construction projects on campus have continued due to their continued classification as “essential” under Houston’s stay-at-home order.
For the less than 10 percent of the undergraduate population remaining on campus past March 25 campus life in the midst of the pandemic comes with changes to their living spaces, daily routines and the overall atmosphere of campus.
English professor Colleen Lamos has been suspended, which she said was due to complaints of race-based remarks in class. However, Lamos said she believes Dean of Humanities Kathleen Canning used the complaints as a reason to suspend her for disagreements over ADA accommodations — an accusation that Canning has denied.
Rice will offer temporary housing for medical personnel who work in nearby Texas Medical Center hospitals at Wiess and Hanszen Colleges, according to an announcement from President David Leebron on Sunday afternoon.
Rice announced that it is implementing a staff hiring freeze effective immediately, according to an email sent to division leads and administrators on Wednesday night. The email, which was obtained by the Thresher, also said that there will be no pay raises for staff for fiscal year 2021.
The university's decision making has evolved along with the pandemic it is responding to, with near-constant updates on policies covering everything from travel, academics, campus buildings and housing and dining. Given the rapidly changing situation at the university as the pandemic ramps up in the U.S. and internationally, this article hopes to centralize the information and clarify the current state of university policies in each of these areas.
Last week, Rice announced that undergraduate tuition for the 2020-21 school year will rise by 4.1 percent to $50,310, an increase of $1,980 over the current year’s tuition, following annual trends of the past 10 years. The Thresher reached out to Vice President for Finance Kathy Collins to learn more about the undergraduate costs of attendance.
Restaurants across Houston have suffered reductions in revenue, some over 50 percent, after Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo suspended dine-in service in the county in an order on March 17 as a response to increased concerns about COVID-19 in Houston.
With the transition to online classes for the rest of the semester, students in the Shepherd School of Music, the School of Architecture and the visual and dramatic arts department are confronting the unique challenge of conducting arts classes over an online platform.
In light of ongoing COVID-19 concerns, an on campus commencement is postponed until further notice, according to an email sent by President David Leebron, Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman and Interim Provost Seiichi Matsuda. There will be an online ceremony on May 16, according to Gorman, where graduates names will be read out loud.
Rice University accepted 10 percent of applicants to the undergraduate class of 2024, a slight increase in acceptance rate from last year’s record-low 8.7 percent acceptance rate. Due to Rice’s cancellation of all on-campus admission events in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, accepted students will be invited to virtual events in lieu of visiting campus during the traditional Owl Days and Admit Days.
Rice University’s undergraduate tuition for the 2020-21 school year will rise by 4.1 percent to $50,310, an increase of $1,980 over the current year’s tuition.
Undergraduate students will be able to designate all courses this semester pass/fail after the Faculty Senate approved the motion for academic relief in Spring 2020 to address the academic disruption caused by COVID-19, by a unanimous vote (28 in favor, 4 absent). The senate also passed two other motions: the first will move the deadline to input grades for graduating students to May 15 at 5 p.m. The second states that students will not be “unduly penalized academically” if any courses in progress cannot be offered for completion due to the university’s response to the pandemic.
Isabel Wiatt won 64.5 percent of the vote over Kevin Guo in the race for Student Association external vice president, the only race in the second round elections, which take place in order to fill SA offices that had not garnered candidates in the first round of elections. The results drew the SA elections to a close with a low 16.5 percent voter turnout rate as students scrambled to adjust to college life in the midst of a pandemic.
On-campus students had less than two weeks to pack up and leave campus for the semester after being notified on March 12 that the move-out deadline would be March 25. While many students left or stayed away from campus, some students took an option provided by the Dean of Undergraduates’ office: filing petitions to stay on campus. 77 percent of petitions were approved, according to Dean of Undergraduates Bridget Gorman, including petitions from students who later decided to leave campus.
Yesterday, a petition created by Kendall Vining requested that administration give students the option to pass/fail their classes this semester, in light of all the recent changes on campus due to COVID-19. Vining, Student Association internal vice president, wrote and posted the petition, and at the time of publication it had 2,473 signatures and comments in support from students and parents.