University Education

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Universities filed a lawsuit against Trump administration over directive stripping foreign students of their F-1 visas
Universities filed a lawsuit against Trump administration over directive stripping foreign students of their F-1 visas
Credit: Photo by Senthil Balasubramanian. – U.S. Department of Energy from United States / Public domain

In a move that was considered to pressure universities to reopen, the Trump administration announced a directive on Monday that would force international students to return to their home countries if all of their classes and coursework were taken remotely.

"It appears that it was designed purposefully to place pressure on colleges and universities to open their on-campus classrooms for in-person instruction this fall, without regard to concerns for the health and safety of students, instructors, and others," so Lawrence S. Bacow, President of Harvard University.

In response to the directive, Harvard and M.I.T have filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration, seeking "a temporary restraining order and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief preventing Defendants from enforcing the policy announced in ICE’s July 6 Directive, or promulgating it as a Final Rule" and "a declaration that the policy announced in the July 6 Directive is unlawful."

Education • University Education
Harvard announces reopening plans, only allowing up to 40% of students on campus
Harvard Law Building, Cambridge, United States
Harvard Law Building, Cambridge, United States Credit: Karakis

On Monday, Harvard University announced its reopening plans for the next academic year. All first-year students are set to attend courses on campus during the fall semester but will be studying remotely in spring so seniors can return before their graduation. Furthermore, the university will only allow up to 40 percent of its undergraduate students on campus, asking the rest of its student body to study remotely while fees and tuition will remain the same.

Education • University Education
Academic Faculty of Georgia Tech releases statement criticising campus reopening plans
Tech Tower at the Georgia Institute of Technology.
Tech Tower at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Credit: brookenovak (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)

A statement released and signed by over 850 members of the Academic Faculty of Georgia Tech, states that the current reopening plan of the university "endangers our research and education missions and, most importantly, threatens the health, wellbeing and education of students, staff, and faculty."

"We are alarmed to see the Board of Regents and the University System of Georgia mandating procedures that do not follow science-based evidence, increase the health risks to faculty, students, and staff, and interfere with the nimble decision-making necessary to prepare and respond to Covid-19 infection risk," the statement said.

The Georgia Tech faculty further added four points they believe are the "best way forward to ensure a safer start of the Fall 2020."

Among those points are mandatory face masks everywhere on campus, making remote education the default mode of 2020, on-campus education for a limited number of students "who need access to campus residences and on-campus laboratories or other specialized facilities". The faculty also calls to empower the "President of Georgia Tech to act independently to safeguard the health and safety needs of the Georgia Tech community, informed by scientific evidence."

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First black woman student body president elected at MIT
Maclaurin Buildings and Great Dome at MIT, Cambridge
Maclaurin Buildings and Great Dome at MIT, Cambridge Credit: Carol M. Highsmith / Public domain

Danielle Geathers, alongside running mate Yu Jing Chen, was elected as president of the Undergraduate Association at MIT, Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Geathers, who previously served as the diversity officer, is the first black woman in the university's 159-year-history to be elected as student body president. “Although some people think it is just a figurehead role, figureheads can matter in terms of people seeing themselves in terms of representation. Seeing yourself at a college is kind of an important part of the admissions process", so Geathers.

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First woman with down syndrome graduates from Rowan University

AnnaRose Rubright has graduated from Rowan University, New Jersey as the first person with down syndrome at the beginning of May after completing a four-year program in radio, television and film. Rubright stated that "most of my family members cried" and that "it was very emotional for me and a bit overwhelming". As the first oldest of six daughters, she felt the importance to show her sisters that she could accomplish her dreams. The director of the academic success center and disability resources at Rowan University, John Woodruff, has stated that the standards for people with disabilities at the university are not lower, but that the university provides accommodations the help.

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Major Canadian Universities are Likely to Start Fall Semesters Online

Many Canadian universities, including the University of British Columbia and McGill University and Montreal, have announced that they will start offering courses online. However, it has also been said that labs and other activities requiring in-person attendance will be held in smaller groups.

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Princeton University announces first black valedictorian

Princeton, one of the eight Ivy League colleges, has announced its first black valedictorian in its 274-year history. Nicholas Johnson, a Montreal native, is majoring in financial engineering and operations research and has previously worked as a software engineer at Google.

"It feels empowering. Being Princeton's first Black Valedictorian holds special significance to me particularly given Princeton's historical ties to the institution of slavery," Johnson told CNN.

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Yale University publishes course about happiness online for free

The course with the title "Psychology and the Good Life" was originally taught in spring 2018 by the psychology professor Laurie Santos. Since then it has become the most demanded course at the university with over 1,182 enrolled students. Due to the huge request, Laurie Santos has adapted the course for online learning and published it on Coursera, gathering over 600,000 enrolled students.