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Student Request for Financial and Academic Accommodations

The following message was shared today with the ASSU.

The following message from Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Sarah Church was shared today with the ASSU.

Dear Michael, Daryn, Alexis, Alain, Jonathan, Princess, Tim, Gabby, Lenny, Michaela: 

I want to thank you for your on-going communication, care and support for our students. The need to change course for the winter quarter has brought tremendous challenges for our students and we appreciate you bringing some of students’ most pressing needs and concerns forward. Sarah Church and I would like to meet with you to discuss some of these areas, and I also want to get you some answers quickly, which you will see below. I’ve included Susan Jones on this message to help us find a time to meet as soon as possible. 

Travel Expenses:

There are a few options currently available for travel support for students:

  • First, we recommend students who have not yet traveled get in contact with their airline to cancel their flight and get credit that they will be able to use for a future flight.  

  • For students on financial aid, their package already included the costs of travel, so the university has covered these costs. If a student's actual expenses are higher than what is shown on a student's award letter, they should submit their documentation of costs to Financial Aid for additional support.

  • Also, the Opportunity Fund is available to help support students with exceptional financial needs.

Living Expenses:

In some of what the students shared in their quotes, it looks like there are also questions about support for living expenses. Some additional information that can be shared with students needing financial support for living expenses:

  • Students should submit documentation of their living expenses using this form and the Financial Aid Office will make adjustments as soon as possible.

  • In addition, the Opportunity Fund is available as mentioned above.

  • For students needing to be on campus, all applications for special circumstances housing will be given full consideration. Students will be notified by Jan. 19 of their approval.  

The students who would have been in transit at the time of the announcement would have primarily been students who were arriving because they were approved with special circumstances and/or were student staff. These students are still welcome to be on campus and do not need to change course and find a new place to live if they do not want to. I noticed one of the students who commented is a senior -- who most certainly would have been coming to campus with special circumstances.  I’d love your help in ensuring students know that if they are approved with special circumstances and/or student staff, they are welcome to be here. I also welcome your advice on how to make this more clear for our students.

The 1/9 announcement with a change of course was intended to be early enough so that students from the second wave would not, yet, have been in transit for the 1/21-1/24 arrival.  If you know students who were in transit, please get them in touch with their Residence Dean to see what kind of support we can provide.

Academic Accommodations

Sarah wrote to all instructors on Wednesday asking them to be mindful of students whose plans may need to change. Here is some of the text:

As you know, the majority of first-year and sophomore students will not be able to be on campus for winter quarter. Students with special circumstances will still be here, as originally planned, including students who were approved for special academic circumstances. A number of students have contacted us with concerns about the impact of this change on their academic plans. For example, some now wish to take fewer units than they would if they had been on campus. Others want to switch to different classes because a class they have enrolled in no longer works for their time zone. For that reason, we wanted to let you know that you may have more requests than usual from students who want to join your class after missing some sessions. To the extent possible we are asking you to help students by accommodating these requests and making materials available to them that they may have missed.

We also encourage students with academic concerns to visit with their course instructor(s) and/or academic advisors to explore any schedule adjustments or other accommodations that can be made during this period of disruption.

Grading Policy

As you may know, the university’s grading policy is under the purview of the Faculty Senate and they would need to approve any policy change. The current grading policy allows any student to select CR/NC as an option for any course—a grading scheme that was proposed by the ASSU and adopted by the Faculty Senate. It is our understanding that the ASSU did not propose continuing the universal S/NC grading scheme at that time because they were hearing that students valued choice in the grading scheme for AY 21. One important note, any courses taken for CR/NC during this academic year do not count towards the 36 unit maximum normally in place and so students can use this option without affecting their ability to take future courses CR/NC.  

We look forward to meeting with you discussing these critical issues and learning more about where there are still gaps in our support for students.

Susie & Sarah