By Sophie O’Reilly
As COVID-19 continues to rapidly change and evolve, our community is changing too. Hendrix has made some meaningful updates to school policy and campus systems, particularly gearing up for the return to campus in the fall. Given our current chaos, some of these policy changes have fallen off the radar of students. We hope to bring some of these changes to the surface and underscore updates from the college.
First and foremost, Hendrix has created a Frequently Asked Questions that covers COVID-19 related updates. Here, you can find the most recent communication from the university, as well as the COVID-19 dashboard, where you can review testing statistics for the Hendrix community and surrounding counties. This site also includes information about contact tracing, a frequently updated timeline for our return to campus, and general health and safety reminders. Checking this web page and all communication sent to your Hendrix student email is one of the best ways to stay up to date.
As the website highlights, all Hendrix community members received an email from the college on October 1st with a slew of important university updates. It’s a doozy, so let’s try to break it down a bit:
- The Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees and Senior Leadership Team voted to continue learning remotely until January.
- Upgrades to technology services and internal contact tracing are underway.
- Dining services and air quality in campus buildings are currently under reevaluation.
- The new community health clinic is in the process of expanding its testing capacity, as well as shortening testing turnaround time.
- An optional tuition-free fifth academic year is being offered; the school has a dedicated web page with information about who’s eligible, what it will cost, and other details.
Additionally, Hendrix will be releasing a reinvented tuition cost for students entering for the first time in the fall of 2021. Ryan Cassell, Vice President of Enrollment, notes that the changes’ primary purpose was to bridge the gap preventing students from applying to Hendrix: the price tag is hefty, so the tuition decrease is intended to increase accessibility. To avoid having to recalculate everyone’s financial aid, current students will not be included in this shift. However, all students will still be paying the same amount as they would before the change. Percentage-wise, it works out to be closer to a net zero: tuition is being lowered, but so is financial aid. Thus, if you were paying $10,000 a year before the tuition change, you will still pay $10,000 now.
Not all updates on campus are directly related to COVID-19, though. Title IX, a civil rights law that protects people from sex-based discrimination on campus, has been reformed on a federal level. Dr. Vetter, Hendrix’s Title IX investigator and Education Coordinator, highlighted a couple of particularly important updates to this legislation at a Student Senate meeting on September 8th. Some of the key takeaways are that (1) incidents reported under Title IX must have occurred on school property and between two Hendrix students, and (2) that a live hearing with a cross-examination component is now mandatory. Being informed about these changes is essential to keeping our campus safe. If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, you can reach out to Dr. Vetter at firstname.lastname@example.org.We know that this is a crazy time for everyone in our community and the nation as a whole. Because of this, we want to direct you to some of the resources provided by the college for coping with these stressful times. Most importantly, fret not, and begin preparing for the transition back to campus. Things will undoubtedly be different, but we will get through this. Keep up with communications from the college, wear a mask, exercise your right to vote, be kind to one another, and, most importantly, be kind to yourself.
This article was featured in the Issues Issue. Check out the Issues Issue in its full glory here.