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On Monday, June 29 at 4 p.m., Chancellor Randy Woodson and other campus administration livestreamed a Graduate Town Hall to discuss plans for the fall semester in light of COVID-19. They answered previously submitted questions regarding graduate school academics, research and international student status. 

Topics relating to Student Health Services, recreation facilities and library access were already covered by the Undergraduate Town Hall held earlier. 

ACADEMICS:

According to Louis Hunt, senior vice provost for Enrollment Management and Services, graduate student tuition has not changed. Graduate students will be charged the same rate and fees as usual,  if they are an online or in-person student, respectively. By July 5, students should be made aware of which of their classes are online or in-person. 

Peter Harries, dean of the graduate school, stated if a student starts classes online, they may be able to switch back to in-person locations if conditions improve on campus. However, this will largely depend on the classroom capacity and will therefore be a case-by-case scenario.

However, Harries said he encourages students to look at the Keep Learning initiative through the Division of Academic and Student Affairs that provides students with resources on how to succeed and improve their online learning habits.

GRADUATE STUDENT PROTECTIONS:

According to Harries, graduate assistants should be offered the same amount of flexibility and accommodation as faculty staff. Harries encourages graduate assistants to contact their respective department if experiencing worker inequality. 

NC State will also extend the Graduate Student Support Plan benefits for students whose academic progress has been delayed by COVID-19. According to Harries, students need to use the exception process and are required to enroll in order to receive the program’s benefits. Tuition and health insurance support will remain.

In light of questions regarding graduate student support, Lexie Malico, president of the University Graduate Student Association, along with Coleman Simpson, Student Government senate president, released a statement on June 29 detailing graduate student concerns and demands they hope the University will accomplish this academic year. 

RESEARCH:

Mladen Vouk, vice chancellor for research, said research labs are being closely monitored for public health and safety. Vouk said the Organized Research task force has created concrete plans and the University will be following them very closely throughout the fall semester. These plans will be made public starting July 1. 

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT STATUS:

Duane Larick, senior vice provost for academic strategy and resource management, said incoming international students will be provided additional asynchronous courses and resources. For continuing students with visas, programs can be extended as long as requirements are still met. 

According to Chancellor Woodson, the University is continuously advocating for international students. 

GRADUATE SCHOOL ORIENTATION:

According to Harries, graduate student orientation was unable to be face-to-face due to the high number of incoming graduate students. However, the University is working on enhancing the online sessions and are currently obtaining videos across campus offices to introduce new students to campus facilities.

For more updates on NC State’s COVID-19 announcements, visit the University’s coronavirus website.

Opinion Editor

I am a second year student studying English with a concentration in Rhetoric and Professional Writing. I worked as correspondent and assistant Opinion editor for Volume 100, and now I'm working as the Opinion Editor for Volume 101.