Skip to content

  • Print

Questions and Answers with Students: May 6, 2020

May 6, 2020

President Maria Pallavicini, along with Vice President of Student Life Carrie Lovelace Petr, held a Zoom meeting with students on May 6, 2020.

Will we be able to use the library for the summer?
I wish I could say yes, but right now, at this point in time, people are not on campus. Will this be different two weeks from now once we have in place social distancing guidelines, once the governor has relaxed some of the guidelines for the state? It’s possible, but I don’t know the answer yet. All I say is right now, you can’t physically use the library. But again, I hope as we move toward fall with an opening, we will begin to slowly open up the campus. [Library staff and many library services are available remotely and online.]

Will the task force reach out to students (or a group of selected students) and work with us when looking at what the fall semester will look like? Or will the task force make their decisions without talking to students?
Yes, they will be seeking input from students. They will not make these decisions on things that influence students without talking to students.

Mid-June is when the final decision for returning fall 2020, right?
Yes, that’s about when we think we’re going to be able to make the decision.

Do we know if class of 2020 will get a commencement this year or will we have to wait until next year?
Well everybody, the class of 2020, your commencement is on [May] 9, and it is virtual and the link was sent out yesterday to the community and you should have it as well or you can go to the commencement website and you can get the link to the virtual commencement. And the virtual commencement, we tried to make that as personable and memorable as one can do virtually. Key individuals have been videotaped to give remarks. I give the conferral of degrees, kind of a general conferral, and each school has their own commencement. There is a link for each of the individual schools’ commencements. There are speakers and students’ names are called out and the school has taken charge of that and have put their own flavor on it.

The other thing to consider is that the Baccalaureate, which has the last lecture, is also online. And for those students who don’t know about the Baccalaureate, it is usually held in our beautiful Morris Chapel and very tightly packed with people, and four or five different students talk about spirituality in general and also what they have learned at Pacific. It is also a time where we host the last lecture.

Carrie Lovelace Petr: Most of the Baccalaureate portions were filmed in Morris Chapel in an effort to continue honoring that particular space and I think all of us would encourage people to (watch the lecture).

If class is on campus in fall, when can we come back to the main residence halls?
Lovelace Petr: Questions around when folks will move in and how people will move and social distancing guidelines are still being put together. When we can come back will be dependent on when classes will begin and when it’s safe to come back. Everyone will be contacted about that by Residential Life and Housing and given some information about how that will work. And then if there are folks who need special accommodations, then certainly we will work with folks around that.

Is tuition going to be lowered if fall term does become online?
Lovelace Petr: It is important to reiterate that it is our intention at University of the Pacific for us to have classes in person in the fall. That is our intention. At this point, further conversations around tuition, I don’t know that I have heard firm answers around that, but I have heard us talk a little bit about tuition being lowered.

Since we’re not actually on campus during the summer session, will we be refunded the wellness fee charged that is charged to our summer tuition?
Lovelace Petr: I know that Dr. Bryant answered the wellness fee questions.

Rhonda Bryant: There is no discussion about refunding the wellness fee. We have seen students who are continuing to use the services and they are available remotely. I would also encourage students who say that they don’t use them to go look into Counseling and Psychological Services website and health services website, they have a number of preventative and helpful resources available that are useful for every student.

Is there any COVID-19 tuition aid for the summer?
Lovelace Petr: I do not know all of the aid that is available for summer that is specific to COVID-19. And I would recommend that students contact Financial Aid to be certain that they are looking at any options that would be available for their own financial aid package.

Pallavicini: The COVID-19 scholarship does not apply for summer. It actually applies for fall. There may be other aid available for summer and I would call financial aid to talk to them, but it’s not COVID-19 specific.

Do you know how the task force will reach out to students and what the selection process will look like if they are meeting with a small group of students?
Lovelace Petr: I don’t know that the task force has yet reached a determination how they might utilize students and how they will contact them. I think it’s a little early in the task force process.

What are the steps being taken so that the fall semester is safe?
Pallavicini: We don’t have all the steps yet, we’re working on that. The next couple of weeks we’ll have a much more detailed answer to that for our students, for our faculty and also for our staff.

Is there a certain deadline date for summer tuition?
Pallavicini: I don’t know what it is, but it is online. There are deadlines to register for each of the summer sessions I, II and III. You can go to the Registrar’s Office.

Will grading scales be changed?
Pallavicini: I’m assuming that question is for summer because the classes are online. It’s your faculty who determine how grading is done, it’s your faculty who determines what is taught, how it’s taught, etc., so they would be the ones to talk to about grading scales. I don’t know that the plans are and it can vary from one course to another.

Is the university prepared for and or planning for a potential loss of revenue due to students choosing not to return in the fall should the university not open in the fall?
Pallavicini: We are going to open in the fall, but is the university preparing for potential loss of revenue? Yes, we are like every other institution in the nation that is considering the ramifications of a potential reduction in student enrollment. We are no different than anybody else. All universities are considering it. And yes, we are planning for it, to be as prepared as we can be.

How will dining services work if we return this fall?
Pallavicini: This is another question where we don’t have exact answers, but I don’t know if Dr. Bryant or Dr. Petr would like to comment on that.

Lovelace Petr: I actually received the very beginning of some outlined information from Bon Appetit. Bon Appetit, the corporate company, is already working on their standards and guidelines for social distancing and provision of what dining would be. We have not yet figured out how exactly we will implement all of those in our own location, but we have the very beginning of some of that stuff that we’re working on with our vendor. Bon Appetit is well aware of social distancing both for our students, as well as for their staff, and they are already devising ways that they will be able to accommodate that so that everyone can eat and enjoy each other’s company.

Is there a reason the law program is not discounted while the undergrad and PA programs seem to be?
Pallavicini: The decision was made to not discount professional programs and that’s just a decision that was made to restrict the discounting to students who are taking classes in summer I, II or III.

Why are professional programs not discounted?
Pallavicini: The decision was made to not discount them because, one, professional students have other options for obtaining resources to be able to support their tuition that undergrads don’t. Second thing is that we’re really are trying to promote opportunities for students at the ground floor, being the undergrad, to begin to get progressing toward their degrees so they can get into professional programs.

Is study abroad for fall still active?
Pallavicini: That’s a good question. My intuition would say no, that it’s very unlikely. I could be wrong of course. We do know that even for international students some of the visas are not even going to be issued at all until mid-fall to late-fall. Of course, those are for students coming here and we don’t know what the COVID-19 situation will be at that time, not even in our country or even in another country. I could say the jury is out on that, but my intuition would be that we would not be doing study abroad for fall, but I could be wrong on that. 

Will UOP provide masks when we return?
Pallavicini: Another detail that is going to be worked on by the task force. A lot will be dependent upon what the guidelines are at that particular time and what we feel we need to do to keep our students healthy and safe. Whether UOP provides them or students are asked to provide their own PPE is all to be determined.

Is there any way to discount lab fees since we are not actually in the labs using the equipment?
Pallavicini: I mentioned earlier that we’re looking into this now and we’ll get back when we finish the analysis.

Will the reduction in usage of Bon Appetit cause them to charge more next year?
Pallavicini: That is a Dr. Petr or Dr. Bryant question.

Lovelace Petr: At this point, Bon Appetit’s financial arrangements have not changed. I don’t expect them to change on the students’ side at all. At no point has anybody brought that to my attention to date. If there is something that I don’t know—it is entirely possible—but I have not seen anything that has come across my desk that would indicate to me that the student side of Bon Appetit arrangement, as far as an up charge, is in effect.