Recap of Tuesday, April 7 Digital Student Open Forum


Santiago Ochoa

Make sure to send in submissions to Student Government!

Bella Biafore, Writer

On Tuesday, April 7, a digital student open forum was hosted by UM-Flint faculty and staff to give students the opportunity to ask questions and voice their concerns during this unprecedented time. 

Julie Snyder, PhD, associate vice chancellor and dean of students, kicked off the conference call by thanking everyone for joining and giving a quick recap of the last forum. 

Other university administrators including Stephen Turner, associate vice provost and dean of graduate programs, and Associate Vice Provost and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Shelby Newport, began to trickle in to the meeting. 

With roughly five or so students participating in the forum, one of the first areas of concern was classes for the spring and summer semesters and online class fees. 

Because of the rapidly changing guidelines for COVID-19 in Michigan, Snyder explained how all spring and summer classes will be held online and late fees for the Winter 2020 semester will be pushed back to May 15. 

While the School of Nursing is looking into alternative programs for their students that require hands-on interaction, the classes that don’t require face-to-face learning will be online.   

In addition to these changes, Snyder mentioned how financial aid can help alleviate the cost of online fees.

“To assist you with the associated cost of online learning, financial aid will award emergency grants to enrolled students over the next few weeks to cover the cost of online fees. The emergency grant amount will match the cost of your exact online fees and will be adjusted accordingly should you change your spring or summer enrollment.”

Students also had questions about being able to graduate early in certain programs, as seen at other universities. To this, there was no final answer. Margaret Andrews, dean of SON, mentioned this might not be available for nursing students considering their prerequisites. 

Some students were concerned about the amount of content they receive each day via email. Being bombarded with messages that relay the same information can muddle the emails where important information is being released. 

Advice from the deans was to visit the UM-Flint website and click the COVID-19 tab at the top of the page in order to get the latest updates on campus. 

There was also brief discussion about the new pass/fail policy and how some students are struggling to get work done due to issues in their daily life. 

To this concern, many faculty in the chat advised students with issues at home or who are just having trouble getting work done to reach out to their professors or academic advisors to work out a plan. Whether that be the pass/fail method or getting a deadline pushed back, there are options.

To close the forum, Snyder asked members to give words of advice or encouragement to students and reminded everyone to stay healthy and be well. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding anything campus related, reach out to Julie Snyder.