News


Town Meeting

Jackson outlines plan for return to campus

In a Webex livestream, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced that the Class of 2023 will not be returning to campus for the Fall 2020 semester. Rensselaer’s plan for a phased return to campus is contingent on the Capital Region moving to Phase Four reopening.

Student Senate

51st Student Senate confirms student government appointments

The 51st Student Senate confirmed 27 appointments to student government positions during a four-hour meeting last Thursday.

Academics

Pre-pandemic P/NC policy returns for Arch

A system-wide announcement posted to Rensselaer’s LMS site on Friday by Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Michael Hanna said the Institute is going back to “the normal rules” of the pass/no credit policy for the Summer semester.

Town Meeting

Fall semester to involve online learning

Furloughs, a decline in enrollment, and a $60 million revenue loss were discussed during this spring's Town Meeting. Tuition will not be reduced, and Rensselaer will continue to pursue the Peace Officer bill. Dr. Lawrence put forth a plan to ensure the community's safety if on-campus activities are to resume this fall.

Town Meeting

Institute braces for $60 million in revenue loss

President Shirley Ann Jackson announced that Rensselaer is expecting a revenue loss of $60 million due to the coronavirus pandemic between Fiscal Year 2020 and 2021 during the Spring Town Meeting.

Executive Board

Executive Board thanks Kennedy for her service

Newly elected President of the Union Anissa Choiniere led the Executive Board’s first meeting of the 51st E-Board via Webex, thanking Caitlin Kennedy for her service as the 130th president of the Union, and approving Yaseen Mahmoud to the office of vice president of the Union for board operations and Nate Sullivan to the vice president of the Union for club relations.

Town Meeting

Dr. Lawrence announces plan to prevent coronavirus spread

Executive Director for Health and Wellness Dr. Leslie Lawrence outlined a plan during the Spring Town Meeting to prevent the spread of COVID-19 when students return to campus.

Elections

Patel wins president by 1% margin

Harshil Patel has been elected Class of 2023 President, narrowly beating Scott Schwartz 99 to 97.

Elections

Over 1/3 of freshman class unnotified of election re-run

The redo elections for Class of 2023 president, vice-president, and representatives took place online through Simply Voting from May 13 to 15, but more than 650 freshmen were not notified that the election was happening.

Administration

Financial aid policies revised

Rensselaer’s Student Guide to Financial Aid webpage was updated in April, adding the stipulation that financial aid “may also be revised due to unexpected business disruptions caused by … emergency situations.” The page was updated after the decision to reduce aid for the Arch semester was announced.

Elections

Narayan and Choiniere win GM, PU races

Advaith Narayan ’21 and Anissa Choiniere ’21 have been elected Grand Marshal and President of the Union, respectively. The announcement was made on a live stream through the Union’s Instagram account, and a rundown of the election results was sent out in an email shortly thereafter.

Elections

Election missteps may lead to invalid results

Major errors that could invalidate this week’s elections were at the forefront of discussion in the Student Senate meeting on Thursday. These errors included votes cast by those who should not have been able to vote, as well as the use of Google Forms to fix the incorrect categorization of students by class cohort.

GM Week 2020

Elections Commission announces online voting platform

Elections for grand marshal, president of the Union, undergraduate president, and positions on the Student Senate will be held online from April 29 to May 1 using the platform Simply Voting. This platform was chosen by the Elections Commission due to its similarity to the Rensselaer Union Voting Suite, as well as its security and accessibility.

Academics

Temporary exceptions made to pass/no credit policy

Rensselaer is making an exception to the normal pass/no credit rules this semester as students adapt to online classes. Students may P/NC any and all of their classes taken this semester, and have until May 15 to fill out the relevant form in order to designate a class as such.

The Arch

All RPI financial aid adjusted for the summer semester

A recent question on RPI’s COVID-19 Arch 2020 FAQ page clarified that the reduction of financial aid for this year’s Arch semester will impact both merit and need-based aid, as both are included in students’ total gift aid. According to the FAQ, “the adjustments will reflect the proportionate amount of room and board costs” that rising juniors would normally be charged for living in residence halls over the summer.

Student Senate

Student government elections delayed

The Student Senate held a special meeting on March 21 through Webex to approve changes to the Student Government Election Handbook made to accommodate the transition to online classes. The changes included moving Student Government elections to Thursday, April 2, as well as updating the nomination procedure to allow for online gathering and submission. The Senate also discussed the third-party voting systems that are being considered for online elections.

GM Week 2020

Online elections to use third-party system

Elections Commission Chairperson Keenan Adams ’21 announced during the Senate meeting on March 21 that the Elections Commission plans to use a third-party to host elections online due to the move to online-only classes. The two systems being considered are Helios Voting and ElectionBuddy.

Commencement

Commencement to be an online event

In an email to the Rensselaer community on Wednesday afternoon, President Shirley Ann Jackson announced that this spring’s Commencement, planned for May 23, will take place in an online ceremony, adding that there will be an in-person celebration “when the public health situation allows us to do so.”

Campus Health

Remote classes to last through semester’s end

Students were informed that classes will be held online for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester in an email sent from University President Shirley Ann Jackson at about 6:30 pm on Wednesday. In addition, “all undergraduate students in Rensselaer Residential and Greek Commons [are required] to move out of these residences by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, 2020.”

Campus Health

Rensselaer shifts to remote classes

An email sent at about 1:30 pm on Tuesday from University President Shirley Ann Jackson informed students that in-person instruction will be suspended until at least March 30 due to concerns regarding the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Campus Health

Institute activates trigger level one

Rensselaer activated trigger level one of the University Pandemic Planning Protocols, as relayed in an RPI Alert received Saturday, after the confirmation of two cases of COVID-19 in Saratoga County.

Campus Health

PU: “prepare for the possibility” of canceled events

President of the Union Caitlin Kennedy said in an email to club officers that the Union is reviewing all "Institute sponsored campus/public events" scheduled for March and April due to the coronavirus, adding that events may be rescheduled or canceled due to the "health risks of public gatherings."

Student Senate

Senate hears presentations regarding peace officer bill

The Senate met to hear two presentations regarding the New York State Senate Bill S7645 on February 24. One was given by Vice President for Student Life Peter Konwerski, who was accompanied by other members of Rensselaer’s administration, while the other presentation was given by members of Rensselaer for Ethics in Science, Engineering, and Technology.

Campus Health

Institute increases travel restrictions, advises overpacking

Two emails, sent Thursday, described precautions students and faculty should take as the global outbreak of coronavirus spreads, and the protocols Rensselaer has in place should the outbreak reach the Capital Region.