News


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.

Executive Board

Recording studio approved for RMA

Rensselaer Music Association moves forward with creating a recording studio in the J Building.

Executive Board

RPI Autism Self-Advocacy Network becomes Union-recognized

RPI Autism Self-Advocacy Network becomes Union-recognized, RPI Chinese Students and Scholars Association approved to compete at the Northeastern Chinese Basketball League tournament on March 14-15, and Rensselaer Running Club starter budget approved.

Executive Board

RESET and RPI Chess Club proposals approved

Rensselaer for Ethics in Science, Engineering, and Technology was approved for Union affiliation and RPI Chess Club was approved as a Union-recognized club on February 13.

Student Senate

Increase in Judicial Board alternate members pending

The Senate heard a proposal to increase the number of alternate members of the Judicial Board due to complications that arose because of the Arch. The amendment will need to be approved by the student body during Grand Marshal Week elections.

Obituary

Rensselaer laments loss of graduate student

The Rensselaer community mourns the passing of graduate student Yeming Shen, after his roommate discovered him on February 10 in their apartment at City Station.

Rensselaer Union

Union website updates underway

The Rensselaer Union website is currently undergoing maintenance to increase its functionality and address some issues. The site’s present status renders some information regarding clubs and Union events inaccessible to the greater student body, causing students to resort to social media such as Reddit and Facebook.

Administration

Students angered by selective restrictions placed on multicultural events

While Big Red Freakout and Winter Carnival went on without a hitch, administrators placed severe restrictions on some students’ biggest events of the year, citing concerns with coronavirus. “It’s discriminatory and wrong,” said Multicultural Leadership Council member Sundjata Suma ’20 while discussing the issue in a meeting.

Campus Security

Rensselaer lobbied for peace officer bill to expand PubSafe powers

Rensselaer lobbied for the New York State Senate bill that would grant peace officer status to certain public safety officers, which was posted publicly on the government website earlier this month and sparked concern in the RPI community. There has been no communication about this initiative to the student body, besides the bill’s posting.

Rensselaer Union

Upgraded mail center moved to Union from Commons

The student mail center has been relocated to the first floor of the Rensselaer Union and will open on Monday. It now features an “intelligent parcel locker” system for packages aimed at decreasing wait times.

Student Senate

“Hail!” endorsed as RPI student fight song

“Hail! Dear Old Rensselaer” was endorsed as the official fight song of students by the Senate after a petition advocating for this change reached 275 signatures.

Student Senate

Constituency report brings grad student situations to light

The main issues brought to light through the report include low pay, comparatively low usage of Union resources, and tense student-advisor relations.

Transportation

New shuttle routes see last minute changes

New shuttle routes, already approved by the Institute, were presented to and endorsed by the Student Senate on November 25, and then advertised to the student body. Since then, the routes have been changed twice, both by the Institute and the Facilities and Services Committee of the Student Senate.