Senate to keep campus open as long as it can amidst coronavirus

Senate+to+keep+campus+open+as+long+as+it+can+amidst+coronavirus

Ryan P. Cruz, News Editor

The Academic Senate discussed the possibility of all classes transitioning online and of a campus closure due to the coronavirus pandemic at its meeting on Wednesday.

“This campus will stay open and fully functional until we are given direction from the county health department,” said Academic Senate President Patricia Stark. “We are committed to keeping the campus open.”

On March 10, Executive Director of Public Affairs and Communications Luz Reyes-Martin sent an email stating that there were “no recommendations by Public Health officials to suspend campus operations or modify class schedules.” Later that same day, it was announced that UCSB was among over a hundred college campuses to close across the country.

“The chancellor’s office today came out with a notice that everything needs to come online,” said Stark.

City College’s response to the coronavirus outbreak has begun with some instructors transitioning their courses online—as per an email blast sent from Superintendent-President Dr. Utpal Goswami to all faculty.

Goswami has since followed with confirmation of this directive, stating in a campus-wide email that “all SBCC operations and classes are continuing normally.”

The school and its resources will remain open with normal hours, but in an effort to reduce the volume of individuals on campus, all courses that are able to move online will do so in the next few days, though administration and faculty are working on solutions for classes that hinge on face-to-face instruction and accommodating those who cannot work remotely.

There’s going to be places where we can accommodate,” said Executive Vice President Pamela Ralston. “We’re going to try our best.”

The Senate also reviewed a recommendation regarding waitlists, provided by the Strategic Enrollment Management Committee during the meeting. The recommendation would implement a waitlist of 10 students for each course section.

Currently, there is no universal system for add codes and waitlisting, with each instructor choosing which system is the best fit for their classes.

“One of the struggles in the past few years is students and staff trying to understand the waitlist policy,” said Director of Admissions and Records Michal Medel.

The discussion of having a mandatory limit for all classes was met with many questions from the senators, worried that the number of 10 students would bring about problems with equity. 

“It does not help us for our online classes,” said Associate Professor Kathy O’Connor, representing the Physical Education department.

The current method allows instructors to decide whether they want waitlists or whether they want to be in control of all of their add codes. A universal waitlist of 10 students would make it difficult for course sections that can vary in size from 20 to 100.

The Academic Senate will reconvene for its next meeting on April 8.