Updated semester plans challenge students

Sarah Mountain

Arts & Living Editor

Troy University officially announced its decision Tuesday morning to remain online for the rest of the spring semester, as well as suspend in-class meetings for the upcoming summer semester.

The university will also close all but two dorms, prorating costs and providing refunds for graduating seniors and giving non-graduating students credit in their account to offset the fees of the fall 2020 semester.

The announcement was met by mixed responses from students. While many were grateful that the university is putting students’ health and safety first, they still feel that there are a lot of unanswered questions.

The university has “expanded the number of employees who may work remotely,” according to Troy University Relations, but many students who have on-campus jobs and internships will not be able to work this semester.

“There are many of us student workers who rely on our paychecks to pay rent,” said Jessica Bryant, a senior psychology major from Pensacola, Florida, who works in the dining hall. “The situation is really difficult.

“Of course, the university wants us to be careful, but at the same time I know things are about to get even harder for people who rely on the school.”

With the closing of residence halls, many resident assistants also face the loss of their jobs and hundreds of students will lose their housing.

“This is not only my paycheck while I am at school, but also my housing,” said Bennett Connell, a sophomore nursing major from Prattville, Alabama. “Without this, I have to go back to my home, which could be a really bad situation for some students.”

Overall, the lack of employment for all students in the non-essential category is making life difficult for many.

“Due to all the changes to employment recently it’s getting to be harder to get my tuition all paid off before it’s time to register for classes,” said Ivy Brewer, a freshman music education major from Freeport, Florida. “It will then cause sections to fill up before I get to register.

“It’d be beneficial for the credit to be for this semester for students going through the same thing.”

While the university is refunding unused housing, meal plans and parking via the use of credit in student accounts for the fall semester, there are some who would prefer to stay on campus.

“I wish staying through the rest of the semester was a more available option,” said Abbey Raymore, a junior marketing major from Dothan, Alabama. “Since we paid for the semester in full, I would love to be able to use it all instead of being credited for next fall.

“Some of us can’t go home right now due to money or even worse, the virus could be a bigger problem in our hometowns, which puts us at higher risk.”

Some graduating seniors are also feeling additional stress over getting to the end of their final semester.

“There is already so much to get done in your last few months of college,” said Bailey Clem, a senior risk management insurance major from Tallassee, Alabama. “With everything going online and a lot of questions up in the air about if a graduation ceremony will happen and what the job market will even look like after graduation, I would say the class of 2020 is more stressed out than those of recent years.”

The university has announced that although degrees for those graduating will be conferred in the spring, graduates will have the chance to walk the stage as part of the summer commencement ceremony.

“Of course, I’m not thrilled that graduation is delayed,” said Courtney Cole, a senior music education major from Niceville, Florida. “But I am grateful to still get to walk across the stage, no matter when.”

Some students in the Troy Student Facebook group are calling for the university to institute a pass/fail end to the semester. The petition has received more than 1,100 signatures with many students seeing a benefit in ending the semester as soon as possible.

The university has made no mention of finishing the semester with the pass/fail system.

The Tropolitan will follow and report any updates the university makes, and students can find information releases at troy.edu/coronavirus.

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