A Message from the President: Spring 2021 Classes

Office of the President

Dear faculty, staff, and students,

On Monday, October 26, the CUNY Board of Trustees voted to continue online teaching in the Spring 2021 semester. The only exception will be for classes that cannot be operated effectively in digital form, such as clinical or heavily experiential courses.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is not contained and there is no vaccine, we understand the Board’s decision and are relieved that the issue is resolved. As much as we would like to be able to return to in-person classes and be together again, it is not yet safe to do so. The health and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff must be foremost in our thinking.

We have gained considerable experience with online classes, and are impressed by the adaptability and commitment of students and faculty in taking on this mode of learning. Our first-year students deserve special respect for their engagement with online classes before experiencing the normal life and vitality of The Graduate Center.

One group of first-year students is facing particularly challenging circumstances. The first-year international students are required by the federal Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) to take at least one hybrid or in-person class to be eligible for their visas. We do not want these students to be forced to take risks that other students are spared. To avoid this fundamental unfairness in a time of pandemic, we have asked first-year international students to stay home and enroll online, even though we know this will be disappointing for students who had planned to be in New York.

We want to take this opportunity to thank the essential staff who have maintained our building, posted signage, and prepared our facility for when it is safe for us to return. We also thank the many staff members who have continued providing financial aid, counseling, library, and other services while working remotely. The Graduate Center has been able to continue to operate thanks to their skill and dedication.

We look forward to seeing you all in person when conditions allow. In the meantime, we remain committed to helping our students progress and are confident that our faculty can provide innovative ways to engage students and build community.

With best wishes,

Robin L. Garrell

Julia Wrigley
Interim Provost and Senior Vice President

Submitted on: OCT 29, 2020

Category: COVID-19 | GCstories | General GC News | President's Office - Community Message