From the presidential residence in Kent, President Todd Diacon hosted a live Q&A while in self-isolation Thursday morning to address concerns about commencement and room and board refunds, among other things.
“I’ve been thinking a lot about our students lately, and in particular I’ve been thinking about two groups of students,” Diacon said. “One of the groups is freshman, because they’re first-year students, and certainly we wanted to give them the full residential experience, but I’m also happy that we’re helping them finish up their year and stay on track for graduation.”
Diacon said he’s also thinking about graduating students who have to finish their last semester online.
“We’ll definitely delay commencement, we should have some details out by the end of the week,” Diacon said. “We’re just working out the details of when we would have some kind of ceremony and what kind of ceremony we would have.”
Diacon said the university is “committed to giving room and board refunds” but it will cause a “significant hardship for the institution” of approximately $12 million that the university is paying back to students.
Further information about refunds will be available at kent.edu/coronavirus.
Diacon also answered questions about the future of study abroad.
“Our students that were studying abroad are all back in the U.S. and are finishing their classes online,” Diacon said. “However, our students are very disappointed because they have great experiences abroad.”
The university is also considering the fate of the summer Florence study abroad program, and Diacon said information will be forthcoming in the next few weeks.
“Students and parents should know that we’re going to take care of them,” Diacon said. “Even in the most unforeseen of crises, we are able to take care of our students effectively.”
Wyatt Loy is an administration reporter. Contact him at email@example.com.