May 19, 2021


7 a.m.

Vaccinations Required Next Fall; Guests Allowed at Diploma Ceremony | Newsletter for May 18

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UChicago will require students to be fully vaccinated by fall quarter, according to a series of announcements by university administrators on Tuesday.

  • Any student taking part in in-person classes, research, or other activities in the U.S. will be required to obtain a vaccine approved by the FDA or WHO.
  • Certain religious or medical exemptions will apply.

Graduating fourth years can bring two guests to their diploma ceremonies, per a letter to graduating students.

  • Prior to the announcement, parents and friends of graduates were asked not to come to Hyde Park.
  • The two guests must obtain tickets in advance from a forthcoming online ticketing site.
  • For both graduates and their guests, masks will be required at all times while on campus and six feet of social distancing will be enforced in seating areas.
  • Convocation and Class Day will still be fully virtual.

Close to 100 people joined the rally of a new coalition of student organizing groups, dubbed the UChicago Student Activist Network (USAN), outside of Levi Hall on Friday, May 7. The group organizes their demands around the idea of a “people’s university,” where UChicago would replace the Board of Trustees and University administration with a council of students, staff, and community members.

  • The rally highlighted USAN member organizations that haven’t previously had as much public visibility on campus as UChicago United’s campaigns. These organizations include UChicago’s chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), UChicago Against Displacement, and Students for Disability Justice.
  • Speakers emphasized the connections between campaigns targeting harmful policies on UChicago’s campus and the South Side and campaigns that take aim at the University’s global impact, saying that they share a common root in the struggle against exploitation and the hierarchical structures of University governance.
  • Student organizers from SJP condemned the University’s ties to Israel and lack of response to the harassment of Palestinian students on campus.

The University’s masking and distancing requirements remain in place despite the updated mask guidance for fully vaccinated people issued by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention on May 13.

  • In a UChicago Forward update on Friday and in another email sent to members of the College, the University cited the lack of information about current vaccination levels on the UChicago campus and other factors as reasons for why masking requirements at the University will not change for now.
  • Currently, participants in the Mandatory Surveillance Testing Program at the University may opt out of the program once they are fully vaccinated but must self-isolate and arrange for prompt testing if they develop symptoms of COVID-19 even if they are fully vaccinated.
  • Last week, the University reported six new cases of COVID-19. The University’s overall positivity rate is now 0.21 percent.

More than 270 off-campus apartments received free organic produce from Star Farm, an urban farm that connects farmers and community members through its community-supported agriculture (CSA) program. The program is a collaboration between Star Farm and Student Government (SG).

  • CSA allows a community of individuals to support a farm by buying their crops directly. Unlike grocery stores, the produce is grown and distributed locally, so community members receive deliveries of fresh, local produce.
  • The project was funded by SG’s executive budget. On Wednesday, April 21, the first 65 apartments that signed up for the delivery received their products, including produce such as sweet potatoes and spinach, with deliveries completed on April 28 for 140 more apartments.

This fall, the University’s Department of History will welcome three new faculty members, all tenured or tenure-track, to its ranks: Mary Hicks, Kenneth Moss, and Emily Kern.

  • Hicks is currently an assistant professor of Black studies and history at Amherst College, specializing in the history of the South Atlantic slave trade.
  • Moss is currently the Felix Posen Professor of Modern Jewish History at Johns Hopkins University, specializing in modern Jewish history, specifically in Israel and Eastern Europe. He will be teaching a course in the Jewish Civilization sequence next winter quarter.
  • Kern, currently a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, studies the history of science with a current specialization in the history of Earth sciences and paleoanthropology. She will be teaching graduate and undergraduate classes in the history of science as well as the Self, Culture, and Society sequence in the social sciences Core.


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