Greetings Hornet Nation.
We hope that you and your family continue to take precautions to stay healthy and safe. The University’s administration continues to monitor the COVID-19 situation. Our number one priority is the safety and well-being of our campus family, particularly our students.
The purpose of this email is to provide you with the latest information that we have in relation to the CARES Act.
You may have read about the CARES Act. The CARES Act, which establishes and funds the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), provides funding to institutions to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the Coronavirus pandemic. As of today, Alabama State University has not received student emergency funding from the U.S. Department of Education. The application for the funds was successfully submitted; but as of today, we are still awaiting the release of those funds to the University.
In the interim, our administrators are working on the protocol to use in disbursing the funds. Once received, the funds will be disseminated to students meeting the eligibility requirements as outlined in the CARES Act. Currently, there are some questions about different elements of the eligibility requirements, and the University is working with state and federal representatives to get greater clarity on those requirements.
You should monitor your University email, as well as the University’s website for additional information and updates.
Thank you for your patience and understanding.
Dr. Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
ASU to Hold Virtual Commencement for Spring Class of 2020
Alabama State University’s Class of 2020 graduates will be recognized in a virtual commencement ceremony on Friday, May 1, at noon (CST).
The ceremony will recognize all undergraduate and graduate candidates, as well as the Golden Class of 1970.
President Quinton T. Ross Jr. made the video announcement to the Spring Class of 2020.
“One of the greatest honors I have as University President is to preside over our commencement ceremonies,” said Ross. “It is always a joy to see graduates walk across the stage and to shake their hands to the cheers of their loved ones. None of us could have foreseen that this year would be any different; but it is. However, we will not let COVID-19 stop us from celebrating your big day.”
Ross said the University understands the special significance of the May 1 date to the graduating seniors.
“I want to emphasize that this convocation is not intended to replace your traditional commencement,” said Ross. “We are looking forward to having you walk across the stage at a later…and safer…time.”
“The students deserve to experience a traditional ceremony. We will continue to monitor unfolding information regarding the coronavirus pandemic, and as federal and state mandates allow, we will prepare to welcome our students back to campus to celebrate their accomplishments,” Ross added.
The virtual ceremony will have many of the elements of a traditional commencement convocation, and will feature both live and prerecorded elements. The ceremony will be broadcast live on various social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram and YouTube. Specific information about viewing the event will be posted on the University’s website (www.alasu.edu).
ASU Provost Carl Pettis said the University, despite the challenges caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic, wants to make the virtual convocation special for the spring candidates and the Golden Class.
“Commencement is a time for celebration and a recognition of one's academic accomplishments,” Pettis said. “The Commencement Committee recognizes the importance of this momentous occasion, and we are working to provide our 2020 candidates for graduation and the Golden Class of 1970 with a fitting ceremony that will honor this historic moment in their lives.”
Important Message for all ASU Students
April 20, 2020
ASU Board Enacts "Pass/Not Pass" Option For Spring Semester
- This option is only being used for ASU undergraduate students for the Spring 2020 semester -
- The new policy gives ASU students a choice; they may also opt to receive regular letter-grades just as before the pandemic -
On April 20, the Alabama State University Board of Trustees (BOT) held a video-meeting of its full board members and voted to enact a new "pass/not pass" grading option for ASU students only for the Spring 2020 semester.
President Quinton T. Ross Jr. said that after much deliberation by the campus stakeholders, including officials in the office of Academic Affairs, ASU's academic deans, the Faculty Senate, and the office of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, the “pass/not pass” policy was developed and presented to the Board of Trustees for their consideration. The Board’s favorable vote allows students the choice to have their Spring 2020 grades classified as "pass/not pass."
"I want to thank the ASU Board of Trustees and our faculty and staff for their vision, commitment and patience as we move forward in a difficult time to continue providing quality instruction to our students," Ross said. "ASU is not alone in offering this option to its students, as other institutions of higher education across the nation are offering similar grading options during this unsettling time.”
ABOUT THE PASS/NOT PASS CHOICE
ASU's interim assistant provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Tanjula Petty, explained that the “pass/not pass” option was developed for the benefit of the students.
"Having the 'pass/not pass' option at this unprecedented time will provide flexibility to students within an ever-shifting set of circumstances, which are beyond their control," Petty said. "Faculty and instructors will continue to assign letter grades at the end of the Spring 2020 academic semester and students will be able to view their letter grades in the online Hornets Web before requesting to convert their letter grades to the new ‘pass/not pass’ choice," Petty explained.
Petty said the ‘pass/not pass’ option minimizes the risk of students having their GPAs lowered because of challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly academic transitions they have undergone while learning online.
ASU ADVISES STUDENTS TO CONSULT WITH ACADEMIC ADVISERS BEFORE CHOOSING
Petty emphasized that the University strongly recommends that students speak to their academic advisers to discuss the intended and/or unintended consequences of choosing the ‘pass/not pass’ grade option before making a decision.
Students who select the ‘pass/not pass’ grade option should know that receiving a "pass" grade will not count towards their numerical grade point averages (for purposes of scholarships and otherwise); however, all courses with a "pass" grade will satisfy the curricular, major, continuation, semester hours and graduation requirements.
"We strongly encourage all students to consult with their ASU academic advisers first because once they make a decision, ASU will not be able to reverse the action," Petty stated.
ASU'S PRESIDENT SAYS IT'S THE STUDENT'S CHOICE
Students who do not choose the new pass/not pass option simply do not have to do anything, and they will continue to receive a letter grade just as they have before.
"It's the student's choice. We have done this because the success of our students is paramount to us at Alabama State University," Ross said. "This new option is a choice we offer to our undergraduate students so they may best complete their courses and move forward towards their ASU degrees."
Student’s may access the “Pass/Not Pass” form by visiting www.alasu.edu/passnotpass and clicking on the “Students” icon. The form will be posted by on the website by 5 p.m. on April 21.
Graduating seniors must submit their forms by April 24. All other ASU students must submit their forms between April 27 and May 15, 2020.
Important Message from the President
April 3, 2020
To All ASU Employees:
In response to the announcement of a statewide stay-at-home order issued by Alabama Governor Kay Ivey, Alabama State University will close all offices as of Saturday, April 4 through Thursday, April 30. Only essential personnel will work on campus during this time. You will be contacted by your supervisor as to whether or not you are considered to be essential in terms of this closure.
The relevant part of Governor Ivey’s official order states the following: “Effective Saturday, April 4, 2020, at 5:00 P.M., every person is ordered to stay at his or her place of residence except as necessary...”
ASU employees who are considered “non-essential” will now shift to teleworking from home under the Alabama State University Guidelines for Telework/Staggered Work Schedule and the Telework/Staggered Work Memorandum of Agreement that were issued to all employees on March 23, 2020. Supervisors will coordinate with their staff to develop work plans for those who are able to work from their residences. Please be reminded that this time is not to be considered as paid leave time, but rather those who are able to work from home are expected to do so. If you elect to take annual or sick leave during this time, you must complete the appropriate forms and forward those to your supervisor for approval.
Please note: If you have not signed or do not sign the telework agreement, you are not considered to be “on the clock” during the period that the campus is closed. In order to be paid for this time, you will need to use your annual leave or your sick leave (as documented by your doctor if it is beyond three days).
Employees are also expected to check their University email daily for updates and important announcements.
The University will continue to provide all academic services for current students during this period. Online and alternative course delivery will continue, as well as academic advisement. Even under these challenging circumstances, we will carry out the University’s primary mission—the education of our students.
Your safety and well-being are of primary concern; therefore, we encourage the ASU family to follow the governor’s order and remain at home except for essential activities. As a matter of fact, the mandate to shelter-at-home is the law.
Please follow CDC guidelines, particularly maintaining the social distancing of 6 feet and practicing personal hygiene that focuses on washing your hands frequently.
Finally, I urge you to “Be aware. Be safe. Be Hornet Strong!”
President Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
March 20, 2020
Greetings Hornet Nation:
In this time of crisis and uncertainty, it has been my great pleasure to witness the good will of others.
I want to take a moment to thank those of you who have shown such generosity of spirit during the challenging times that we are experiencing.
To safeguard our students’ welfare and to minimize health risks for our employees, we made the decision last week to send the student body home for the remainder of the semester. Although this decision was in their best interest given the international pandemic, some of our students did face some challenges.
I am so proud to say that once again Hornet Nation proved itself to be the family that our students need. Because of the generosity of our alumni and others who support this University, we were able to help both domestic and international students by providing much-needed assistance for those who literally had nowhere else to turn for help.
I also must thank Dr. Davida Haywood and her staff in the Division of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management for their tireless efforts to ensure that each student’s needs were addressed. Thank you also to the Office of Development for stepping in to support Student Affairs and for creating and implementing the #ProtectTheNest giving initiative that raised funds during this time.
To the Office of Academic Affairs, our deans and our faculty, thank you for working quickly and proactively to provide alternative delivery methods for academic instruction so that students are able to complete their coursework this semester.
Many of our campus services continue to operate to ensure that buildings are sanitized, that the campus is safe and that technical, operational, administrative, athletic, facilities and financial support are in place to maintain necessary and essential campus functions.
Finally, I am grateful for the leadership that continues to be provided by the members of my Cabinet. Difficult decisions are being made on a daily basis and more will be made before this crisis is over; but I am blessed to have a group of capable and caring individuals to help me and the Board of Trustees to steer this ship of state through these uncharted waters.
While there are many challenges ahead of us, the words Hornet Pride and ASU Strong have new meaning because of those who truly love this University and our students.
I am eternally grateful to each and every one of you. My prayer is that you will remain safe and that we will all be ready to receive our Hornets when they return to campus. With God’s help, we will get through this together.
Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
TO: ASU Students
FROM: William Hopper, Interim Vice President for Business and Finance
DATE: March 17, 2020
Re: Housing and Dining Refunds/Credits
We hope that you are all safe as you are away from your ASU home. As you know, the University has made arrangements for alternative and online delivery of instruction; but we know that you many still have some lingering questions. One of the questions that we have been asked concerns refunds or credits for which some of our students may be eligible.
We are pleased to inform you that the University will offer prorated housing and dining credits for eligible students. The Office of Business and Finance will be working with Financial Aid to determine the eligibility of students on a case-by-case basis.
Refunds/Credits may be denied based on the following:
- The student’s housing/dining fees were paid by scholarships or grants.
- The student has an outstanding balance owed to the University, in which case any refund or credit will be applied to that balance.
- The student registers for Fall 2020, in which case the refund/credit will be applied to the 2020-2021 academic year.
- The student received a housing payment deferment.
Seniors who are certified to graduate in the spring and whose housing/dining fees were not paid by scholarship or Pell grants will receive a prorated refund for unused housing and dining services. Seniors desiring a refund or credit must complete the Request for Housing or Dining Credits/Refunds form by visiting www.alasu.edu/creditrefunds.
Students who register to return in Fall of 2020 will receive housing and dining credits that will be applied to their room and board plans for the 2020-2021 academic year. Students will receive notifications of the prorated credit amounts.
The accounts of students who do not register for the fall will be assessed to determine if a credit is due based on their receipt of a scholarship or grant for the 2019-2020 academic year and based on any outstanding balances that may be owed to the University.
Applying for Housing or Dining Credits/Refunds
Students who feel they are eligible for housing or dining credits/refunds must complete a Request for Housing or Dining Credits/Refunds form by visiting www.alasu.edu/creditrefunds. Once the form is submitted, applicants will receive an immediate response that their form was received. Forms must be completed by May 7th. Refunds and credits will be processed and issued beginning June 15th.
You may want to consider donating a portion or all of your refund/credit to the Student Aid for Emergency (S.A.F.E.) Fund which is helping students who are facing challenges presented by the Coronavirus pandemic. (#ProtectTheNest) If so, please check the appropriate box on the Request for Housing or Dining Credits/Refunds form.
As we all find ways to cope during these difficult and unprecedented times in our nation’s history, ASU is committed to doing our best to accommodate our students, while continuing to provide services and instruction under challenging circumstances.
For additional information about ASU’s response to the COVID-19, visit www.alasu.edu/coronavirus.
We are extremely proud of each of our students, especially our 2020 graduating seniors. In accordance with the latest reports and guidelines from the federal government and health organizations, the University will postpone the spring commencement convocation that was scheduled for May 1; however, we are committed to celebrating our graduates. We will continue to monitor situations related to COVID 19 and inform our graduates of any future plans.
Work Study Students
The federal government has issued guidelines that will allow the University to continue to pay Federal Work Study students.
“For students enrolled and performing FWS at a campus that must close due to COVID-19, or for a FWS student who is employed by an employer that closes as a result of COVID-19 the institution may continue paying the student Federal work-study wages during that closure if it occurred after the beginning of the term, the institution is continuing to pay its other employees (including faculty and staff), and the institution continues to meet its institutional wage share requirement.”
The next student work study payroll covers the period March 1 through March 31. Checks for this period will be mailed no later than April 14th. Because we were not able to receive time sheets from the students prior to their departure from campus, we will work from a spreadsheet provided by Financial Aid for work study based on the number of hours worked in February, with adjustments for Spring Break.
Following the same format, work study payrolls for April also will be based on the number of hours worked in February. We are planning to make the April distribution no later than May 1.
March 12, 2020
Attention Hornet Nation:
As the University’s leaders have met over the past weeks, our discussions have centered on making decisions that allow for protecting the health of the campus community. As these decisions are shared in this letter, I emphasize that no cases of COVID 19 have been confirmed among Alabama State University’s campus community—students or employees. We continue to follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and to communicate frequently with the Alabama Department of Public Health.
Out of an abundance of caution, Alabama State University has taken the following steps in regards to Spring Break and continuity of instruction for the remainder of the academic year:
After Spring Break, students should not return to campus for face-to-face classes as online and other alternative delivery methods will be used to allow students to complete their courses for the semester.
The University will communicate with all students about plans for returning to campus to retrieve personal belongings from the residence halls.
International students who have questions or concerns should contact Dr. Linwood Whitten at 334-229-4713.
Continuity of Classes
On March 30, classes will resume ONLY through online and other alternative delivery methods until the end of the spring semester. No face-to-face, on-campus classes will be held.
During this time, students are required to continue to work on class and reading assignments and to read all lecture materials. Students will begin seeing increased eCourse activity by faculty in the next few days, including using Blackboard for lectures, online delivery of lecture materials and the use of discussion boards.
Students are to remain off campus for these virtual classes. Students should use the following links that provide instructions as to how to participate in those classes:
Access ASU’s Blackboard Learn
Your username is as follows:
1st initial of 1st Name + Last Name + last 4 digits of Campus Wide ID
Your password is as follows:
Last 6 digits of your Campus Wide ID
Explore your courses page in Blackboard
How do I access content in my course?
Questions related to Blackboard can be submitted to email@example.com. Other questions related to course continuity can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All faculty are expected to return to campus for work on Monday, March 23, for planning and training. Alternative course instruction will be launched on Monday, March 30. Any additional communications will be disseminated via the Office of Academic Affairs.
Campus will be open Monday, March 16 and Tuesday, March 17. Staff who have not taken leave are expected to work on those days with the modified Spring Break for the rest of the week. Staff who are not on approved leave will return to work on Monday, March 23.
All internal and external on-campus events have been cancelled as of Monday, March 16.
The University has suspended all spring competition and practice for the remainder of the semester.
We urge all faculty, students and staff travelers to consider carefully potential international travel and check on restrictions and/or quarantine measures that may be recommended or required by the CDC upon arrival or return. As a reminder, please stay at home and contact your supervisor if you or a member of your household exhibits symptoms related to COVID 19.
Faculty and staff are required to self-report to the University any travel out of the state or out of the country during and after Spring break. A link will be provided to you by email for this self-reporting to be done.
Determinations regarding Commencement will be shared at a later date.
Please continue to check the University’s website, www.alasu.edu/coronavirus, for updates.
Quinton T. Ross, Jr.
March 12, 2020
Confirmed Case of the Coronavirus
Good morning everyone.
With a confirmed case of the Coronavirus in Montgomery, Alabama as of this morning, we wanted to provide the first, in what may become many updates over the course of several days, about the care and diligence that ASU continues to take and make.
Please stop and read this email carefully. In reference to critical campus services, please note the following:
Simply put, all students are strongly encouraged to make arrangements to return home. Students will need to contact their parents, families and caretakers to determine how they will travel to their native cities and states.
If International Students are planning on leaving the state, then please make contact with Dr. Linwood Whitten at 334-229-4713 if you have questions or concerns.
These offices will be open all day today, as well as next week, on Monday, March 16, 2020 and Tuesday, March 17, 2020.
Retrieving Your Personal Items and Belongings
At this time, the hard deadlines that were put in place yesterday remain. Unless otherwise noted on the university’s Coronavirus webpage (www.alasu.edu/coronavirus), you may return between Monday, April 6, 2020 and Thursday, April 30, 2020, to get your personal items between the hours of 8:00 am and 5:00 p.m. Before departing campus, you will need to clean your room and return your key to your Residence Hall Director.
The health and well-being of our students matters. If you are not feeling well, and exhibiting flu-like symptoms, then please visit the Emergency Rooms at either Jackson Hospital or Baptist South Hospital.
Dining on Campus
At this time, the university has made arrangements for Aramark to provide two meals a day (Brunch and Dinner), starting tomorrow, Saturday, March 14, 2020 through Sunday, March 29, 2020, in the Faculty Dining Hall.
The Food Court, in the Hardy Student Center, will operate as follows:
· Saturday, March 14, 2020: 11:00 am – 5:00 p.m.
· Sunday, March 15, 2020: Closed
· Monday, March 16-Tuesday, March 17, 2020: 7:00 am – 6:00 p.m.
· Wednesday, March 18-Saturday, March 21, 2020: Closed
· Sunday, March 22, 2020: 1:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
Thank you again for your patience. Remember to be safe, wash your hands and use good judgement.
March 10, 2020-A message from the President
March 7, 2020
Dear Hornet Nation:
Alabama State University is committed to the safety and well-being of our students and the University community. While there are no confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in the state of Alabama nor on the ASU campus, we were made aware shortly before 10 p.m. on Friday, March 6, that several of our students recently attended a national conference where it was later confirmed that two attendees from the state of New York tested positive for the virus. This conference, which has the acronym AIPAC, was attended by more than 18,000 people.
All conference attendees received updates from AIPAC, the latest of which included the following statement: Based on our investigation thus far, in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health (NYSDH), there is no identified risk to conference attendees at this time.
The University will continue to follow health safety protocols and communications efforts that have been in place since January. We also will continue to work proactively with the Alabama Department of Public Health and will take all necessary precautions.
We will provide updates as needed regarding this situation. In the meantime, we strongly urge students and employees to follow CDC guidelines related to preventing the spread of any virus, including COVID-19. Those guidelines include:
· Wash your hands thoroughly and often
· Stay at home if you feel sick
· Use hand sanitizer that contains at least 50% alcohol
· Cover your mouth when you cough
· Clean your cell phone
You may expect to receive additional communications from the University in the coming days.
President Quinton T. Ross, Jr.