The Ivy Coach Daily
August 11, 2020
University of Pennsylvania Changes Plans for Fall
You know what they say about the best-laid plans. The University of Pennsylvania, a school that previously announced that its students would be invited back to campus this fall for a mix of online learning and in-person instruction, has changed its tune. The university announced today through an email to the UPenn community that their proposed hybrid model of learning was off and that no students would be living and learning on campus in the fall.
As Ashley Ahn reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian in a piece entitled “Penn undergraduate students will no longer be able to return to campus housing this fall,” “Penn President Amy Gutmann and Provost Wendell Pritchett sent an email to the Penn community on Tuesday announcing that the University will scratch its plans to conduct a hybrid fall semester that guaranteed on-campus housing for first years, sophomores, and transfer students in the College House system. Penn will not raise tuition by 3.9% for the fall semester as planned by the University Board of Trustees on Feb. 27.”
We were extremely surprised when UPenn announced their fall plans. Typically, when one Ivy League school makes a move, the rest follow. All of the Ivy League schools going test-optional during the pandemic is a shining example of how the Ancient Eight institutions tend to move in lockstep. But this time, UPenn, well, they were marching to the beat of their own drummer — and their drummer had no rhythm.
During these uncertain times, we don’t fault UPenn for boldly announcing their proposed hybrid model back in late June and they were clear that their fall plans were subject to change. But, at least as we’ve learned it from some impacted families, just a few days ago, the university wrote students a plan for the fall semester with explicit instructions. To then outright cancel the plan just a few days later is, well, strange. Remember, students were packed and ready to go. In many cases, they bought plane tickets. Of course, all students and parents knew that UPenn’s plans were subject to change but it seems UPenn could have been a bit smoother in their communications with their students to say the least. And maybe UPenn could have been just a little bit more cautious to begin with in announcing their fall plans.
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