Almost all undergrads have acknowledged COVID-19 pop-up

After students expressed surprise and concern over the statement that appeared on their MyU page, administration issued further explanation.

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Sarah Mai

Hana Ikramuddin, Campus Administration Reporter

A majority of undergraduates have confirmed the University of Minnesota’s COVID-19 risk acknowledgement on their MyU page, a move that has been met with varied reactions from students and staff.

The pop-up, which was added before the start of the fall semester, asks students to assume responsibility for their personal safety and to acknowledge that tuition is based on credits rather than course modality. Students must accept the pop-up before they can proceed to their MyU account, where they can check class registration status and billing statements.

Over 91% of undergraduate students have now confirmed the statement, according to One Stop Student Services.

After students took to social media to voice concerns about the waiver, Executive Vice President and Provost Rachel Croson sent out a systemwide email to explain that the acknowledgement is not a waiver of legal rights.

“Instead, it is a way for us to be clear about the University’s expectations and intentions,” read Croson’s email to students.

The statement was later slightly modified to explain the statement’s intent.

According to the email, similar acknowledgments have been used multiple times in the past. Students who chose not to confirm the statement were directed to reach out to One Stop Student Services.

“We also wanted to provide clarity for students that the mode of class delivery does not change the fact that tuition is charged in exchange for teaching by the University’s renowned instructors, research and other experiences … and that it is still expected that tuition bills are paid by the published due dates,” said Julie Selander, director of One Stop Student Services, in an emailed statement to the Minnesota Daily.

Some staff and faculty were not informed of the waiver before its publication on the University’s website, said Claire Hilgeman, a senior academic advisor in the College of Liberal Arts.

“Nobody knew about it; I think it was sort of a surprise for everybody,” Hilgeman said. “It would have been nice to have gotten a heads up and had more of a process, rather than just be blindsided by it.”

The University has the ability to put holds on students to prevent them from registering for classes if certain fees are not paid or if there is missing information regarding admissions; however, the measure is only used when needed, Hilgeman said.

“I wished [the waiver] had been worded differently to give a little more dignity to students and faculty. I did understand why ultimately they did need the students to sign it,” she said.

Some students said they felt the waiver was unfair because they had to agree to the terms before they could access MyU.

“I do think that that was forceful and coercive,” said graduate student Savannah Wery, who started a petition asking the administration to remove the pop-up and urged officials to get students to agree to the statement in a “less coercive” way.