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Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down: A semester in review

Thumbs up: Bradley Basketball 

Both the men and women’s basketball programs get a hearty thumbs up after successful seasons. The men’s basketball team won the Missouri Valley Conference tournament for the second consecutive year, which would have reserved them a spot in the NCAA Tournament had it not been canceled. Head coach Andrea Gorski led the women’s team to the best regular-season record in program history and had the squad in the hunt for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Thanks to successful stretches, both programs are now established forces in the MVC and could be set up for prolonged success.

Thumbs up: University’s response to COVID-19

Bradley has been able to make somewhat of a “thumbs up” out of a “thumbs down” situation. The university’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic is commendable. The administration has sent out several thorough messages in a timely manner and made COVID-19 related communication available to everyone on the university website. The decisions to continue paying student workers as if the pandemic had not occurred and to offer a pass/fail option for course grades are two examples of instrumental decision-making on the university’s part.

Thumbs in between: Response to campus crime

The string of five robberies that occurred over winter break both on and just off campus was certainly out of the ordinary.BUPD and the University made a series of positive decisions, like extending safety cruiser hours and offering self-defense classes. However, they also made the distasteful choice to put up a cautionary poster around campus entitled “Don’t be easy prey.” This was a controversial choice, as some students interpreted it as victim-blaming. Overall in this unprecedented situation, there was a mix of positive and questionable administrative choices.

Thumbs down: The BECC

This spring semester allowed students to start out in the Business and Engineering Convergence Center. Despite the new digital stock market ticker and $6 million worth of audio-visual equipment, the new building’s technology has not been utilized regularly in classrooms. The university placed an emphasis on innovative technology, professors should employ it. Another disappointment about the BECC was the elevator, which trapped a total of 14 people within the first few months of opening. While not entirely the university’s fault, the final phases were delayed even further by the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the university’s financial deficit. For a project that was long-awaited, the final result just leaves students to wonder when those promises will truly be fulfilled.

Thumbs down: Program Prioritization

In late January, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs Walter Zakahi recommended three proposals to eliminate all degree programs in the Department of Physics, the Department of Theatre Arts and three programs in the Department of Family and Consumer Science. The announcement caught both faculty and students off guard. The proposal was met by a student protest, which was regarded by university president Gary Roberts as a “well-orchestrated” and “highly public lobbying campaign,” a description that only undermines a democratic process for students to express their opinion. Moreover, the very process of the program prioritization has run into speed bumps, with voting on the recommendations postponed from February to March because an operational procedure in the Faculty Handbook was not followed. The proposals were sent back after senators questioned the cost-saving effectiveness of the eliminations in the shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic. This process faced unnecessary communicative problems that hopefully will not afflict the university heading into an uncertain era of higher education.

       Double thumbs down: COVID-19

In early December, a new strain of the coronavirus appeared in the Wuhan province of China. The virus eventually spread to the United States and then was declared a pandemic in early March. On March 12, Bradley announced that spring break would be extended by one week, with online classes resuming March 30 through April 12 in response to the outbreak of COVID-19. On March 18, however, the university extended online courses through the remainder of the semester and canceled the graduation ceremony in May. As of right now, there is no alternative graduation date, but the university has promised that graduates will have a ceremony honoring their achievements in some form. Due to the outbreak, many athletic seasons were cut short, including the Bradley Men’s basketball team, who was set to play at the NCAA Tournament after winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. As of today, over 234,000 people have lost their lives to the virus worldwide.

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The Scout is published by members of the student body of Bradley University. Opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the University.