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Editorial: Thumbs up, thumbs down for spring 2021

With the end of the semester near, it’s time for a reflection on the good and the bad from January to the present. Here is The Scout’s spring 2021 edition of “Thumbs up, thumbs down.”

 

University COVID-19 response

The semester started with a two-week quarantine, and although it may have been a struggle, it laid the groundwork for a relatively successful semester in terms of COVID-19 case numbers. This semester’s weekly on-campus positivity rate stayed below 1 percent for the first eight weeks of the semester, and the biggest spike was at 4.35 percent on April 1. For comparison, last semester’s peak was at 16.40 percent. Testing has also increased this semester, with some weeks having nearly or more than 300 tests administered on campus. 

The university also offered clinics with the Moderna vaccine through Bradley Health Services and will offer another clinic for the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. These clinics provided an opportunity for students, faculty, staff and certain family members the chance to be vaccinated right here on campus. 

Bradley women’s basketball qualifies for NCAA Tournament

Bradley women’s basketball celebrated its first-ever appearance in the NCAA Tournament by winning the program’s first Missouri Valley Conference championship in March. It was an unconventional path to the big dance, but one that was well-earned. Outgoing junior Lasha Petree led the conference in scoring, while fellow MVC first-teamer Gabi Haack was close behind and was the eventual MVP of the conference tournament. With a strong incoming class heading to the Hilltop this fall, head coach Andrea Gorski and company are hoping to prove this season’s result was the new normal

Student activities and intramurals

A constant during the semester was not only a continued emphasis on student activities but a renewed interest from the student body. While last semester’s events occurred through virtual and in-person formats, a vital byproduct of the university’s transition to more in-person activity in light of vaccine accessibility has been the resources of organizations like ACBU to provide more personalized recreation for students, through events such as Recess.

Student activities also found an active channel through intramural sports, with programs available through imleagues.com for sports such as flag football, softball, table tennis, basketball and badminton, with additional virtual routes for running, walking and biking.

 

Diversity and inclusion

Over the summer, Bradley president Stephen Standifird promised to renovate the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s building and forge stronger relationships with District 150 schools. This year, the university has made good on that promise, upgrading the Garrett Center and providing eight Peoria seniors with full-tuition scholarships. While this progress is wonderful, it’s been long overdue. Therefore, Bradley’s efforts only earn it a “thumbs middle.”

 

Delayed response to Greek life diversity 

The National Pan-Hellenic Council and multicultural Greek organizations boycotted Greek Week after they were left out in a presentation from the Admissions office. The organizations were vocal in their disapproval for the lack of representation for potential students, and even the Inter Fraternity Council and National Panhellenic Conference participated in the boycott. Bradley, however, was slow to address the issue.

It seemed as though they were hoping that the issue would die down until they realized it wouldn’t go away. The university made a promise for diversity and inclusion, but not responding to the needs of students of color made those promises feel empty.

Spring break replaced by two “no-homework days”

Bradley decided to forego the university’s traditional spring break due to COVID-19, instead instituting two “no-homework days.” Despite strong pushback from students, the university didn’t change course, forgoing any suggestions such as mid-week days off. This resulted in an unrelenting schedule of 15 consecutive weeks of classes without a break. 

No-homework days failed to provide much of a break, as many students reported professors still setting assignment deadlines and excluding it from the syllabus. The reaction was so negative that even Amy Poehler and Tina Fey commented on the no-homework days at Recess. 

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