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University leaders, SGA discuss COVID-19, spring and more

Watch a recording of the Sept. 15 Student Town Hall below

The Student Government Assembly and administrators from Metropolitan State University of Denver held a town hall this week covering a number of issues on students’ minds this fall.

Braelin Pantel, Ph.D., associate vice president for Student Engagement and Wellness/Dean of Students, moderated the event that started with an overview of the public health crisis and MSU Denver’s response from Steve Monaco, director of the Health Center at Auraria.

“I want to thank our student population, our faculty and staff, for adhering to the guidance that the University put out to mitigate the concerns about our safety and health,” he said.

Monaco reminded students to complete the daily health assessment if they’re coming to campus and to contact the Health Center if they test positive for COVID-19 or suspect they might be infected. Click to read a list of what to do and what University resources are available if you receive a positive diagnosis.

Watch the full event video:

Shaun Schafer, Ph.D., interim vice provost and associate vice president for Curriculum and Policy Development, discussed spring 2021 semester planning for course delivery. While no decisions have been made yet, he expects spring to look a lot like fall 2020. That said, the University is aiming to maximize space on campus to allow for more in-person learning while still keeping Roadrunners safe.

“In the next few weeks, we will be finalizing what spaces will be available that we can still safely use, and what courses we will be able to offer in them,” Schafer said. An official announcement will be made in mid-October and priority registration begins Oct. 26.  

Responding to a question about tuition, George Middlemist, Ph.D., associate vice president for Administration/Chief Financial Officer, talked about what went into the decision to increase spring 2021 tuition by 3%, which the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to do earlier this month.

“The hardest thing that we all do at the University is trying to balance the right decision in terms of tuition,” he said. “Part of the balance is understanding that to give our students the kinds of services that they deserve and that they need, that requires some funding.”

Middlemist said the increase is $8 per credit hour for resident students, or $96 for 12 credit hours. Read more about the board’s decision from President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., or visit our tuition increase FAQs page.

“Despite the 3% increase, we’re still the most affordable institution in the Front Range, and we’re still one of the most affordable institutions in the state of Colorado,” Middlemist said.

The panelists also touched on the future of the RTD CollegePass program, which is still undetermined for spring 2020, MSU Denver racial-justice initiatives, University relations with the Auraria Campus Police Department and more.