BU Investigates Allegations of Cheating during Remote Testing
Also in our Weekly Coronavirus Roundup: SHA to cohost virtual conference for hospitality industry, hit hard by pandemic
If you have a question or comment related to BU and its response to the COVID-19 crisis, on the subject of the move-out, remote learning, retrieving personal belongings, or anything else, please visit Boston University’s special COVID-19 website. Questions are being answered there by specific departments in a timely fashion. Thank you.
—Doug Most, executive editor, BU Today
Quote of the week:
People are hurting, people are dying, people are scared. This is the time for leadership, and that’s exactly what we’re going to provide here in Massachusetts and the city of Boston, and that’s my suggestion that Washington should start doing—providing some leadership for the people of America.
Stat of the week:
Boston University looking into reports of academic misconduct
BU is investigating whether some students took advantage of remote testing during the pandemic to cheat on recent quizzes in undergraduate classes. Specifically there are concerns that students taking the tests remotely, in their homes or elsewhere, were able to access online sources to get answers to questions. “The University is looking into possible violations of the Academic Conduct Code,” University spokesman Colin Riley says. “The University’s expectations and policies are clear and all aspects of the conduct code remain in effect with the shift to remote learning.”
The conduct code says: “All students entering Boston University are expected to maintain high standards of academic honesty and integrity. It is the responsibility of every undergraduate student to be aware of the Academic Conduct Code’s contents and to abide by its provisions.” Riley says the University will look at cases individually and determine sanctions consistent with the code.
School of Hospitality Administration cohosts virtual conference as hospitality industry takes stock
The hospitality industry is getting hit as hard as just about any other by the COVID-19 pandemic, and now the School of Hospitality Administration is helping figure out what’s next. On May 11, from 3 to 6 pm, SHA and Pinnacle Advisory Group will present a virtual New England Lodging Conference. Students and others are invited to register online for the free event.
“It is no secret that this current pandemic has severely impacted the lodging industry—a significant contributor to the success of the New England economy,” says Arun Upneja, dean of SHA. “The current crisis, unparalleled in the modern history of the United States, has the potential to push many businesses to bankruptcy. It’s nerve-wracking for many, to say the least.”
Upneja already intended for SHA to host an annual Boston lodging conference at some point, when Rachel Roginsky, an SHA lecturer and owner and principal of Pinnacle Advisory Group (one of the leading lodging advisory firms in the United States), reached out about the need to bring local executives together to address the situation. They’ve recruited a group of industry executives, trade journalists, and others for the conference, in addition to Upneja, Roginsky, and Leora Lanz, an SHA lecturer and chair of the graduate program.
“We are hoping that by sharing expertise and keeping the lodging industry well informed with the best advice from top experts locally, we are helping all involved to get through this difficult and uneasy period,” Upneja says. “The School of Hospitality Administration is honored to provide a platform for the area’s lodging leaders to gather and fight this epidemic in a collective and strategic manner.”
Three panel discussions are scheduled: The Numbers: Data, Facts, and Forecasts; Legal Issues: Hotel Closures, Negotiating Agreements, Business Interruption Insurance, and the CARES Act Relief Status; and Operations: What Changes Will Be Made to Hotel Operations Over the Next 90 Days and Beyond?
In a nod to the psychic toll all of this is taking, the event will conclude with a virtual happy hour featuring a performance by comedian Brad Mastrangelo.
Hybrid format for fall for some graduate, professional programs
With summer term switched to remote learning and prospective students taking campus tours virtually, many Terriers are now focused on the fall, trying to anticipate what the situation may be on (or not on) campus. University officials are working hard behind the scenes to answer those questions, and this week brought one hint of the future. Students in at least 44 graduate and professional programs will move to a new format that will simultaneously offer classes on campus for students who can be in classrooms, and via various technologies to students both on and off campus. The same academic content, including some class discussions, would be available to students in BU classrooms, BU housing, or in living rooms across the United States and around the world.
History repeats the old conceits
This week BU Today looked back at previous disasters that disrupted operations on campus in ways similar to the pandemic, including the Great Boston Fire of 1872 and the social convulsions that erupted after the Kent State killings in 1970. In the 1918 flu pandemic—before Zoom, before the internet—professors even resorted to (gasp!) sending assignments by snail mail.
GMTA, apparently, because Christopher Daly, a College of Communication professor of journalism, wrote a piece published in the Washington Post’s “Made By History” column this week: “The country has been through a draining, news-packed April before.” The death of FDR, the liberation of Dachau, and the battles in the Pacific were among headlines in April 1945.
Boston and Beyond News
COVID-19 deaths undercounted?
A New York Times examination of death statistics in seven states hit hard by the pandemic suggests Massachusetts may have 500 more coronavirus-related deaths than the commonwealth has so far recorded, and the number may be even higher. Massachusetts has seen 1,200 more deaths than the average for this time of year, but fewer than 700 so far have been attributed to COVID-19. Similar disparities were found in New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and other states.
Coronavirus exposes intertwined economic, environmental issues
This week brought stories about how the Boston area’s most vulnerable communities—densely packed communities of immigrants, the undocumented, and blue-collar workers—have paid a disproportionate price in the pandemic. Thursday’s Boston Globe column by Yvonne Abraham highlighted the pollution aspect: “Chelsea is the state’s boiler room, the spot where we’ve dumped the toxic ugliness that makes Massachusetts run,” she wrote. BU Today was already on the story, as Jessica Colarossi explored how COVID-19 cases are “falling largely along racial and socioeconomic lines.”
“Low-income households, people of color, and the elderly often lack the resources and capacity to respond to the health and climate crises,” says Cutler Cleveland, a BU College of Arts & Sciences professor of earth and environment and associate director of BU’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.
US & Global News
The terrible beat goes on
Even as the federal government allowed its social distancing guidelines to elapse, the pandemic continued to gnaw into the fabric of American life, with the revelation that 3.8 million more citizens filed for unemployment last week in an overburdened system. Several states continued with plans to reopen for business. Here’s another sobering statistic: more than 60,000 Americans have now died of the virus.
Latest count of coronavirus cases
United States: 1,046,022; Massachusetts: 62,205.
We’ve all heard about shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers, and the empty shelves for cleaning products and toilet paper at grocery stores—rumor is, meat will be next. But this week the New York Times reported on a sad little shortage we hadn’t heard about: sympathy cards. With so many people dying of COVID-19, greeting card manufacturers are having a hard time keeping up with demand for cards expressing grief and offering condolences. Even craft printers are feeling it. “It makes me sick in my heart, every order that comes in,” says Elizabeth Avalos, who sells cards on Etsy. She normally sold half a dozen sympathy cards in a month; her April tally passed 275.
Find BU Today’s latest coverage of the pandemic here. The University’s hotline for faculty, staff, students, and visiting scholars to call for referral of their virus-related medical concerns is 617-358-4990.