Faculty Council president: 73 in-person classes fall quarter, online winter quarter ‘expected’


Bianca Cseke | The DePaulia

DePaul University Lincoln Park campus.

Faculty Council President Scott Paeth held a Q&A session Wednesday where the looming topics of course instruction, CARES Act funds, faculty tenure and other matters were discussed. 

“This is not another lockdown,” Paeth said about the reopening of campus for Fall Quarter. 

Paeth explained that 73 classes will be instructed in person this quarter, representing 1.8 percent of all classes being taught. He said whatever classes are able to be run online will be done so, and only courses that must be taught face-to-face can have allowances. 

It was also said that on-campus housing will be scaled down to a minimum and can accommodate students who don’t have other options. 

Paeth said the students who will be granted housing are dependent on campus technology, are housing insecure and are international. Victoria Van Kirk Pride from DePaul’s Department of Housing said 353 letters of appeal were sent out Wednesday, however that’s not a hard number. Students who will be living on campus in the fall will have a single room and a bathroom to themselves. 

“Reopen [DePaul] in a way that preserves social distancing,” Paeth said. 

That directed the meeting toward preliminary planning for Winter Quarter. When asked about the planning for the following term, Paeth said the future doesn’t likely hold many changes. 

“As of right now, we are expecting that winter will be like [the] fall,” Paeth said. 

He said if students are planning to take classes on campus this winter, they should have a backup plan. 

Classes that are online are more likely to be executed. Paeth noted schools that have executed reopenings have experienced outbreaks and some are closing their doors. Both Notre Dame and University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill closed this week after cases spiked.

Craig Klugman from DePaul’s Health Committee explained that COVID-19 cases don’t necessarily start in the classroom, but rather come from off-campus. 

“These are 18 to 20 year olds who are out partying,” Klugman said. 

He reported it takes 7 to 18 days to get test results and that Illinois is now a travel ban state under Chicago. The committee will be tracking the statistics of cases daily.

When asked about Paeth’s comments, university spokesperson Carol Hughes pointed to the email that was sent out to all students, faculty and staff on Aug 12. 

Since the pandemic continues to spread, questions regarding the CARES Act were raised. Paeth said  there is money left over from the last distribution, as there was a significant amount of students who didn’t apply. Another round of distribution is on the table, however, Paeth said eligibility needs to be confirmed in the process of making final decisions. 

Most of the students who applied for the CARES Acts funding beforehand were eligible for $500 grants. 

Following this, questions about tenure and layoffs were asked. Paeth said there hasn’t been any updates on this matter, but discussed how course selection and DePaul’s budgeting could play a factor. If not enough students enroll in certain courses, then adjunct faculty could be let go. However, he said there is no certainty to what will happen to employees in general. 

Despite these speculations, DePaul is holding up financially.

“Financially, we are ok at this point,” said Sonia Soltero, Vice President of DePaul’s Faculty Council. 

Paeth said even though that may be the case, DePaul’s budgeting is conservative. Currently, $18 million will still be going towards endowment at the end of the year. He mentioned DePaul is reputable for doing well financially with assets and their balance sheet, though the pandemic could be bringing up costs for “the next couple of years.”

Soltero added that DePaul isn’t planning on using any of its money secured for emergency funds. 

Paeth said enrollment is expected to decline, but the council is still looking into the extent to which that may be. The council is also working with glitches around the FAC 180 software. 

Paeth said the Town Hall meetings tomorrow will address reopening further — with much of the time for questions from the floor.