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Welcome, everybody, and good evening Welcome to the town hall for MIT graduate students on student life and solving for the fall My name is Matthew Bauer I’m with the Division of Student Life, and I’ll be the moderator for tonight’s session Please note that under the video screen, there is an interface for crowdsourcing and upvoting questions Behind the scenes, we’ve got a great team of student leaders and staff who are making sure that we answer a wide range of questions about student life and about MIT’s plans for the fall So if you want to pose a question or upvote a question, please use that interface under the video screen, and we look forward to hearing what you have on your mind But to first kick things off, I’d like to invite Naomi Carton, who is the Head of House in Westgate, and GSC President Madeleine Sutherland to take the mic and to introduce our co-host So take it away Welcome, and thank you for joining us tonight Over the last week, many of you have attended residential town halls or the larger town hall community meeting Tonight, we hope to answer many of your questions that you as graduate students have Along with our guests, we are excited to be here My co-host this evening, Madeleine Sutherland, GSC President, will get us started by introducing our wonderful guests Thank you, Naomi I hope everyone can hear me OK I wanted to say a few words before we get off the ground Greetings in this strange and difficult time I’m talking to you for the first time as GSC president from Salt Lake City, Utah, where I’ve relocated for the time being Even while we’re gathering over Zoom, there is a need for grad student voices to be heard so much in the coming months And it’s our hope that tonight’s town hall just kicks off a broader set of discussions across campus You will hear more soon about opportunities to weigh in on academic policy, research practices, safe residential living, teaching, and community While it doesn’t magically make everything OK, I’ve kept my spirits up and my mind engaged by brainstorming the things that I do know right now and the things that I can do Here’s what I know Crises run their course, and I will return to MIT My home at MIT is worth preserving, and I can help to fight infectious diseases with my research I know who my friends are and what friendship means And I know that my life has no more or less worth than anyone else’s Here’s what I can do Like many others, I can ramp up the computational side of my research I can read widely and think deeply about what I’m doing It’s easy during normal times to move your research very quickly in the wrong direction Maybe now, we get to learn how to move slowly in the right direction I’m amused by how much working from home motivates all of my home improvement efforts And I can connect virtual communities with each other and be a listening ear for friends Finally, and most importantly, I can advocate for my colleagues in all disciplines, from all backgrounds, to have the support and resources they need to thrive at MIT and do the work that brought us here, that essential mission of research, innovation, and education With that, I will introduce our speakers We have joining us as panelists tonight David Elwell, the Director and Associate Dean of International Students Office, David Friedrich, Senior Associate Dean of Housing and Residential Services, Krystyn Van Vliet, Associate Provost, Ian Waitz, Vice Chancellor for Graduate and Undergraduate Education, Maria Zuber, Vice President for Research And as guests tonight, we have Jessica Landry, the Program and Policy Administrator for the Office of Graduate Education, Suzy Nelson, the Vice President and Dean for Student Life, Lauren Pouchak, the Director of Special Projects in the Office of the Vice Chancellor, Stu Schmill, Dean of Undergraduate Admissions and Student Financial Services, Blanche Staton, Senior Associate Dean and Director at Office of Graduate Education, and Cecilia Stuopis, Director of MIT Medical Thank you, guys Thank you, Madeleine We’ve already got a lot of questions coming in And so please keep contributing and upvoting those questions as we begin the first part of the town hall The team that I mentioned before is going to get to work getting your submissions organized And so first, I’d like to turn to a number of questions that were submitted through the We Solve for Fall Idea bank last week And my first question is for Maria Zuber Maria, what plans are under consideration for graduate students to return to labs and to ramp up research? OK, great Thank you, and happy to be here Hi there, students I’m going to share my screen with you if I can

So research at MIT did not stop So all research that could be done remotely is being done remotely And in the foreseeable future, all research that can be done remotely is going to continue to be done remotely Now, we do have some amount of research taking place on campus, high-priority things like COVID 19 research, some projects with students close to finishing their theses, those kind of things, some experiments, like with animals, that have been going on for a long time, that if you cut it off, you would lose a lot of research So you had to apply to work on campus, and some of those people have access to buildings The governor is going to make an announcement about possibly opening up part of the state on Monday We don’t know what he’s going to say, but we’re not waiting So what we’re starting out with is a ramp-up pilot that you can see in the screen here So it’s a test run, and we’re going to make use of the personnel in several buildings who are currently approved to be on campus So we’re going to use Building 76, which is the Koch Building, E25, which is the MIT Medical and adjacent buildings, and 68 is the Biology Building And we’re choosing these because we’re able to control access, and they have adequate lobby space So as our initial step, starting next week, on Monday morning at 8 o’clock, instead of going in, the people who are approved going in any door they want and go into their lab, they’re going to go into a single portal that’s designated down here in the right here The little black dots for these buildings indicate the portal There’s going to be– you’re going to have to wear a facemask, as required by the State of Massachusetts and the City of Cambridge, and then social distance at check-in, although we’re not expecting lines because there aren’t that many people, and people come in at different times Then there’s going to be a table in the lobby with a friendly staff person who’s just going to swipe your ID to verify that you have permission to come to this building So why are we doing this? Because we’re going to be– as soon as we’re able to, we’re going to ramp it up and phase in and bring more people back in the lab consistent with the guidelines that are given to us by the state and our medical professionals And we want to make sure that we can operationalize all the planning that we’re doing So while we’re just swiping IDs at the beginning of next week, we’re then going to be doing a health check app where you would, before you come in, check to make sure that you have no symptoms and submit them And if you get a green light, you can come in and show that it’s green If you do have any symptoms, someone from medical will contact you and discuss next steps At some point, we may do temperature monitoring We may do– we may recommend a test depending on what the symptoms are But basically, as we are getting input from the community to ramp up research, the question that we are being asked most is, what steps are we taking to keep people safe in MIT labs? So there is going to be extra cleaning, social distancing, 160 square feet for each person And we hope to extend this and, as soon as we’re able, extend this to all research buildings on campus, and not only the designated personnel but all lab researchers who need to be on campus And the last thing that I’ll say is that your research advisors are going to be getting a note on Friday telling them to develop detailed plans for how they would prioritize bringing people back If you’re a lab-based researcher, it’s a good time to be having a discussion with your advisor about whether or not you would feel comfortable coming back to the lab, because coming back is voluntary You don’t have to come back if you feel uncomfortable or if you feel like you’re at risk But if you do come back, you have to agree to these health check and various other things that our medical professionals have decided to keep our community safe So I’ll stop right there Great Thank you, Maria Our next question is for Krystyn Van Vliet Krystyn, what will access to our labs and classrooms be like? What social distancing and protective practices

will be in place? So that’s a great question, Matthew I think that what the labs and classrooms will be like will feel very much like we are used to, except that the population density that we were used to last fall will be lower on purpose in a given room at a given time So I could show you the charts and the spreadsheets where we’ve worked this out, but I think it’s simpler to explain it So you have in the photograph behind me, that I took a couple of weeks ago when the daffodils were at their height, this is the back of the Infinite Corridor This is going into Building 8 So what a normal day would look like in terms of using the academic buildings like this is, as Maria mentioned, there would be access portals So we would come in through specific doors, so we’re all nice and spread out We know that we are wearing our face coverings or whatever is the appropriate local guidance at the time And we have our MIT ID around our necks We probably also have gotten into the habit of carrying our own sanitizer around, but MIT would have the resources in place to maintain safe workspaces But we’re all probably a little bit more diligent than we were going into this in what we might carry around for ourselves So the classroom experience when we go into it will be, if I have a lab component class, I’ll go into a lab component class but maybe not as often as I used to Maybe I used to go into lab For that class, I had lab hours that met three times a week And so those might meet less often, or arranged differently, or in a slightly different lab space But I’m able to actually get my hands-on time And then I come and get my hands-on time with my colleagues and my instructors socially distanced And then I go back to the other places where I continue to learn It could be my room We’re looking into other resources on campus that we can make sure are reservable and well-cleaned and so forth for other outlets besides the physical performance space, or lab space, or project space, or learning space, and the space where you’re going to be working on your problem sets and doing your lab write-ups So the way that we’re doing that, just so it doesn’t sound so mysterious, is we’ve looked at all of the learning spaces that we have on campus And we figured out, what is a physically distanced capacity of those rooms? How many of those rooms do we have of various types? So where would you do your performance-based learning for music? Where would you do your lab-based learning for your chemistry graduate program? Where would you think about interacting with your economics peers? Where would you think about your project-based final project for your engineering graduate program of study? So we found all of those spaces and developed an inventory of them so that the instructors and the department labs and centers can think about when and how to use those spaces to deliver the instruction And then we overlay that, of course, with what Maria said in terms of the research volume also being on campus So it’s not that it’s an easy logistical problem, but we understand the principles, that it’s got to be educational excellence, we have to provide for physical distance, we have to provide for ways to clean not just the spaces where the learning occurs but also the contact surfaces in the restrooms And so we’re figuring that out layer by layer And there’s a team that involves myself and many other people with expertise in urban planning and logistics, medical, emergency management, and facilities that meet every night for an hour just to work on the different pieces of this problem so we have a solution ready to go as we ramp up these activities Krystyn, thank you very much Ian Waitz, this is a question for you What is MIT doing to financially support graduate students over the short and long term during this period of disruption? How will various fall 2020 teaching scenarios that are under consideration involve graduate students? OK, so that’s a big question Let me start on the funding side of it Funding for grad students is something we’ve obviously been partnered with the GSC on for the last several years and have been working to address in a couple different ways There’s both the average funding for the average student, but we’ve been focusing increasingly on, how do we address the tails, people either who have low incomes because they’re in partial appointments or high costs because they may have dependent children or a spouse who can’t work and things like that So those have been efforts that have been in place for the last couple of years Obviously gets a whole lot more acute now with being in a pandemic

So what’s some good news and some steps we’ve taken, and what are some areas that are still to be worked on, frankly? One is that we were really pleased to get the recommended stipend level increase of 2.9% approved Just to be clear, that addresses the average cost of living change I’m pleased that the health insurance rates aren’t going to increase We’re able to, for people who are graduating, extend their eligibility for the extended insurance plan, things like that So those were good news items Another one is that Blanche Staton and Office of Graduate Education have for many years had an Emergency Hardship Fund It’s not been well-advertised, and we’ve actually been working over the last six months to put in place stronger processes to more effectively advertise that it exists And, boy, at no time was it ever needed more than now, I would say Just in time, we got the processes in place And Blanche’s team has just been working in overload to respond to needs of students And I would say, if you personally or if you know a student who is in hardship for any reason, please reach out to the Office of Graduate Education They’re quite busy responding to requests, but that’s what they’re doing right now is connecting students with schools and departments so that we can help respond to those needs, most especially for the summer The provost is working very closely with the deans on this and has provided funding to the schools so that they can address the needs of students So there’s a lot being done there that’s on the time frame of between now and September, which has really been our near-term focus because it’s the immediate thing that we have to make sure we do and get right We’ve also worked hard to create opportunities where we can for people to replace lost funding and internship with other paying opportunities So there’s a Summer Opportunities Resources page that we can share with you the link to, which has a lot of different things on it And it’s not just for-pay opportunities, but there’s marvelous professional development opportunities, teaching opportunities, and things like that But, for example, we are going to have to convert almost all of our classes over, outside of Sloan, over to a new learning management system So we’ve set aside funding to be able to hire grad students and undergrads to help with that transition So we’re trying to find ways to meet the needs of students who may have interest in teaching or otherwise So those are all the good news items The problem that’s on a lot of people’s mind are the longer term things What if I need an extension on my degree? What happens if funding goes away because we lose industrial sponsorship in the fall? And that’s really the task ahead for us that we’re working on I can tell you that those issues are just very much front of mind for the provost, the chancellor, the school deans And I think now that we’ve got in place the processes for the immediate needs of the summer, that’s what we will turn our attention to And I expect that, as we’ve done so far, that we’ll be very responsive to those needs Likely to be different for different schools, different departments and programs, which is the nature of MIT There’s a lot of different needs in a lot of different ways So that’s where things stand I think we’ve done a good job to move quickly to put in place Emergency Hardship Funds And now we have to turn our attention to needs for the fall and beyond in terms of sustained financial commitments Hopefully that is clear Happy to answer more questions about that I know it’s an important topic Thank you very much, Ian So, David Elwell, how will MIT support international graduate students who may have to work remotely in the fall? Great question Thank you so much, Matthew So there are a couple of pieces to this First, with our continuing students, I just want to touch upon a question that we’re receiving a lot regarding maintenance of status So we have a number of continuing international students who left campus, but also have left the United States, but are continuing their studies through the summer and the fall and wanted to be sure that the US Department of Homeland Security has issued guidance confirming that students in this situation

would be maintaining their status, even if they are outside the United States for more than five months There was formerly a five-month temporary absence rule which has been suspended So this is a key point for students to make sure that they’re just continuing to maintain status, even if they have left in March and are returning in September or even later than that time frame Additional questions we’ve been receiving are about continuing work, such as RAs and TAs, remotely from abroad And MIT has a working group [INAUDIBLE] our office, General Counsel, a number of other offices, that are reviewing visa, payroll, and tax-related issues to make sure that students will be able to continue their roles from abroad And we hope to have guidance on that available and out to the community very soon Another factor that we’re considering is students have been asking about working and pursuing internships and experiences during the programs in the fall term So students who are not graduating this spring or summer and continuing into the fall, the ISO is able to continue to process necessary employment authorizations that international students require, including F-1 Curricular Practical Training and J-1 Academic Training Authorizations for eligible students to pursue internships and experiences that they are maybe pursuing from abroad The reason it’s important to highlight this is that for students, since they are maintaining their visa status, need to maintain appropriate employment authorization if they are abroad and their internship or experience meets one of three criteria So if a student is working for a US-based employer, if any of the activity will be performed inside the United States, or if any funding is received for the activity from a US source So in all of those cases, a student– or any of those cases or all of them– a student would be required to secure employment authorization as they would normally if they were physically inside the United States Again, if there are questions concerning this, we want to make sure that students are connecting directly with their International Student Advisor Other questions regarding students pursuing post-completion work after completion or a degree, we continue to update students on the application procedures regarding that Optional Practical Training Authorization requires students currently to be physically inside the United States when US citizenship and Immigration Services receives your application for that benefit Colleges and universities, along with many higher education associations, have been extending information and requests to the US Department of Homeland Security about any accommodations given the circumstances But as of now, Optional Practical Training still requires being physically present in the United States at the time that the application has been received So again, Curricular Practical Training and J-1 Academic Training can be authorized while a student is abroad Optional Practical Training requires the student to be inside the US If a student has any concerns regarding eligibility or pursuing an experience where there is no US connection, no US employer, no activity in the US, and no funding from the United States, you may not require employment authorization, but we still recommend you contact your ISO advisor point of contact And a link is available on the ISO website to verify who your ISO advisor is And each academic program, every graduate program has an ISO advisor assigned to them I’m going to stop there because I know there may be additional questions that will come up, and I’ll pass it back to Matthew All right Thank you very much, David And now to David Friedrich What options are available for graduate students who are interested in returning to on-campus graduate housing? And what policies are in place to keep residents safe? Thanks, Matthew So I want to start by acknowledging and thanking those students who elected to leave campus at a time when the Institute was really working to reduce the density in the residential buildings We know that was not necessarily an easy decision, and it was likely inconvenient and probably challenging for many of you I also imagine that there are a number of students who are looking forward to returning And we’re really looking forward to having you back on campus and want to accommodate you in a reasonable and responsible way So with input from campus partners and public health guidance, we’re currently finalizing a process and a timeline for students who would like to return to graduate housing And we’re basing it right now on a phased approach on unit type and an overall population density

So we’re looking to do this in alignment with the anticipation that Governor Baker will begin lifting elements of the emergency order starting on Monday, May 18th So the process roughly is as follows, and we’ll send more communications about this But students who are interested in returning to live on campus throughout the end of their license agreement period this July and are able to renew for the next academic year are able to apply to return And the first phase, beginning as early as next week, would be initiating scheduled returns to private apartments So these are students who may live in their own private apartments They’re in family housing, or they live in a one bedroom or an efficiency And then with, of course, all dates subject to change, we’re looking ahead to probably the middle of June to think about initiating more returns, trusting that all things are continuing to go well, and that at that point, we would have students start to return to multi-occupant apartments So these would be apartments such as two, three, and four-bedroom units The third phase is really about when we can initiate returns to what we would refer to as dormitory-style housing And these are settings where graduate students are living in spaces that share floor kitchens and/or floor bathrooms And the timing is still unclear on that And so we’re still waiting to determine the timing of that third phase And any of the returners that come back in these phases will, of course, need to abide by and be agreeable to the residential policies that are in place that have been implemented to help ensure the well-being of the communities that they’re rejoining I want to say, though, very clearly that we continue to work with our partners in DSL to accommodate students who may be in extraordinary circumstances And on a case by case basis, if they’re facing a significant hardship, we’ll work with them on a return to campus if that’s appropriate And the application for that is on our website There’s also a process we’ve developed for students just to collect their belongings Some of you may want to just come back and get your things and leave And so we have a process by which you can contact your House Operations Manager and work out a schedule and receive the expectations about what protocols need to be followed in order to safely do that A couple other things that we’re working on is making sure that there are no termination penalties for current residents of on-campus graduate housing due to travel or visa restrictions, maybe changes to MIT academic or research programs, and those changes associated with COVID-19 For new students, who have acquired a housing assignment for the 2020-2021 academic year, we’ll be able to cancel their assignments without penalty due to reasons associated with COVID-19 So if they can’t make it to campus for some reason, they would not be charged those typical fees And then students seeking off-campus housing can always request assistance from our office And our staff are here to assist with reviewing leases and providing other tenant resources to support searches off-campus In terms of keeping residents safe, new housing policies have been established within the residences to help reduce the potential for any exposure and spread of COVID-19 Some of these policies include, physical distancing practices, of course, are in effect throughout all the residence halls, face coverings are required in all residential common areas and public spaces Overnight guests or guests from outside one’s residence hall are not permitted And common areas have been closed, and in-person residential social events are currently not permitted We’re working within each residence hall with the House Operations Managers and the housekeeping staff to sustain increased cleaning of surfaces in high-traffic areas, things like handrails, and elevator buttons, and door handles, to disinfect them more regularly Hand sanitizer stations are available in public spaces, and signs are posted regarding proper handwashing There are also less visible efforts we’ve undertaken just to make sure that our staff are aware of how to direct residents who may have questions or concerns and to help them follow the directives that we’ve received from MIT Medical I want to really acknowledge and thank those students that continue to live in housing right now with their goodwill during a challenging time The feedback that we’ve been receiving from residents has been very helpful as we work to understand what the experience is like living on campus now and how that can inform our planning as we look ahead to the fall I also want to express gratitude to the many dedicated staff

members who continue to work each and every day in support of the residential buildings and the residents who live there We know how much residents value the experience of the living communities that they’re a part of And I’m really grateful for everyone who’s involved in sustaining that at this remarkable and extraordinary time So with that, I’ll turn it back over to you, Matthew OK Thanks, David That concludes the pre-submitted question portion Now we’re going to be turning to our live questions We have lots of questions coming in, lots of uploading going on for which– thanks very much for doing that Please know that we’re going to have way more questions than we’ll be able to answer tonight So please remember that there will be more opportunities for you to ask questions of student leaders and campus leaders in the future And we just appreciate you being here and appreciate you sharing the questions with us So let’s go to the first question, Ian, which is for you And anybody else on the panel, feel free to chime in if you’d like to add to this answer But, Ian, the tenure clock for faculty has been extended by a year Why isn’t the same kindness being extended to grad students whose departments only fund them for five years? So, as I had said in my earlier comments, we– our biggest focus has been on the summer And now the job for all of us is to turn our attention to the longer term issues And that’s one of the issues that we have to address I think we just initially didn’t feel that we should make blanket extensions on things, because there’s so much varied different needs and expectations across MIT and different programs and things like that But that’s certainly something that needs to be considered and worked at the department, and school, and provost level for some programs, and I think it will be Just haven’t gotten to it yet, is the short answer on that There’s a discussion that we’re going to have– I think it’s scheduled for Monday– with some of the students who are most concerned about that particular issue And Marty and Cindy will be there and can share what at least some of the initial thinking is for working with schools and departments going forward Yeah, Ian, if I could just step in We’ve actually created a new designation for students who have defended their thesis and where the funding might not be available to hire them on right as a postdoc, but a position called a Research Specialist, where if a student has defended their PhD thesis and wants to stay around because of the situation, that they would get some increase in salary and for some period of time to be able to finish up revisions and to still– it’s a little bit of a safety net but an important one because we don’t just want to have the students just go away and wait for the job market to get better Thank you Ian and other panelists who want to jump in, will tuition refunds or discounts be considered for 2020 due to the cancellation of labs, tracks, events, and the switch to online courses? We have not gotten to that yet I mean, our primary task again is to first figure out what our educational offerings will look like for next year and then to understand what some of those dynamics are As I think most people are aware, we are continuing to try to offer a really great educational experience We’re also continuing to pay all faculty, staff, and things like that So we’re in a challenging financial situation, and we’re trying to do the very best we can to support everyone through that And the extent to which there will be changes in tuition and discounts is really a topic that we’ll get to once we decide how best to position MIT for the fall and likely into the spring OK, great David Friedrich, what is the situation for fall on-campus housing and, additionally, the ongoing construction at Site 4? So as we look ahead to the fall and what we’ll be doing to offer housing to new students who are planning to arrive, we’re in the process right now of running the first allocation for applications to live on campus We are anticipating, though, that we will have a lower density population on the campus than we have in prior years, as we work to make sure that we’re

taking reasonable and responsible steps to redensify the buildings So we’re anticipating a lower density overall In terms of the Site 4 construction, as you likely know if you’ve been watching the news in Cambridge, there is a construction moratorium in place currently We’re watching that situation carefully If there’s a delay in the opening of Site 4, students will remain in their current assignments If and until they’re able to move over to Site 4, we’ll accommodate them For any students who may live in The Warehouse or off-campus and were looking to move to Site 4, an efficiency for single students or an apartment for those families that we’re planning to go to Site 4 will be made available on campus until that building is open for occupancy We still don’t have clarity on the exact timeline, but our goal is to make good on the commitment to those who have signed up and signed licenses to move into Site 4 So we’ll be working with that community on a case by case basis to make sure that we’re meeting their needs for housing Matthew, if I could just add, so David and I worked very closely together on these points So while we don’t know exactly when the construction will resume in Cambridge and on Site 4, this is something that we’re tracking very closely and planning for So we’re all planning for success to restart that project and other projects on campus as soon as possible And so that means that we’re gating what are the possible effects and delays and planning accordingly So we definitely appreciate that question It’s on our minds, too, but we have backup plans and backup plans to backup plans until we have clarity around when the construction will resume Great Thank you The next question is for Ian, and possibly Blanche, and anybody else who wants to chime in How are you addressing the concerns of 1,200 plus grad students, faculty, and other expressed in the open letter urging COVID-19 relief for MIT grad students? So I probably responded to some of that all already, but the first is to share the data with what we’ve been able to do for the summer So some of the concerns there are things that at least we believe we’ve addressed in terms of summer support and things Or if we haven’t, please, please, please tell people to contact the OGE in any way, and we will work to address those with the departments and the provost and things like that And then the other is really the longer term questions, where there’s already been some thinking and some discussions on that front But the very next steps on it are a meeting that will happen on Monday with some of the leaders of that group who put that petition together with me, and Cindy, and Marty to talk about the next steps And I’ll also say that, and I know that’s a little frustrating, that you’d like me to just say, well, these are all the plans We’re really trying to address the fires that are burning closest first and work our way forward But you should also know that the overall desires expressed in that letter are things that we’ve been collaborating with the GSC on for a couple years to try and move forward and improve year on year at MIT So we still have work to do We know we still have work to do, and we look forward to continuing that discussion Great OK Question for David Elwell David, what support can MIT offer international graduate students that can’t leave their home countries and can’t get visas due to the worldwide suspension of services? Thank you, Matthew I think there are a couple of pieces, one just to highlight where we are with this right now And so colleges and universities had a chance to speak with the State Department to get updates, and actually they’re providing some regular feedback to some of our requests But first is currently the visa suspension is still in place That’s been in place since March 20th for visa services in most countries However, we are hearing from students that they have been able, in some locations have been able, to schedule visa interview appointments as early as mid-June So now we will have some consulates who will start opening up as the current situation stay at home restrictions in those countries and in those cities are alleviated, and staffing levels are increased so that the consulates can meet the need What we’ve been advised by the State Department is to make sure, for those of you who do need visas and are waiting for visa services to resume, the best place to verify current status and policy

is to go to the US Embassy and Consulate website where you’ll be applying, which can be accessed at usembassy.gov And clicking on your particular consular post city, we’ll be able to advise both the scheduling procedures for visa interview appointments as well as any additional instructions that will be provided We have been advised by the State Department, as in past years, that they will attempt to prioritize student visa applications based on resources and the local conditions This is something that happens every year, that student applications go through a different appointment tree process But again, the concerns we have is, what will the staffing levels be, or how long will it take for all the consular posts to be able to resume full operations? But noting that State Department will have some prioritization for student visas as in the past is very helpful We also advise students that if you’re able to schedule a visa interview appointment, even if it’s for a date later than your planned return to campus, that you should schedule that visa interview to reserve that time There is a procedure available to request an earlier visa interview time, what they call emergency application, but they are unable to do that unless a student already has a visa interview reserved, a visa interview time reserved So it’s important to do that process There is no way to expedite any administrative processing or the security check procedures that go into the processing of the visa after the interview The State Department is aware of concerns of processing times based on the volume of applications And they’re reviewing procedures to ensure that they can process applications in as timely a manner as possible For entry to the United States, there’s another factor here even if you have a valid visa, and those are travel restrictions that are currently in place either by executive order or presidential proclamation There are a few that are still in place So first is the travel ban that was in place prior to COVID-19 still applies to 13 designated countries, though for a visa, student visas, that really only applies to Syrian nationals who have to apply for a waiver of this ban before their student visa application or as a student visa application is pending Other countries are not specifically designated for student visas to be impacted by a travel ban But processing times at the– in these countries at the consular posts may be impacted And entry to the US may be impacted by those restrictions With regards to COVID-19 travel restrictions in place, there are a few that are still in place as we speak today One is for Europe, which is most Schengen countries, including the United Kingdom, and Ireland, China, and Iran, as well as the US, Canada, and Mexico So right now, the travel, the COVID-19 travel restrictions basically are in place until they are lifted So while some originally had some expected expiration dates, our understanding is that travel restrictions will remain in place until they are lifted If an individual is a student visa holder or looking to enter the United States in student status from Canada or Mexico, the current travel restrictions between Canada, Mexico, and the United States do not apply to student visa holders, anyone pursuing studies or employment That only applies to what they call non-essential travel, which would be tourist travel The guidance that we’re providing to students is that, again, we’re continuing to monitor visa processing As MIT continues to not have any on-campus study at the moment for this summer, that there’s time for the State Department to resume services and for processing But we will work very closely with all students who may be impacted The other conversations where students, if they are delayed in being able to return, even if in-person classes resume in the fall, that students would be able to continue their studies and pursue the coursework remotely until they have the opportunity to reenter the United States and based on their visa or other travel restrictions So we’ll work very closely with you in that regard Again, if there are individual questions, we recommend that you contact your ISO advisor point of contact so that we can work through your individual situation And we will continue to update students, both on our website and by email, of any updates that we receive from the State Department or Department of Homeland Security on any

of the visa or travel restrictions David, thank you very much Cecilia, we’ve got one for you Recent antibody testing and CDC death rate by age group data has shown the risk for college-age demographics is near zero Why can’t students come back now? Thanks, Matthew, for the question And I think this is a multifaceted answer, and it’s not as simple as it looks on the face And I think as a parent of several college-age students, I’m very glad that demographic is at very low risk for deaths from COVID-19 But I think it’s important for us to remember that not every student at MIT is in that age range demographic We have students that are quite a bit younger than you would expect the average college-age student to be, and we have students who are actually quite a bit older than that average college-age student So it’s not as simple as saying students are not going to die from COVID-19, so we should have them be on campus And the more important thing in my view is that MIT is made up of many people, not all of whom are students You see the folks on this call, the professors that you interact with, the people who you live and work with in various labs, and residences, and in the dining facilities There are people in our community who are not at low risk from dying from COVID-19 of all ages, I think is really important, because there are certain medical conditions that put people at risk And we know that there are age issues that put people at risk So it’s really not just about one particular demographic or another It’s having to consider the whole community And the other thing I would say about why students can’t come back right now is that we also have to understand what’s going on in the community around us So we know our campus is not a closed campus, and our students interact with those in Cambridge, Boston, the Greater Boston area And we have to be very careful in terms of how we might impact people in those communities who may not have access to the same kinds of resources that we do here at MIT So we would love to have every student back right now, let me tell you, but we really have to be thinking about all of those people and what our impact is on them So thanks for the question, though It’s a great question Thank you very much So, Maria, how will you guarantee that no students are coerced by their advisors to come back to campus? MIT’s decentralized nature means just issuing a rule does little Yes So that’s a great question, and it’s something that I’ve thought a lot about and a lot of other people have thought a lot about So in the population of designated people who are approved to be in MIT labs right now, one of the criteria for getting approved was that the PI of the lab had to have a conversation with the person, whether it’s a student, a postdoc, or a technical person, and say, do you feel comfortable coming back and working in campus? And if the answer was no, you could not get approved to come back to campus So obviously, everybody who is there now said yes So I was trying to understand whether people were feeling coerced, so teamed up with several faculty members and Institutional Research And we did a survey of all those people and asked them the question, do you feel safe on campus, or did you feel pressured or coerced to come back to campus? And 10% of those people said yes, they felt pressured or coerced And as part of the survey, we gave a list of, if you felt– if you feel unsafe, or pressured, or coerced, here’s a list of people that you could contact And we gave names of deans, medical professionals, and the anonymous hotline And no one who answered yes to that survey contacted anybody whose name had been listed on that survey about feeling pressured So the moral of the story there is that we can’t solve problems if we don’t know about them You’re going to have to reach out to somebody And the second part of that is, moving ahead, people are going to get asked again when we talk about ramping up the research to come on campus We said it’s going to be voluntary, but we’re going to ask people who get recommended to– we’re going to take a survey of people again and ask, do you feel coming back to campus? And PIs are going to get a list of people who could be on the list to come back to campus if they’re

prioritized by the PI And if somebody isn’t on the list, no questions asked So it could be a medical reason It could be that they have an elder family member living at home It could be that their spouse has asthma, or it could be that they just feel unsafe But they will not be able to ask any questions So those are the kind of steps we’re taking We’re extremely sensitive to people not feeling pressured But we do realize that this is not a pressure-free situation, but we’re doing what we can But there will be people that you can reach out to to talk to about it Thank you, Maria We have a question about– from Sloan students And I’ll just open it up to the panel Why are MBA students who pay more than other graduate students not being communicated about scenarios on campus or tuition reduction? I guess I can– I don’t have a good answer to that, though I’ll certainly follow up with the folks in Sloan to understand a little more about the dynamic there I can say that we’re– things are so busy right now that we’re just now at the stage, as you can see with the many town halls and things, where we’re transitioning from more providing information to inviting feedback, inviting engagement around planning for fall We created that the 2020 Team maybe four weeks ago, something like that, and spent the first week doing– or maybe it was April 3rd, so more than four weeks ago But first thing was the principles and values, understanding campus capacities, making sure we were prepared for further reductions enforced at MIT if we we’ve got a real spike And so there’s a lot of work in the first week and a half or two weeks on that And then we began to get our arms around, what were the different scenarios, what are different decision points and things? And so we’ve not– I would love to be able to tell everyone that we know the answer here If ever there was a case where it’s really not pre-baked because it’s really not pre-baked, it’s because we’re working as hard as we can to really understand the different options And there’ll be opportunities starting next week to engage the whole community in providing feedback on the different options that we’re considering, helping us co–develop and improve those options So there’ll be a series of charettes that are hosted So we’re at a stage now where we think we know enough about what works and what doesn’t work or what might work and what might not work, let’s say, that we can now begin to get really broad community feedback on these things So all that’s to say that the lack of communication, whether it’s in Sloan or anywhere else, is in part due to the fact that we were taking not a lot of time but a week or two to just get our ducks in order and do some analyses to understand what is even possible for the fall And I would wish that we could move faster, but it’s a pretty complex task But lots of opportunities going forward, I think, for many people to get engaged in understanding what we’re doing and help us In fact, there’s some great students from, talking about Sloan, from the Operations Research Center, which is a Sloan Engineering collaboration, who did some beautiful optimization analysis on a model for three semesters next year to look at, what are faculty workloads, what– can students still progress to degree and things like that? And that was just done and reported on to people this morning So that gives you an idea of the pace of the work that we’re doing But you’ll all get to learn about that and other options early next week or mid next week depending on when we get our ducks together Thank you Matthew, if I could briefly amplify Ian’s answer, because this information is fresh and we’re sharing it with you as fast as we have it, another example would be we looked at a typical MBA curriculum What are the classes that are taken, where are they, with Sloan over the past week to get a sense of, well, what spaces could those go in, and at what capacity

in those rooms? And we just sent that information back to them this morning, as well So there’s a lot of information adaptation that we’re doing so that Sloan and all the other schools are in a position to make some decisions and communicate options I think you’re just catching us in the freshness of that planning And it’s not that we have a plan that we’re keeping from you, but we certainly appreciate wanting that communication as soon as it’s available Yeah I wish we had a plan we were keeping from you, honestly Life would be so much easier But just a credit to Krystyn, too, I’ve got to say like, just figuring out how to socially distance in classrooms, she had a whole team of people in over a weekend– I believe it might have just been last weekend, in fact– like putting blue X’s on seats in different classrooms and different teaching and lab spaces to understand how we can operate with these with social distancing So there’s a lot of work to do and being done So just a shout-out to Krystyn and her team for all the amazing work they’re doing on that All right Thank you Hey, we’re coming up on the top of the hour, and we still have a number of questions to go through So I’m going to move into lightning round mode and ask questions to the panel and ask you just to please chime in and briefly answer whatever you can So for Ian and David Friedrich, but for everybody as well, there’s a pretty broad question What are the three scenarios [AUDIO OUT] the Institute is considering? Will graduate students be prioritized given a lower risk due to housing? So you need to separate a couple scenarios One is, what are the plans for bringing graduate students back and scaling up the research enterprise, which Maria shared And that will go along with inviting residents back to Cambridge and things That’s different from, how do we operate our curriculum? So when and how do we teach classes? Are they remote or non-remote? And how do we use our instructional spaces? And they’re sort of separable in some way We’ve treated them that way So there’s a whole effort, which will be announced I think starting on Friday, to start to stand up to the research enterprise And that includes, obviously, the grad students And then the question that I can answer on more curricular scenarios, so what scenarios are we looking at? And apologies, Matthew You said lightning round I’m way over time on that We’re looking at situations where we have everyone back on campus in the fall, but still a lot of the teaching is socially distanced and/or remote We’re looking at a 50-50 scenario, really applying to the undergrads, where half of them are back on campus for half of the first semester We’re looking at a three-semester model next year We’re looking at a delayed start And I think those are– I feel like I’ve missed one, because there’s actually five there Maybe one is everyone online or everyone here, and then one is fully online Yeah, so that’s the other one So there’s more than three that we’re looking at Some of them are more or less attractive depending on what you believe the spring will be like So that’s one of the things that we’re currently spending a lot of time on thinking about now, which gives us more or less flexibility for either upscaling or downscaling if we have to And sorry for the lengthy response, Matthew Thank you very much That was a tough question to do in the lightning round So, David Friedrich, a question for you As a graduate student, when should I renew my lease for more than $10,000 a year for my apartment if I don’t know if campus will be open? We’re working hard to make sure that housing can be responsive to what’s happening with the ramp-up of research and any plans that are made for the academic program that’s offered What I’ll say is each person’s circumstances are different It’s hard to answer a general question like that, except to say that our goal is to be as flexible as we can be when COVID-related issues do affect students’ housing decisions And so we encourage you to reach out to our team in our office so we can work with you on your specific circumstances But we’re looking forward to welcoming students back We have the benefit that graduate students live in the style of housing that lets us accommodate more on-campus And so that’s one of the benefits as we think about how housing can support what we’re trying to do in the research and academic areas Yeah Could I just jump in there? So if you’re a graduate student and you’re working in a lab,

and you don’t have a high-risk person who’s in your household, and you should be– and you would feel comfortable coming back to the lab, then you should be thinking about coming back to campus sooner rather than later Great So we have time for just one more question, and I’m going to ask Suzy Nelson to answer this one How will you address the many questions that will inevitably not end up being addressed due to the limited time during this town hall? Thanks, Matthew And thanks, everyone, for coming to the town hall, first of all, and asking all these questions I mean, first of all, we started this because we know we have to communicate more effectively about what’s going on, even if we still have questions ourselves What we’ve heard from the GSC and other student leaders is, let us know what those questions are, and we’ll help you think through them, how to solve them So that’s really what this whole thing is about But another good suggestion is to work through the GSC And I know Madeleine is going to say a little bit about that at the close of this town hall They are a very effective body and actually were instrumental in pulling this together and even the format, wanting to have the questions come in, upvoting the questions so that we were actually responding to those things that students care about So I want to just take a moment to thank everyone for being here, especially the audience, but Matthew, and Madeleine, and Naomi for hosting this town hall Many thanks to our panelists And the only way that we’re going to figure this out is to figure it out together And I appreciate all the good input tonight and really look forward to future discussions If you have additional ideas, there is– this is online There is an Idea Bank and a Solve for Fall exercise with a series of questions So based on what you heard tonight, I really would appreciate if you would go to that Idea Bank and offer more thoughts But I want to hand it over to Madeleine to close out the program All right So thanks, everyone Thank you, panelists and guests, for joining this conversation tonight and for being willing to face the tough issues at MIT right now After this, I want to encourage everyone to take care of yourselves Get some fresh air when you can Watch a comedy Call your loved ones Do things that give you joy Find a schedule that works for you But most importantly, speak up loudly for what you and your colleagues need The GSC is actually just one of many places where you can do that The COVID-19 relief open letter started as a grassroots effort by students who were concerned about each other and their futures I actually already posted links in the public questions, if you scroll down to the bottom to the GSC website, where you can find descriptions of our committees and the work that we advocate around The committees include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, which works to make MIT equitable, and safe, and welcoming for people across all identities, External Affairs Board, which advocates for grad students at the local, state, and federal level, and Housing and Community Affairs, which works on grad housing, family life, cost of living, and many other issues And there are many other committees and ways you can get involved in the GSC And the barrier to entry is low You’ll find in the minutes on the website the times that the committees are meeting Finally, I wanted to say that all GSC committees and activities at MIT in general are open to all grad students from any school, domestic or international, from any background You belong at MIT You are a part of our community Your insights and your perspectives matter Take care, everyone Thank you very much

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