For years, Ana Maria Candela, an assistant professor of sociology, had included a “progressive stacking” policy in the syllabus for her Sociology 100: Intro to Social Change class. The policy, which Candela said aimed to support marginalized groups, stated that Candela would give priority to students of color, women and students who are “shy and quiet” when calling on students during class discussions. National media attention was brought to the policy after a student filed a Title IX claim against the syllabus clause, claiming gender discrimination. Since the claim, Candela decided to amend the syllabus policy, which University administrators claimed was in violation of the Faculty-Staff handbook.
Weeks later, in March, the Latin American Student Union
organized a rally for the professor, criticizing what protestors described as a lack of University support for the professor. People who attended the rally also complained of how quickly they felt the Title IX complaint was addressed, compared to complaints of sexual violence also handled by the Title IX office. Amid the situation, the University had also released a letter from Donald Nieman, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, responding to commonly asked questions and misconceptions.
Non-traditional junior protests false Student Accounts claim
On March 21, two protestors stood by an entrance to the University’s campus, holding a sign reading “Binghamton University abuses disabled students.” Pictures of the protestors were quickly shared across social media, with many wondering of their motives.
Pipe Dream’s coverage told the story of the two protestors. One of the protestors, Michelle Hami, previously a junior majoring in political science, found herself unable to afford tuition after being incorrectly labeled as an out-of-state student by Student Accounts. Hami, who has bipolar disorder, had previously been able to pay for tuition through ACCES-VR, a state program that aims to assist those with disabilities in pursuing education and employment. Despite having proof of New York state residency dating back to 1996, Hami had lost ACCES-VR funding due to her out-of-state labeling, causing her to be unable to register for classes in spring 2022.
BU lifts indoor mask mandate
Since online classes began in fall 2020, BU students have been mandated to wear masks in all indoor buildings on campus. In late March, that policy was lifted as COVID-19 case rates declined nationwide. The decision came shortly following the end of spring break, and marked one of the many milestones in the University’s push toward a fully “normal” semester. Later that month, BU President Harvey Stenger announced that the 2022 Commencement would have no mask, vaccination or testing requirement.
Both decisions saw varying responses from students and faculty, with some warning that the decisions would be difficult to reverse should the pandemic take a turn. Others, including some seniors, were eager to turn the page on a pandemic that has for years limited their experiences on campus.
Death of former SOM Dean Upinder Dhillon and IGMAP co-director Nadia Rubaii
The BU campus community lost several important figures this year, including the pioneers of some of its renowned programs.
Nadia Rubaii, 57, the co-director of the Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention (I-GMAP),
died on March 12 after entering cardiac arrest a week prior. Rubaii had assisted in the founding of I-GMAP in 2015, and had received various accolades for her work at the University, including the 2014 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service. Rubaii was remembered by various community members for her impact on the department, as well as her kindness toward students and colleagues.
Upinder Dhillon, 71, the retired dean of the School of Management (SOM),
died on April 23, after retiring weeks earlier following a diagnosis with advanced stage cancer. As dean, Dhillon had led SOM through a rise in national rankings, and oversaw the creation of some of the program’s widely used facilities, including the Zurack Trading Room. Faculty and students alike mourned the loss, describing Dhillon as a trailblazer for the school.