April 17 Update on HMC’s COVID-19 Response

Dear Students, Faculty and Staff:

We wanted to provide everyone with an update on where things stand with various actions the College has taken to respond to the novel coronavirus pandemic. Some of this information will be updates you already have received, but we wanted to pull together information into one communication since various aspects of the details below have been shared with different audiences.

General Updates

  • As we begin our third week of the transition to online instruction, we believe the transition has gone very well. We knew there would be some bumps along the way and we would like to thank our faculty for pulling this together so quickly and our students for their flexibility and understanding in making the change.
  • You should have received an email from Dean of the Faculty Lisa Sullivan regarding Harvey Mudd’s change in grading policy for this semester.
  • Summer Session classes have moved online, and we have expanded the number of course offerings and reduced the price to allow more students to participate, including newly admitted HMC students and high school students.
  • We have hosted Inside Mudd webinars for parents and completed two Town Hall webinars for staff. We are planning a webinar for faculty in May and hosting an Inside Mudd webinar for alumni on May 1. Alumni should be receiving an invitation and registration information early next week.
  • We continue to update the College’s COVID-19 website as new information becomes available. Last week we updated the Parent FAQ and added an FAQ for Staff following our Staff Town Hall meetings.

College Finances and Operations

  • We have been working to determine the full impact to the College’s operating budget for FY19-20 and projecting possibilities for impact on FY20-21. We will provide updated and detailed information to the Board of Trustees when they meet later in May.
  • Student Accounts has processed approximately $3.3 million dollars of pro-rated refunds for room and board for all students who opted to leave campus. Those were issued as credits to the students’ accounts and when requested, we sent checks to families.
  • We are asking all faculty and staff to avoid non-essential expenditures that are not crucial to our mission, and have asked all members of the President’s Cabinet to review their FY19-20 operating budgets to determine where we anticipate saving money to offset the costs of the College’s pandemic response.
  • We have frozen hiring of new and vacant positions until further notice, including visiting faculty for the fall semester. We will evaluate needs in specific areas on an as-needed basis.
  • We will not be offering in-person Summer Math this summer. We are continuing to evaluate the possibility of offering limited, in-person Summer Research with a focus on research that requires lab space. We anticipate making a decision about in-person Summer Research in late May or early June. We are allowing remote research work where possible and have committed to paying all summer research students who are able to work remotely. We have also agreed that if we are able to offer in-person research, we will pay students for the portion of the research work they can complete while on campus and will continue to pay them for work they are able to do remotely.
  • We’d like to thank all of the members of our community who have supported the College’s Community Emergency Aid Fund. So far, we have raised more than $160,000 to assist us in providing support to our students, faculty and staff as well as to address the many unforeseen expenses necessary as part of our response to the COVID-19 crisis. We greatly appreciate any support you are able to provide.

Campus and Community

  • We have closed the campus to all but on-campus students and essential staff and faculty to mitigate the risk of the virus spreading and are requiring people who have to be on campus to wear masks in accordance with CDC and LA County Public Health directives.
  • Construction continues on the McGregor Computer Science Center. We are still scheduled to complete construction in spring 2021, and the project remains on budget.
  • At the May board meeting, we will be discussing pending construction projects to determine which capital projects should be delayed.
  • We have created a new page on the COVID-19 website to share stories about how members of the Harvey Mudd community—students, faculty, staff, alumni and parents—are lending a hand to help deal with the pandemic. If you would like to share how you are helping, email communications@hmc.edu.

Sincerely,

Maria Klawe, president
Andrew Dorantes, vice president for Business Affairs and Treasurer
Lisa Sullivan, vice president for Academic Affairs and dean of the faculty