Penn State announced Monday it will move a virtual town hall on the return to in-person instruction for the fall semester because it fell on Juneteenth. Juneteenth, which is celebrated every year on June 19, marks the emancipation of the last African American slaves in the U.S. in 1865.
“Penn State wants to be respectful and immediately changed the date to June 22 so as to embrace the opportunity for faculty and staff to participate in planned activities,” Penn State wrote in a release.
On Monday, June 22, Penn State will now hold an hourlong town hall for faculty and staff at 2 p.m. and another for students and families at 3:30 p.m.
In addition to President Eric Barron, four faculty members will serve as panelists during both town halls. Panelists include Executive Vice President and Provost Nick Jones, Vice President for Human Resources Lorraine Goffe, Vice President for Student Affairs Damon Sims and Associate Professor of Biology Matt Ferrari.
For some faculty and staff, the town hall represents an opportunity to voice concerns about the in-person fall semester. Michelle Rodino-Colocino, an associate professor in the Bellisario College of Communications and president of the Penn State chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP), has a lot of questions and doubts whether a return to in-person learning is the right choice.
“I do not want to teach in person in a classroom,” Rodino-Colocino said. “For a lot of reasons, I feel more comfortable teaching online in the fall.”
The release from Penn State says questions directed to Barron and the panelists should be broad; specific questions that pertain to personal situations or circumstances should be directed to an immediate supervisor, unit leader or human resources representative.
Click here to submit questions for either town hall meeting.
The town halls will be streamed online here.