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RISD cancels on-campus summer programming

Commencement, graduate thesis show, senior shows postponed

By
Metro Editor
Wednesday, April 1, 2020

The school has also postponed commencement for the class of 2020 to the weekend of Indigenous People's Day.

The Rhode Island School of Design has canceled on-campus and in-person summer programming due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

RISD’s commencement and graduate thesis show have also been postponed, according to an email from President Rosanne Somerson sent to students today.

At the moment, the school plans to return to normalcy this fall, and will hold commencement for the class of 2020 during the weekend of Indigenous People’s Day.

Canceled programs and classes include RISD’s Pre-College Program, Global Summer Studies Program and Continuing Education summer courses. The Summer Foundation Programs will offer remote courses this summer in Drawing, Design and Spatial Dynamics for undergraduate transfers, according to the email.

Izabela Clarke RISD’20 left campus this spring with the rest of her senior class, disappointed about her premature departure. Still, she looks forward to returning for a future commencement.

“I think the majority of kids will come back,” she said. “Most people are feeling really sad to be alone at this time. Most people are really eager to return to campus and have a specific date to know that’s going to happen.”

At the forefront of some RISD graduate students’ concerns are tuition reimbursement and the postponement of the graduate thesis show, said Alexis Hill RISD GS’21. 

Hill said he is frustrated with RISD’s current policy, which will not reimburse students for the full cost of attendance this semester. 

The thesis show is the “culminating experience of the graduate programs,” Hill said. The event is not only a showcase of work produced by the graduate students, but also a valuable networking opportunity with dealers and galleries, she added. 

While Somerson wrote that she is hopeful about the coming fall semester, some uncertainty still remains.

“At this time, we anticipate holding the fall semester in person and starting on time,” Somerson wrote. “However, we are carefully watching COVID-19 and assessing how this might affect our plans.”

By press time, Brown has not canceled its pre-college summer programs. The University plans to “update students and families on those decisions no later than April 16.”

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