By: Yitzchak Carroll, Sruli Fruchter and Yosef Lemel  | 

President Berman Announces Refunds in Call with Student Body

President Ari Berman announced full refunds for remaining caf card balances as well as a 30% refund of spring semester housing charges, among other updates, in a call with the student body on Wednesday, April 22.

According to President Berman, refunds will first be used to settle students’ outstanding balances to the university, and will be credited to fees in the fall semester for returning students. Students who will not return to campus in the fall will receive refunds via direct deposit. More specific refund policy details will be released by YU online by Friday, Berman added.

Noting the plan for student reimbursement, President Berman referenced the financial hardships incurred to the university for housing and food costs even with no students present on campus. He further urged students to “please keep in mind that this situation has resulted in significant financial consequences [for YU], and anyone who is willing to donate these funds — it is certainly very appreciated at this time as well.”

Turning to academics, President Berman shared that online summer courses will be offered, to consist of several options including separate secular and Jewish studies programs as well as a “Torah Umadda” option that would offer a mix of courses in both areas. While many students will be unable to work at in-person summer internships, Dean Noam Wasserman has endeavored to find remote internship and leadership opportunities for students to ensure they have a “meaningful and fulfilling summer,” President Berman said.

Plans for the fall semester are “more of a question,” according to President Berman, who added that the university is “planning for all contingencies.” Fall 2020 could be completely online, in-person or a hybrid of the two options. The evolving situation and the fear of a second wave of COVID-19 will be taken into consideration. He added that the university plans to train the faculty over the summer to be “online teachers,” promising a “more enriched experience online” in the fall.

“Yeshiva University is in session,” President Berman remarked. “We are educating the leaders of the world of tomorrow … There is a moral dimension, that we know that we need to be in session, that we will always be in session.”

With regard to student belongings still in dormitory rooms, President Berman said that students will not be allowed to return back to campus to pack their rooms until “restrictions lighten up,” citing New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s executive order aimed at curbing individuals from congregating. As of the time of publication, the governor’s press office did not respond to The Commentator’s inquiry on this matter.

Academic and athletic awards alike will be announced in the coming weeks, and a working group consisting of students and administrators has been assembled to make plans for commencement, President Berman said, noting that there has been “a lot of feedback for an in-person commencement at the right time.” 

This is a developing story.