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05 AUG 2021
1. Yale, Cornell and other US universities reinstitute mask mandates just in time for the fall semester to begin
With the Delta variant of the coronavirus sweeping through the US and causing an uptick in cases around the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has updated its masking guidelines — leading a growing number of US universities to reinstate their mask requirements for indoor spaces around campus. Cornell and Yale were among the first to make the change, though many universities have this week announced that upon returning to campus, students and staff will be required to wear face coverings indoors regardless of vaccination status.
Crimson’s Take: While it’s unfortunate to see the US reverting back to stricter masking policies after several weeks of what seemed like a return to pre-pandemic normalcy, we see mask requirements as a small price to pay in exchange for returning to campus and in-person living and learning. We know some students may be disappointed by reinstated mask policies, especially those who have done their due diligence to get vaccinated before heading off to campus this fall, but we’re confident that requiring masks for all individuals will help prevent a return to remote learning, which seems like a good compromise to us!
2. The Common App announces changes designed to promote more diversity and inclusion in the application process for US college hopefuls
The Common Application, which over 1 million aspiring college students use to apply to US universities each year, launched its 2021-22 application on August 1 with “updated questions and tools designed to both expand access and facilitate a more equitable, inclusive college application process.” Among the changes are the removal of questions about applicants’ school and military discipline records and revisions to questions about applicants’ citizenship, family, geography, sex/gender, and religious preferences. The organization has also added over 60 new schools to the list of those accepting the Common App, bringing the total to more than 950.
Crimson’s Take: As a company founded on the principle that barriers out of a students’ control should never keep them from pursuing their dreams, we always love to hear about positive changes being made to increase diversity, inclusion, and access to higher education for students everywhere. Ultimately, we know that a student’s college candidacy should depend solely on their merit as a student and a member of their community — not on factors they cannot change. With that said, we’re excited about the changes the Common App has made to its latest application and look forward to working with our students to optimize it in the upcoming admissions cycle!
3. New survey finds that a large majority of Americans support Affirmative Action programs at US universities
The latest findings from Gallup, an analytics company that conducts public opinion polls worldwide, indicate that roughly 62% of American adults “favor Affirmative Action programs for racial minorities” — the “highest level of support recorded for such policies over the past 20 years.” Affirmative Action has been a hot topic in the higher education sphere in recent months, with headlines frequently covering an ongoing lawsuit filed against Harvard seeking to “end the consideration of race and ethnicity in college admissions.” However, studies including this and another recent Georgetown University study have been challenging the notion that Affirmative Action is an outdated or unfair practice in college admissions.
Crimson’s Take: Despite the ongoing debate on whether Affirmative Action should be part of the university admissions process, we see it as an appropriate means of establishing fair access to educational opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds — and especially those who face obstacles due to their race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. We firmly believe that every qualified student should have a fair shot at a top-notch education and as such, we support Affirmative Action as a practice intended to ensure adequate representation of minorities in higher education and beyond.