Town Hall Q&A


Will there be a Grad Student Ride Service this fall

The Graduate Student Ride Service will continue during the fall semester. However, use will be limited due to high demand for university vehicles and increased health and safety guidelines. If you need to make a request for fall semester, please contact Kayla Arnold for further details.

What is the plan to create alternative workspaces on campus for graduate students?

Many departments are trying to develop processes to support students who may not have suitable workspaces at home. Though students may not be able to have an office space full-time, departments are trying to develop schedules that both accommodate students in this situation while keeping limited building capacity. Many graduate student offices are shared, meaning that the number of students allowed to use the space at one time is limited. It is also important to point out that students will need to wear a mask while working in shared offices.

Open-air tents are being set up on Columbus campus for use by arts, dance and music classes as well as certain courses with extended outdoor activities in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. 

Thompson Library, Columbus
Wooster Campus Research Library
The CFAES Café will be available in Fisher South (Wooster) 

What types of supports are in place for graduate students who do not have adequate at-home work accommodations?

University IT Services have been working to accommodate any students who may need additional technology to successfully work from home. If students need to request technology items, they can submit a ticket with the IT help desk. However, students should first discuss needs with their advisor and/or program coordinator as the department may have some technology options available to you. Students can also apply for technology funding through the University’s student emergency fund.


Though funding decisions are made by individual graduate programs, the college is fully committed to helping enrolled students complete their degrees in a timely manner, which has not changed. In most cases, departments commit to funding students who enroll in a graduate program through the completion of their degree. Though some students may need to extend degrees due to delays caused by the pandemic, we fully intend to help faculty and departments find ways to support these students however we can, which includes advocating for funding extensions from the graduate school. The Graduate School has been flexible with other graduate student concerns, but due to the uncertain budgetary impacts, the graduate school has not yet been able to make a decision about whether they can extend their fellowship funding.

The rent of housing near the OSU has been increasing, would graduate students receive any other source of stipend?

At this point, the college is unable to provide additional stipends for this purpose. If you are in a situation causing you to need emergency funding, students are encouraged to apply for funding through the University’s student emergency fund.

If COVID cases continue to peak in Ohio, shouldn't all classes be held online for the safety of all students just like they were in the spring?

We are relying on the direction of the university, state and federal government to determine how classes will be administered. There are also many complexities factored into making this decision, such as potential effects on status of our international students, fees assessed for online versus in person courses, or students with learning disabilities that greatly struggle without in person classes. At all levels of administration - departmental, college, and university - we are emphasizing that faculty have increased flexibility and are aware of the many factors impacting students right now.

For those who will be attending in person classes, the university is taking extraordinary measures which are shown to minimize the risk of infection. Some of these measures include mask wearing, hand washing and sanitizing, physical distancing, daily health checks, and limiting building capacity. Further, the University has accountability measures in place to support the health and wellness of our community.

We encourage students who may need an accommodation to complete the appropriate process through Student Life Disability Services (academic) or Human Resources (work).  

What if a student gets sick? Will they still be expected to teach?

If students are exposed to the virus and need to quarantine or fall ill during the semester, we advise that you complete a COVID-19 accommodation request so SLDS can assist you with any course accommodations that may be needed (note this is different from the UHR request). Students living in on campus housing can be provided temporary, alternate housing if required to quarantine. Students that may need financial assistance for any reason, including but not limited to healthcare, living expenses, child care, technology needs, or others, should fill out an emergency request form from Student Financial Aid.

Will GTAs still be expected to teach in class? Will this affect funding?

Many courses have been moved fully online or are being offered as a hybrid course to reduce building densities and maintain public safety measures. Departments are responsible for TA and RA appointments; however, the college has advised everyone to accommodate telework where possible.

In cases where telework cannot occur, or in person teaching is needed, the University is requiring faculty, staff, and students to complete training and follow all public health and safety measures. If you are a graduate assistant who needs an accommodation related to your work appointment, please fill out an accommodation request online via the University Human Resources website.

Is there flexibility for fellowship students not on campus to receive funding? What about international students?

Domestic Graduate Students that received a Graduate School or college Fellowship that are in the United States, but not on campus, can receive both a stipend and Fee Authorization.

International students who are within the US can receive their fellowships as planned. For students outside of the US, the University is not permitted to pay a stipend, however the graduate school is honoring a tuition waiver for fellowship students.

For international students who are not receiving a fellowship, we would suggest you talk with your advisor and program coordinator as there may be some capacity to support tuition and fees, however that would vary by department.

Over the last year, I have been in multiple Carmen discussion forums where my fellow graduate students have shared openly prejudicial views (specifically based on race or social class). What steps will be taken to make sure we address problems like these in the virtual environment?

First, we encourage students to reach out to the instructor and make them aware of any inappropriate comments that may have been posted. Faculty should be monitoring any Carmen discussion boards that are a part of their classes and we encourage them to directly address issues that arise in their courses. If this doesn’t resolve the issue, we’d advise students to contact the CFAES Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and also follow guidance posted in the course syllabus for reporting bias incidents (such as using the reporting form via the Office of Institutional Equity). If students are unsure how to proceed in this situation, you may reach out to the Graduate Education Coordinator or a student on the Graduate Student Advisory Committee who can help direct or assist you.

Are graduate students allowed to post Black Lives Matter sign in/outside of their student office. If not, why?

We see no reason that a Black Lives Matter sign could not be posted outside of a student office, as it is classified as a non-partisan, non-political group.

With regards to political matters while acting as an employee, University staff and faculty members are encouraged to fully and freely exercise their constitutional right to vote, as well as express their personal opinions regarding political candidates, issues, local, state and national programs, initiatives and referendums. As employees of a public institution, there are some restrictions on exercising these rights which can be found on the OSU Legal Affairs Website.