Dean Promises Timely Updates as Students Raise Concerns About Finance

Sudesh Baniya, Staff Reporter

(Photo/ NU-Q)

NU-Q will put out timely updates and work for better communication, Marwan Kraidy, dean and CEO of NU-Q, said during his monthly student town hall meeting held last Wednesday.

The dean shared updates regarding COVID-19, student finance, vaccination, and graduation ceremony plans. 

Kraidy started the meeting with an update regarding the progress of the vaccination procedure among NU-Q’s staff and faculty. 

“The Ministry of Public Health has mandated that all teaching staff at schools would be vaccinated by March 21 in order to be able to enter any building. We have it on good authority that this will be extended to universities very quickly,” he said. “This mainly concerns faculty and staff. So what we’ve been doing in the past week or so is rushing trying to schedule everybody for vaccination.”

He also explained the challenges that NU-Q is facing regarding the vaccination deadline set up by the Ministry of Public Health. “The challenge of course is that the vaccine is done in two shots and immunity kicks in a week after the second shot and so March 21 is already too late for some people,” he said. “Those people who have had the first jab will be able to do this. We’re trying to figure out what exactly can be done.”

Kraidy thanked Qatar Foundation for their collaborative efforts in faculty and staff vaccinations. The update is relevant to the students as they are next in line for the vaccines, he said.

“You will be contacted by the health authorities to get vaccinated sooner rather than later after we finish faculty and staff. You will come next and once everybody is vaccinated, we can begin to contemplate a very different use facility for everybody,” he added. 

Since most members of the NU-Q community will be vaccinated by graduation, Kraidy revealed that NU-Q is considering an in-person graduation ceremony for the Class of 2020 and Class of 2021. 

“Graduation is supposed to be a celebration of your accomplishments. It is also supposed to be a joyful occasion for bonding before everybody goes and does their own thing. So, the tradition is to have the graduation at the space [NU-Q building] where you spend your three or four or five years,” he added. 

However, these plans can change depending on the MOPH. In addition, current restrictions mean the classes will not be able to combine their graduations. “I’m hopeful and our goal is to have graduation for each class, so we have to have separate graduations in our building,” he added. 

The dean also asserted that the final decision is now only “a matter of days” away and will be announced to students early next week.

In his third update, Kraidy echoed his focus and interest in fostering student engagement. “I always talk about the ethics of engagement, and how do we make sure on a practical level that we have more and more active student organizations and ways to make sure that every position at NU-Q Student Union not only has one candidate but is actually contested to have multiple candidates for each position,” he said.

“You hear plans that different people have to improve the student experience at NU-Q as opposed to just vote for the person you know or the person you like,” he said, adding that competitive and inclusive engagement will not only enhance the student experience at NU-Q but make the world a better place. 

In his last update, Dean Kraidy talked about recent issues regarding the Business & Finance Department at NU-Q. “Stressed out people working under difficult conditions tend to sometimes write emails that may be perceived as rude or impolite or offensive,” he said referring to growing student concerns about the department’s email replies. “I think there are issues of substance that also need to be addressed which is to think the financial aid not only as a package that you get as you’re about to enter but what happens to the package of financial aid through the lifespan of your experience attending NU-Q and allow some room for an emergency.”

The dean proposed to “re-orient one staff person in every single department at NU-Q” for better communication and administration. 

NU-Q is putting efforts into set-up a functional and effective emergency fund, Kraidy added. 

“We’ve learned from the last year that there’s no script that’s predictable. So, we’re looking at what we can do to create wiggle room for the emergencies financially,” he said. “I’m hoping to expand the student emergency fund so that we can concretely and meaningfully help students in need.”

Referring to The Daily Q story published about Professor Jocelyn Mitchell, Kraidy informed students about the decision of relieving the professor from teaching duties for the rest of the spring semester. 

“This is a confidential and personal issue and was a very difficult decision that was reached to protect everybody’s rights, including the faculty member in question and the students,” he said.

Kraidy then took questions from the students regarding student finance, employment opportunities throughout the summer, and summer housing.

In response to complaints about untimely responses from Business & Finance, Kraidy assured students about efforts to put out timely updates in the future.

“It’s an issue of substance and secondarily it’s an issue of communication, but sometimes there are things that are impossible to make happen that many of you feel are very needed. What can solve this is a crystal clear explanation of what is available and what is not available and how circumstances may change,” he added.

Kraidy also discussed constraints created due to budget reductions. “We are dealing with a 20% budget reduction and at some point, I have to make a decision with the team on the thing that we cannot find right,” he explained. “We have to decide between housing over the summer or a student emergency fund. If we have to make these decisions, it’s extremely difficult.”

He clarified that NU-Q is looking to tackle uncertainty over international students’ jobs through the summer. 

“If you’re outside of the country, there are things you cannot contractually be paid for and the student jobs fall under that. So that’s an issue that we have to deal with,” he said. “However, I never think of cutting somebody off, particularly students, as the first option. Instead, I seek for creative alternatives.” 

Facebook Comments Box