TCU plans to take its share of the latest round of government stimulus after declining similar assistance last year.
Chancellor Victor Boschini announced the university’s plans at a faculty meeting Tuesday.
The in-person meeting was dubbed as a ‘town hall’ but attendance was limited to 25 and there was no simultaneous virtual option. A link of the meeting will be posted on TCU Today at a later date.
Boschini answered questions from those in attendance for nearly 40 minutes. Topics included stimulus money, COVID-19 vaccinations and lessons from the pandemic.
TCU eyes stimulus
The stimulus bill signed by President Joe Biden earlier this month includes almost $40 billion for higher education.
When asked about the new stimulus, Boschini answered affirmatively that TCU will take their share “if we can get it.”
The chancellor added that there are some qualifications for this round that are different from the initial stimulus included in last spring’s CARES Act.
The university passed on their multimillion dollar share of that stimulus, which would have been split between students and TCU.
Boschini said Tuesday that they were “shamed” into not taking the money, echoing comments he made at a virtual town hall last summer.
Then, he said a movement to stop “rich schools” from taking the money drove their decision to decline the money.
It is unclear when the university will receive the new stimulus money if they qualify.
Mandatory vaccines aren’t ruled out for the fall
COVID-19 vaccinations were a popular topic at Tuesday’s meeting.
In his opening remarks, Boschini asked the TCU community to fill out the vaccine verification form after they receive their shots.
This form will allow the university to track how many people are vaccinated more accurately.
Boschini added that TCU may be able to achieve herd immunity among the campus community if they can get upwards of 70 percent of members vaccinated.
Later, the chancellor was asked if mandatory vaccinations for students and staff next fall is a possibility.
He didn’t offer a clear answer, but said that the university is watching how other schools, such as Rutgers University, implement mandatory vaccines.
Boschini also took the question as another opportunity to implore students and staff to register for the vaccine. Gaining herd immunity without a mandatory vaccination policy, he said, would be even better.
Lessons learned from the pandemic
A number of questions were asked surrounding the unprecedented past year for TCU, and what the future holds.
Boschini said he was most proud that the university was able to hold classes for the past two semesters and be on campus in some capacity.
The pandemic, he added, forced TCU to look at things with a fresh view and led to some changes that they will keep going forward.
The “biggest downfall” at the university over the last year was communication, Boschini said.
He described an environment in which decisions were made in a vacuum as things constantly changed and few were around to be part of the discussions.
Last summer, some Faculty Senate members discussed a vote of no confidence on university leadership. One of their main concerns was a lack of transparency from the administration.
The vote was tabled, but faculty discontent was expressed in an open letter published by Faculty Senate Chair Sean Atkinson.
Boschini concluded the meeting by talking about what’s next at TCU.
Next week, the Board of Trustees will be meeting to approve the annual budget and tenure for some professors.
In the fall, the university is planning to return to a fully in-person and on-campus experience.
TCU is currently ahead on first-year deposit payments compared to the previous two years, according to the chancellor.
As the university inches closer to normalcy, Boschini said that he is excited to begin shaking hands, giving hugs and walking through campus again.
Tomorrow, the chancellor will host another ‘town hall’ with 25 students in attendance.