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Please direct all questions regarding preparedness efforts at the College of Law to  LawPreparedness@law.syr.edu.

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For information and Frequently Asked Questions about the Fall 2020 semester, visit this webpage



Emptying Lockers in Dineen Hall: Rules & Procedures

Q: I'm a 2L, 3L, or LL.M., how can I retrieve my personal belongings from my locker in Dineen Hall this summer?

A: Consistent with Syracuse University policy, in order to retrieve the items in your locker, you must make a reservation to enter Dineen Hall for the limited purpose of retrieving your items. Please contact Sarah Valenti.

Q: How will Syracuse University ensure appropriate social distancing while students are moving out?

A: No one should come to campus or enter any Syracuse University facility if they are experiencing any symptoms of respiratory illness, including a fever or cough.

While on-campus and in University facilities, including Dineen Hall, everyone must comply with established social distancing requirements:

  • Students will be required to swipe into the building.
  • Do not travel to campus if you have been ill within the last 14 days or are currently ill.
  • Per NY Governor Andrew Cuomo’s executive order, anyone out in public is required to wear a mask or face covering. Gloves are encouraged. If you are not wearing a mask, you will not be permitted to enter Dineen Hall.
  • Maintain six feet of separation while waiting in any lines at entrances.
  • Wash your hands frequently and encourage those who assist you outside of Dineen Hall to do the same.
  • Students will not be permitted to visit other campus buildings.

Our ability to maintain this process will be dependent upon everyone’s cooperation with these safety guidelines, so please understand that those who do not comply may be asked to leave. Access is to the locker room only.

Q: What happens to belongings left behind?

A: Items left behind in lockers will either be donated or discarded. However, upon final locker checks, if anything of significant value is found (i.e., passports, credit cards, jewelry, cell phones, laptops, etc.), the College of Law will attempt to safeguard the item and try to reach its owner.

Q: Where can I park while I am cleaning out my locker?

A: Syracuse University has restricted vehicle access to the campus at this time. Appropriate gates and parking structures will be opened during the University’s posted move-out periods only, including the dates set forth in the reservation form. Please plan to park in the Raynor Lot.

Q: Will the University provide boxes and packing supplies?

A: No. Extra trash bins will be available near the lockers. Students should remove all trash from their lockers and dispose of unwanted items in the bins.

All items left behind will be disposed of by Syracuse University with an effort to recycle as much refuse as possible under the circumstances. A table will be provided to return library books.

Q: I am unable to return to campus and pack up my belongings. What are my options?

A: With the State of New York under a stay-at-home order, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending against any large gatherings well into May, we understand that these clean-out options may be less than ideal for students.

To that end, we understand that there will be students who will be unable to return to Dineen Hall to retrieve their belongings. In these situations, students should contact Sarah Valenti to make arrangements to have their belongings packed by the University at no cost. Your email should include your locker combination.

You will be expected to video conference with University staff during the process of emptying your locker. Students must register with Sarah Valenti to have their belongings shipped and provide a shipping label. The University will not initiate the packing process without a shipping label.

Q: I'm a Class of 2020 graduate, what will happen to my belongings if I do not register to have them shipped this summer?

A: The University will contact students who have not registered to have their belongings packed and shipped by June 7.

If students choose not to register to have their belongings packed and shipped, any belongings left behind in lockers will either be donated or discarded.

However, upon final locker checks, if anything of significant value is found (i.e., passports, credit cards, jewelry, cell phones, laptops, etc.), the College of Law will attempt to safeguard the item and try to reach its owner.



Grading Policies & Academic Standards for Spring & Summer 2020

Q: Will grading policies and academic standards change for Spring 2020 and Summer 2020?

A: Yes. Please read this updated memo (4.21.20) for a list of provisional changes applicable during the spring and summer semesters.

Q: What letter grade constitutes a Pass under the adjusted grading policy?

A: Any letter grade that is not an “F” constitutes a passing grade. When grades have posted in MySlice for your course, you will see the letter grade you earned in the course (A through F).  At this point, if you want to convert the letter grade to a P (pass), you may do so. Please note that the suspension of Rule 13.4.3 in the Academic Handbook does not mean that Rule 16.1.1 is suspended as well. For example, a student could earn a grade of D in a class, elect to convert the grade to a passing grade, but would still need to repeat the course based on Rule 16.1.1.

Q: When can I elect to convert my actual grade to a passing grade?

A: You may submit your election after the semester ends and your actual grade has posted to MySlice. Final Summer 2020 grades will start to post to MySlice on July 27, 2020. Final grade change information and instructions can be found hereIf you have questions about the grade change process, contact Registrar Sally Greene.

Q: How will my class rank be impacted if I elect to convert my Actual Grade to a passing grade?

A: Rankings will be based solely on the grades that are posted to your academic transcript after you have had the opportunity to view your Actual Grade and decide if you’d like to keep that grade or convert it to a passing grade. Actual Grades converted to passing grades will have no impact on your cumulative GPA.

For example, if you elect to convert all of your Actual Grades to passing grades, your GPA will not change. However, your rank may change relative to the decisions made by the other students in your class. Therefore, it is important to consider the impact that converting your actual grade to a passing grade will have on your cumulative GPA, and thereby your rank, when making the decision regarding possible grade conversions. You may explore how Actual Grades and passing grades may impact your GPA by using the GPA calculator function in MySlice.

Q: How will I know when my grades have posted to MySlice?

A: In general, Actual Grades will post three weeks after the first day of exams if you are taking a non-exam course, and three weeks after the date of your final exam if you are taking a final exam course. The best advice at this point is to check MySlice for your grades using that timeline as a guide.

Grades are posted twice daily as they are received from faculty. Please do not call or email the Registrar’s Office asking when grades will post as it will impede the grade posting process. You will have seven (7) days to submit your request after grades post. Final grade change information and instructions can be found hereIf you have questions about the grade change process, contact Registrar Sally Greene.

Q: When will final grades be posted?

A: Summer final grades will begin to post on Monday, July 27, 2020. Grades will be posted each day as they are received by the College of Law Registrar’s Office from faculty.

Please be patient as the automated grade posting jobs run twice daily and all grades that are received must be assessed prior to posting to determine compliance with College of Law policies regarding grading and any applicable grading curves. There are procedures in place to manage grading deadlines, and to obtain grades from faculty in a timely manner. There will be times when what may be perceived as a delay is occurring; however, be assured that the Registrar’s Office is working with the Dean’s Office on a daily basis to ensure on-deadline receipt of grades. Please do not call the Registrar’s Office or individual faculty members regarding grades.

Q: Will I receive a notification when my grade in a particular class has posted?

A: No. Due to the large influx of grades, and the subsequent number of grade change requests that will be received, Registrar’s Office staff will be dedicating their time to grade posting and making updates to grades based on student requests. Students will be responsible for checking their grades in MySlice.

Q: How do I notify the Registrar’s Office that I want to change my grade?

A: Please read the information sent from the College of Law Registrar’s Office on July 23, 2020, which provides detailed instructions regarding the grade change process and which includes other important information related to Spring and Summer 2020 grades.

Q: Can I change any grade to a passing grade?

A: You may change any Spring or Summer 2020 grade of D- or above to a passing grade. You may not change grades in courses that are already graded on a pass/fail basis or courses that are graded on the Alternative Grading System. Once you have submitted a request to change a grade, you may not rescind that request.

Q: If I convert my grade to a passing grade, what will my transcript look like?

A: Any Spring or Summer 2020 grades changed to a passing grade will be designated with a “P*”. The P* grade is being used University-wide, and the following notation will be designated on the Official Transcript Key: “For Spring 2020, due to changes necessitated by response to the COVID-19 pandemic, passing grades were assigned as P*”. 

Q: For what purposes can my actual grade be used this semester if I have chosen to convert my grade to a Pass?

A: As noted in this memorandum of April 20, actual grades may be used by the faculty and administration for certain purposes, such as in deciding whether a student will be required to participate in our Structured Curriculum Program.

In addition, our law journals and the Advocacy Honor Society have all chosen to use actual grades in reviewing membership eligibility. Their decision does not contradict College of Law policy and merely reflects these organizations’ reasonable prerogative to uphold their academic standards.

Q: Will I have to repeat a course even if I elect to convert the Actual Grade to a passing grade?

A: Maybe. This depends on the Actual Grade that you earn in the course. While Academic Rule 13.4.3 has been suspended for the Spring 2020 semester, and you may elect to convert any non-failing grade to a passing grade, Academic Rule 16.1.1 remains in effect. This rule states that you must earn a grade of C- or above to earn academic credit. Here is an example: You take a class and earn an Actual Grade of D. You may elect to convert that grade to a passing grade, but since the Actual Grade is lower than a C-, you would need to repeat the course. The way to avoid potential repeats is to earn an Actual Grade of C- better in your courses.

Q: I’m required to follow the Structured Curriculum. Am I able to convert my Actual Grade in required Structured Curriculum courses to a passing grade this semester?

A: Yes. Academic Rule 13.4.1, which governs Pass/Fail eligible courses, has been suspended for the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters. For the Spring and Summer 2020 terms only, students required to follow the Structured Curriculum may elect to convert their Actual Grades to a passing grade in any course, including any of the eight (8) required structured curriculum (or “bar”) courses. Please keep in mind that Academic Rule 16.1.1 is still in effect—while you may convert any Actual Grade to a passing grade, you must earn a grade of C- or better to earn academic credit in the course. Courses in which you earn a grade below C- will have to be repeated in a subsequent semester.

Q: I’ve already submitted a request to take a course Pass/Fail this semester. What does “Relief from Earlier Pass/Fail Election” mean?

A: All students who petitioned to take a Spring 2020 course Pass/Fail before the March 2 deadline have had the grading basis on those courses reset to the original grading basis. You will now see your Actual Grade when it has posted, and you will be able to elect to keep that grade or convert it to a passing grade. Please keep in mind that while any non-failing Actual Grade may be converted to a passing grade, Academic Rule 16.1.1 remains in effect. Rule 16.1.1 states that you must earn a grade of C- or above in each course in order to receive academic credit. So while you may convert any non-failing grade to a passing grade, please be aware that any courses in which your Actual Grade is below a C- will need to be repeated, regardless of any grade conversion.

Q: Why has the College chosen to move to a Pass/Fail grading system, while keeping intact letter grades for purposes of the structured curriculum?

A: In making its decision, the faculty weighed alleviating the stress associated with the COVID-19 health crisis against the overall academic success of our students. Letter grades must be used to assess whether a student should be placed in the structured curriculum, a conclusion based on a wealth of empirical data on students’ academic and bar exam performance. A decline in bar passage rates is at odds with our goal of ensuring students’ professional success and it risks the College's accreditation. Although actual grades from the Spring and Summer 2020 semesters will be used to assess at-risk students, those grades will not appear on a student’s transcript and will not be used in GPA calculations surrounding academic dismissal or probation in the Spring and Summer 2020 or any subsequent semester.

Q: I am repeating a course this semester. Am I allowed to elect the Pass option for that course this semester? What would be the impact on my GPA?

A: Yes, you may use a grade of Pass to replace the grade from a course that you have previously completed. We encourage you to continue to perform as well as you can in the course, review your actual grade at the end of the term, and then make the decision whether to convert to a passing grade or keep the actual grade. The passing grade will remove the old grade from your GPA calculations, but the actual grade may potentially have a more positive impact on your GPA.  You can determine the impact that a passing grade would have on your GPA by using the GPA calculator function in MySlice.



Changes to the Summer 2020 Bar Exam

Q: What is the new date of  the postponed July New York Bar Examination?

A: The New York Court of Appeals has moved the date of the July bar examination to Sept. 9-10, 2020, as outlined in this April 30 letter. If you have any questions please contact Courtney Abbott Hill.

Q: What temporary waivers to the Rules of Admission to the Bar has the New York Court of Appeals put in place as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis?

A: On April 20, 2020, the Court of Appeals passed a Temporary Waiver of Strict Compliance with Certain Provisions ... of the Rules for the Admission of Attorneys and Counselors at Law. In summary, the Court orders that:

  • For any J.D. student, rules defining distance education are waived. Any course converted to online learning need not be counted towards the 15-credit hour limitation on distance education, Further, any converted course need not be considered a distance education course for purposes of the prohibition on distance learning courses for students who have not yet completed the equivalent of 28 credit hours toward a first degree in law.
  • For any LL.M. student, rules requiring that all coursework be completed at the campus of an ABA approved law school in the US, and prohibiting credit for distance learning courses, are waived.
  • For any applicant who successfully completed the New York Law Course and passed the New York Law Exam after July 2019—and who first sits for the Uniform Bar Examination no later than 2021—strict compliance with the timing limitation providing that an applicant must demonstrate completion of both the Law Course and Law Exam no earlier than one year before the date on which the applicant first sits for the UBE is waived.
  • For any Spring 2020 J.D. or LL.M. graduate, strict compliance requiring the completion of at least 50 hours of qualifying pro bono service before filing an application for bar admission, and requiring the filing of proof of compliance, is waived.
  • For any Spring 2020 graduate enrolled in the Pro Bono Scholars Program, rules requiring that participants complete at least 12 weeks of full-time pro bono work, complete a concomitant academic component at an approved law school, and earn at least 12 academic credits for program participation are waived.

For any Spring 2020 J.D. or LL.M. graduate, rules mandating proof of compliance with the skills competency requirement for admission are waived.

Additionally …

  • The deadline for New York State to receive the Certificate of Attendance form for all May 2020 graduates has been moved to July 15 (from June 15).
  • The handwriting sample that New York typically requires at the time of application has been waived. 

For more information on bar exams in any jurisdiction, please contact Courtney Abbott Hill.

Q: Is it possible to open Dineen Hall for those studying for the bar exam?

A: Dineen Hall was always meant to be open at all times for students in order to provide safe, quiet places for study. However, until Gov. Andrew Cuomo lifts his current public health Executive Order, we are not able to open Dineen Hall, except for those workers deemed "essential". The College will reopen Dineen Hall as soon as it is safe and legally possible to do so, even if under modified protocols for use and entry. Please stay tuned.



Other Academic Continuity FAQs

Q. Will COVID-19 impact the OCI and Résumé Collect Program this August?

A. Yes. Based on conversations with employer partners, and like many other law schools, the Office of Career Services has postponed its Fall 2020 On-Campus Interview (OCI) and Resume Collect programs until January 2021. There will be one combined Fall 2020/Spring 2021 OCI program, with a likely start date of Jan. 25, 2021. This combined OCI and Resume Collect Program will offer Summer 2021 recruitment opportunities for students who have, at a minimum, completed the full 1L curriculum by May 2021, and postgraduate opportunities for students who will complete their degree by May 2021. Details will follow. In the meantime, the Office of Career Services is fully operational. There are many ways to continue to advance your career exploration. Please reach out to the Office of Career Services at the earliest opportunity to review your needs, plans, and ideas.

Q. Will the University refund any tuition?

A. These are extraordinary times and the global pandemic, and the rapid rate at which it’s evolving, makes this a very difficult decision making environment. While all of us—our students, faculty and staff—would prefer to be together, on-campus, the COVID-19 makes that impossible for the safety and welfare of our entire community. We continue to work to deliver the high quality educational experience you’ve come to expect from Syracuse University. The University is not prorating tuition as we will continue to provide an enriching experience for our students. We ask for your flexibility and understanding while we work to give our students the best experience possible in these unprecedented times.

Q: Are all College of Law offices and functions open?

A: Yes! All College of Law offices are open during normal business hours. Our teams are ready to support you even as they work remotely, like you. Department points of entry can be found here, and the College's full Directory can be found here.

Q: Can I still make an appointment with the Office of Career Services?

A: Students can make appointments with Career Services by calling the main phone number (315.443.1941, note that although your call might not be picked up right away, it will be returned). Or students can email the office's main email career@law.syr.edu or email individual counselors (below). Students also can make appointments in Symplicity under "Counseling Appointment" on your profile screen. Please indicate what type of appointment you would like (i.e., Zoom or phone) regardless of what method is used to schedule it. Be sure if selecting "phone" to include the best number to reach you.

Q: Are classes recorded, and how do I access recordings?

A: Yes, all classes must now be recorded through the end of the Spring Semester. If your class is on Zoom, your professor will receive an email with the shareable link of the recorded class, which he/she will share with the entire class. Collaborate recordings are automatically available to students, using the instructions at this Answers page.

Q: Is online attendance of classes mandatory?

A: All students are expected to attend all of their classes online, and faculty are tracking attendance through our online platforms. Classes will be recorded to ensure no one loses any content or opportunity because of technical challenges. If you have any technology-related questions, please contact IT via LawHelp.

Q: What if I don't have internet access at home or in my location?

A: Like other buildings on the University campus, as of March 20 and until further notice, Dineen Hall is closed to students. As a result Air Orange X is no longer available to you. Students are responsible for their own internet access, and Syracuse University ITS has compiled a list of announced plans and incentives from various internet service providers in response to the health crisis. If you require help with internet connectivity, please contact IT via LawHelp.

Q: Is the Law Library still open?

A: Although Dineen Hall is closed, students can continue to utilize Law Library resources, and librarians and staff are available to help. This document and this bulletin outline how to access library services, including electronic study aids, reference services, and the book collection. 

Q: How is COVID-19 affecting the College of Law Externship Program?

A: During the coronavirus health crisis, the Externship Program has taken the following steps:

  • For the foreseeable future, all externship seminars are being held online. NYEx seminars are also being recorded.
  • Planning of networking receptions is suspended until further notice.
  • Contact your program director if your placement modifies its work approach or signals any change in your placement at all.
  • Student safety is paramount. Even if your placement has not converted to teleworking, feel free to do so nevertheless. You should discuss this option with your placement supervisor, or else feel free to ask your program director to do so, on your behalf.
  • Currently, our externship partners are still planning to take our summer participants. Should COVID-19 continue and impact placements your program director will be in touch. 
  • The summer 2020 LondonEx has been cancelled.

Q: Is Dineen Hall closed? How can I retrieve my belongings?

 A: Yes. Like other buildings on campus, until further notice Dineen Hall will be closed to students. If you need to retrieve your belongings from your locker, please be in touch with  Assistant Director of Event and Facilities Sarah Valenti to make arrangements to enter the building for that limited purpose. Please note that as of Friday, March 20, 2020, Dineen Hall will not be accessible by students at all, even with an SU ID card.  Beyond March 20, the only way for students to enter Dineen Hall will be to contact Sarah Valenti to make an appointment. When you contact her, please let her know why you need to enter Dineen Hall and whether you have been traveling for Spring Break—or at any point up up to the date of your message to her—and if so, the details of your travel. Please remember the travel guidance and the requirement to self-quarantine if you have been to, or traveled through, certain areas.

Q: What does Gov. Andrew Cuomo's March 16 order mean for campus operations, such as the health center, food options, the gym, etc.?

A: Please see this update from Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie: "All restaurants, gyms and fitness centers in the state must close for the foreseeable future, effective at 8 p.m. on March 16 ... Rest assured that food service, in the form of take-out options from one or more Syracuse University dining centers, will be available to students once the restriction goes in place."



Technology & Online Learning

  • For specific technology-related questions, please contact IT via LawHelp.

Frequently asked questions include:

Q: What academic support is there for faculty who will teach summer 2020 courses online?

A: Faculty who are preparing to teach a summer course online are encouraged to utilize the online Academic Continuity Resources. Instructional design support is available for faculty who feel they need or want to seek additional resources before converting their course for online instruction. To request instructional design support, submit an email to help@syr.edu. Include the title of the course you are developing and indicate if it is a graduate or undergraduate course. You will be contacted within one business day by an instructional designer to coordinate consultation and resource support.

Q: Are classes recorded, and how do I access recordings?

A: Yes, all classes must now be recorded through the end of the Spring Semester. If your class is on Zoom, your professor will receive an email with the shareable link of the recorded class, which he/she will share with the entire class. Collaborate recordings are automatically available to students, using the instructions at this Answers page.

Q: What if I don't have internet access at home or in my location?

A: Students are responsible for their own internet access, and Syracuse University ITS has compiled a list of announced plans and incentives from various internet service providers in response to the health crisisIf you require help with internet connectivity, please contact IT via LawHelp.

Q: Are students responsible for providing a microphone and webcam to join online classes?

A: Yes. The College will not provide this equipment to students. However, most modern laptops are equipped with built-in microphones and cameras. If you need assistance setting up your computer, please contact IT via LawHelp.

Q: What do I do if I experience problems with my computer, microphone/camera, or online collaboration platform?

A: College of Law support offices remain open. In the event of a technical problem during the period of online learning, please contact IT via LawHelp. 



Health & Wellbeing

Frequently asked questions include:

Q: How does staff and faculty vacation time apply during SU’s temporary remote work arrangements? What are the University’s vacation policies?

A: In response to COVID-19, most of the University’s faculty and staff have transitioned to working remotely instead of reporting to the University campus. However, working in a home setting is not equivalent to taking time off from work, and it is important for good health to take time away from work. Engaging in self-care and activities outside of work responsibilities remain an important priority.

Accordingly, even though COVID-19 has limited our ability to travel, we should still take time in an effort to foster overall wellbeing, mind, body and spirit. With this in mind, all benefits-eligible staff are strongly encouraged to utilize their accrued vacation time prior to the end of the current fiscal year. Per our current policy guidelines, accrued vacation time must be used by June 30 and may not be reimbursed or carried forward to the next fiscal year.

Staff should work directly with their supervisor to schedule time off from work to relax, refresh, and reset with the understanding that it may not be possible to take a large number of days in June. Union employees should also refer to the terms of the applicable collective bargaining agreement for additional information regarding the use of vacation time.

Q: What mental health services are being offered during the COVID-19 health crisis? 

A: The Barnes Center at The Arch is now offering Zoom appointments for counseling, nutrition counseling and psychiatry services. Students can meet one-on-one with a counselor through a confidential, personalized Zoom invitation. To schedule an appointment, students should call the Barnes Center at 315.443.8000. The counseling team has also relaunched group therapy via Zoom for existing groups and will announce new group options soon on the Barnes Center website and @BeWellSU. For more information about services and hours, visit the Barnes Center website.

Q: I live in campus housing and have paid for this semester's accommodation via loans. If I return home during the coronavirus health crisis, will there be compensation for the weeks of campus accommodation I have paid for but cannot use?

A: While most of our students live in off-campus apartments or accommodations outside of University housing, College of Law students who vacate University housing should follow the University's process for room and board refunds.  If you have any questions related to your aid or refund, or are experiencing financial hardship, please contact the College of Law Financial Aid Office at financialaid@law.syr.edu.

Q: What should I do if I think I am sick?

A: Students exhibiting any of the coronavirus symptoms should call (not visit) the Barnes Center at the Arch at 315.443.8000 and then follow the instructions health professionals there give you. Faculty and staff should contact their primary care physician immediately.


 


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