Look back at The Setonian’s top headlines of 2020

There are years that are like no other, and then there is 2020. From the protests for racial justice to the loss of cultural icons and the global pandemic that overshadowed it all, The Setonian compiled our top headlines of the past year to help us ring in the new one.

January

January 20

Seton Hall commemorates the 20th anniversary of the Boland Hall Fire, which killed three students.

Shawn Simons (left), a survivor of the fire, now tours the country with his former roommate Alvaro Llanos to lecture students about fire safety. (Nicholas Kerr/Editor-in-Chief)

January 26

NBA legend Kobe Bryant is killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, Calif. alongside his daughter, Giana, and seven others.

February

February 6

A Setonian investigation finds that parking stalls in the Duffy, Xavier and Complex lots are smaller than the current South Orange Village code allows. A poll conducted that same month found that 80% of students who use Seton Hall parking said that they were dissatisfied.

February 11

Seton Hall announces that it will pause the Stillman School of Business’s M.B.A programs in Beijing, Shanghai and Zhuhai as the coronavirus rages on in China.

Dr. Brian Nichols, a virologist and associate professor in Seton Hall’s department of biological sciences, demonstrates how an N95 mask works on Feb. 4, 2020. (Nicholas Kerr/Editor-in-Chief)

February 14

After nearly three years under an interim provost, Seton Hall announces that it has completed its search for permanent candidate, selecting Dr. Katia Passerini to fill the role.

February 26

Citing the rapidly spreading outbreak of the coronavirus abroad, Seton Hall abruptly cancels all University-sanctioned spring break study abroad trips.

March

March 9

Myles Powell becomes the first Pirate since 1993 to win the Big East Men’s Basketball Player of the Year award.

Myles Powell will return to Seton Hall for senior year - The Setonian
Powell was a key member of the Pirate’s 2019-20 men’s basketball squad. (File photo)

March 10

Seton Hall joins dozens of other colleges across the country and orders students and faculty to pivot to remote learning in response to growing fears around the spread of the coronavirus in the United States.

March 18

Just over one week after shuttering in-person classes, Seton Hall reports its first case of the coronavirus after a University employee tests positive. 

April

April 1

The University announces that the Board of Regents voted to approve partial refunds for room, board and parking after shuttering its campus in March.

April 13

A public notice from the New Jersey Educational Facilities Authority reveals that Seton Hall applied to purchase a $140 million revenue bond to, in part, pay for a new student housing complex where Turrell Manor currently sits, though the University noted that all capital projects are on hold as a result of COVID-19.

The 525 South Orange Ave. building is situated next door to Turrell Manor across from Seton Hall’s main gate. (Nicholas Kerr/Editor-in-Chief)

April 17

After being released from the Mid-Hudson Forensic Psychiatric Center due to the coronavirus, former adjunct philosophy professor Marc Lamparello dies by suicide. Lamparello garnered national attention when he was arrested at St. Patrick’s Cathedral after entering with gas canisters and a lighter in April 2019.

April 27

Days after it was revealed that the University could lose tens of millions of dollars as a result of the coronavirus, University President Dr. Joseph Nyre says Seton Hall will enact a University-wide pay freeze and furlough 150 employees.

April 30

Seton Hall accepts $5.7 million allocated to the University by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, $2.8 million of which is earmarked by the Department of Education to be disbursed to students.

May

May 6

Following similar suits against colleges across the country, a Seton Hall undergraduate files a civil suit in federal court seeking a tuition refund, claiming the University failed to deliver “the educational services, facilities, access and/or opportunities” students paid tuition for after pivoting to remote learning.

May 7

Seton Hall announces it will eliminate the mobile computing refresh program, which provided students with new Lenovo laptops at the start of their junior year. The University had previously floated the idea of eliminating the mobile computing all together but opted to leave it intact for incoming freshmen.

May 22

After closing its doors for the spring semester, the University announces its intentions to welcome students back to campus in the fall under a hybrid flexible, or “HyFlex,” model that will allow students to choose between in-person and remote learning. To mitigate traveling during the semester, the University also announces that it will eliminate fall break.

May 30

Thousands of protesters flood the streets of downtown Newark to protest the police killing of George Floyd, who died after a police officer kneeled on his neck for eight minutes while he pleaded for mercy. The protest is one of the few that weekend to remain largely peaceful as police clash with protestors in cities nationwide.

June

June 7

As protests for racial justice continue into the summer, thousands march from Ivy Hill Park to downtown South Orange in a demonstration of support for Black queer lives.

Demonstrators march down Ward Place past Seton Hall’s South Orange Campus on June 7. (Nicholas Kerr/Editor-in-Chief)

June 11

Governor Phil Murphy announces he will lift the state’s stay at home order nearly three months after it was first issued. Murphy also raises the limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings in anticipation of the state entering stage two of its restart plan.

June 16

Seton Hall students begin circulating a petition calling for a tuition freeze for the 2020-2021 academic year following a June 11 announcement that the university will raise tuition by 3.5% and room and board by 3%. The petition garners over 2,000 signatures.

July

July 14

The Setonian publishes a draft of the University’s restart plan that was submitted to the state of New Jersey for review, offering the first glimpse into how Seton Hall plans to execute its HyFlex model for the fall semester.

July 24

Seton Hall’s Re-opening Operations Team announces that New Jersey has confirmed its restart plan as other colleges around the country begin to backtrack on commitments to return for in-person instruction for the fall.

August

August 6

After three other New Jersey colleges announce they will pivot to remote learning for the fall semester, President Nyre says the University will delay the start of in-person classes pending further guidance from the state.

August 14

Following an executive order from Governor Murphy allowing colleges and universities to reopen for in-person instruction, Seton Hall says face-to-face classes will start on August 31.

Seton Hall University announced it would proceed with in-person classes following an executive order from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy. (Edwin J. Torres/Flickr)

August 21

Following a lively two-and-a-half-hour-long meeting, Seton Hall’s Faculty Senate votes overwhelmingly in favor of a motion calling on the University to approve all faculty requests to teach the fall semester remotely. 

September

September 2

Reporting by The Setonian uncovers differing accounts from the University and South Orange as to how deeply local public health officers were involved in drafting the University’s COVID-19 Restart Plan, with Village officials saying that the plan was not formally delivered to them until days before students began returning.

September 18

Students mourn the passing of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died from complications from pancreatic cancer at the age of 87.

September 24

Citing an uptick in coronavirus cases nationally, Seton Hall says that it will begin random surveillance testing 5% of its resident students weekly. The announcement comes just days after a Setonian investigation revealed the University’s testing numbers lagged behind those of other mid-size Catholic universities.

October

October 3

Former Governor of New Jersey and Seton Hall Law alum Chris Christie (’87) announces that he has checked into Morristown Medical Center just hours after announcing he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Christie was one of several in President Donald Trump’s orbit to test positive for the virus.

October 25

Following a surge in COVID-19 cases, Seton Hall’s Health Intervention and Communication Team confirms that it has detected two coronavirus clusters among the student population in South Orange, one in the Athletic Department and another within a Greek Life organization.

The Seton Hall Pirate dons a face mask outside of the Richie Regan Athletic Center during the fall 2020 semester.

November

November 3

Voters in New Jersey overwhelmingly approve an amendment to the state’s constitution which will legalize the possession of marijuana for all people 21-years-old and over and pave the way for the recreational cultivation, processing and retail sale of the drug.

November 9

The second floor of Aquinas Hall enters a mandatory three-day quarantine after it was revealed that two students from that floor tested positive for the coronavirus.

Students prepare to be tested in the Public Safety parking lot behind Aquinas Hall on Nov. 9. (Mackenzie Wetherill/Asst. Photography Editor)

November 11

President Nyre announces that the University will transition entirely to online classes for the remainder of the semester following a spike in coronavirus cases both on campus and statewide.

November 19

After going undrafted in the 2020 NBA draft, Myles Powell signs with the New York Knicks as an undrafted free agent, though is ultimately released by the team weeks later.

December

December 4

Governor Murphy says that New Jersey hospitals are preparing to begin receiving the first shipments of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine as soon as the Food and Drug Administration grants an emergency use authorization.

December 15

After months of uncertainty, New Jersey begins administering Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers just days after it was approved for emergency use by the Food and Drug Administration.

December 17

Seton Hall says it will again reopen for Hybrid Flexible or “HyFlex” instruction in January but notes that the spring semester will not include the usual spring break in order to mitigate travel.

Nicholas Kerr can be reached at nicholas.kerr@student.shu.edu. Find him on Twitter @nickdotkerr.

Author: Nicholas Kerr

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