Grad Symposium Status: Canceled

UPDATE: It’s official. Mercy College has announced that it will remain campus-closed through the rest of this semester at least. That means that the Grad Symposium is now canceled.

As some of you know, the COVID-19 coronavirus, which has recently been declared a pandemic and is only ramping up, appeared last week at Mercy College in one of our professors. The campus is now closed to all “non-essential” personnel; courses have all moved online at least through the end of this month; and it is highly likely that courses will have to remain online through the end of the semester (possibly longer). Colleges all around us, including all of those in the massive CUNY and SUNY systems, have moved their courses completely online for the remainder of the term and they don’t even yet have a direct-hit of the virus. All around the world authorities are recognizing that gatherings of any significant sort are bad news and need to be canceled, and are doing so. One of many unfortunate aspects of this is that it is unclear when this all might end or de-escalate to a stable scenario.

As a result, the college has moved courses and most operations online for the rest of this semester (at least), has canceled all campus events and activities, and as a result the symposium is canceled too.

Six graduate students expressed intent to travel here to present their scholarship. Several other students expressed intent to attend in the audience. Numerous faculty expressed their intent to attend and several of them expressed a hope of presenting work alongside the grad students. There were plans to bring an undergrad student or two into the mix as well. It was shaping up to be the largest symposium we’ve seen in nearly twenty years.

If anyone already purchased air tickets please let me know and please contact your airline asap to inquire about refunds. It’s possible that canceling the tickets will be a penalty-free option during this crisis. But please let me know what is happening. I want to help, as I might.

ENGL 500: How to Get a Seat in the course, And who must Get a seat

ENGL 500 is one of two courses that everyone in the program must take (599 Master’s Thesis is the other one). The course runs once each year, in the fall semester. We reserve seats in the course for students who are on schedule to graduate that fall, the following spring, or the following summer. Anyone who will be in the program beyond that point will be eligible for the course the next time it comes around. So, everyone currently in the program who is on-schedule to graduate in fall 2020, spring 2021, or summer 2021, and who has not already taken ENGL 500, must take the course this fall 2020. The good news is, everyone who meets that criteria will get a seat, without fail, in the course. The bad news (or just annoying news) is that in order to get the seat, I have to give you a permit in our computer system. In order to get a permit, you need to write to me at If anyone is unsure about their time-to-degree, or has any questions, please also write to me at