The Cavalier Daily Vol. 131, Issue 2 - Amazon S3

 
The Cavalier Daily Vol. 131, Issue 2 - Amazon S3
The Cavalier Daily
Vol. 131, Issue 2            Thursday, September 10, 2020
                      EMMA KLEIN & ANKIT AGRAWAL | THE CAVALIER DAILY
The Cavalier Daily Vol. 131, Issue 2 - Amazon S3
2 | www.cavalierdaily.com                                                                                                                                          The Cavalier Daily

                                                                               NEWS
This week in-brief                                                                               U.Va.’s COVID-19 Dashboard: What
CD News Staff
                                                                                                 it does and what metrics it lacks
U.Va. announces prevalence                                                                           As colleges and universities across the country return their students to campus, many
                                                                                                 have established trackers or dashboards with the intention of being transparent about the
                                                                                                 number of COVID-19 cases in their communities. Compared to other universities in Vir-

testing, rapid saliva test                                                                       ginia, U.Va.’s dashboard has many similar features — but also lacks some capabilities, such
                                                                                                 as not reporting the community’s COVID-19 positivity rate.
                                                                                                     The dashboards from Virginia Tech, William and Mary, James Madison University,
    Mandatory asymptomatic prevalence testing procedures began the week of Sept. 6               George Mason University and Virginia Commonwealth University all report the percentage
for students living on Grounds and in the Charlottesville area this fall. University senior      of positive test results in their community. The University of Virginia does not — instead
leadership also announced in the same University-wide email message plans to monitor             only reporting the number of positive COVID-19 cases in the community, which is current-
wastewater from residence halls as well as a new saliva screening program that will start        ly 231. Percent positivity, a metric measuring how many tests out of the number performed
later this month.                                                                                are positive, can signal when virus spread in an area is out of control.
    In an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 through asymptomatic individuals, the             Still, the University’s dashboard, which updates around 4:00 p.m. on weekdays, does
University will notify anywhere from 50 to 150 students daily that they are required to pro-     display some crucial data that other schools do not.
vide samples. The testing will take place in the Student Activities Building and is mandato-         For instance, the University clearly displays the percentage of quarantine and isolation
ry for students living and learning on Grounds and in the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.        beds that are occupied. U.Va.’s tracker also displays the number of hospitalizations per day
The tests will produce results within 24 to 48 hours.                                            as well as the average time it takes to get a test result returned, both of which are metrics
    Additionally, the University plans to implement a saliva screening program later this        that none of the other schools previously mentioned display.
month for larger numbers of students to be quickly tested. The saliva screening program
is not voluntary — students will be notified by the University when they are required to
provide a sample, as well as when and where they will be screened.
    Working with the Virginia Department of Health, the University plans to monitor
wastewater from residence halls, which can detect the presence of COVID-19. If the waste-
water indicates a breakout, the University plans to test all residents of the building.

           9.4                            9.7                            9.8
                                                                                                                                                                     COURTESY U.VA. COVID TRACKER

Collab outage leaves students
unable to access coursework                                                                      U.Va. reports 257 total positive
    Students were unable to access the University’s online course management and collabo-
ration system — UVACollab — Sept. 7 due to an outage on the site.
                                                                                                 cases, of which 214 are students
    The incident occurred as students across Grounds were attempting to access online                Since Aug 17, the University’s COVID tracker has reported 257 positive cases of coro-
coursework and Zoom sessions. Some students report on social media that they were unable         navirus in the University community — including faculty, staff, students and contracted
to attend their virtual classes.                                                                 employees. University students make up 214 of the total positive cases. Sept. 8 marked the
    Some students speculated that the outage occurred because U.Va. Information Technol-         highest number of reported cases in the week with a total of 26 positive cases in the Univer-
ogy had scheduled site maintenance for Labor Day on the belief that students didn’t have         sity community.
classes. However, Strite said the outage was certainly not planned.                                  These numbers are only reflective of students who have tested positive through the
    “We definitely knew there were classes today,” Strite said.                                  Student Health & Wellness or the UVA Health Clinic. The University COVID tracker
    The IT department filed the incident at 10:34 a.m. Monday morning and resolved the           dashboard does not include the number of positive student cases that may have been de-
outage at approximately 1:45 p.m. Strite believes the issues lies in the Collab site’s storage   tected with pre-arrival testing. Of the 18,150 tests returned so far, 65 have been positive for
infrastructure. The IT department will resolve the problem to ensure that such an outage         coronavirus.
will not occur again.                                                                                The dashboard also reports five percent of the student quarantine rooms to be currently
    “We’ll find the exact root cause and get a permanent fix put in place,” Strite said. “We     occupied and 1 percent of student isolation rooms to be occupied. These numbers include
just want to say we apologize for the inconvenience. Obviously this is not the kind of ser-      students who are in post-travel quarantine.
vice that we strive for, and we’re going to find ways to do better.”
The Cavalier Daily Vol. 131, Issue 2 - Amazon S3
Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 3
NEWS
                          President Ryan reflects on return to Grounds
                                     The University president addressed student, community concerns and how U.Va. continues to adapt

                                                                 Nik Popli, Jenn Brice, Ali Sullivan & Jacquelyn Kim | CD News Staff

     University President Jim Ryan sat      pitalization rate has not increased as
down for a 20-minute Zoom interview         well, which tells you that those who
with The Cavalier Daily Wednesday           are getting sick are not getting suffi-
afternoon to discuss the return of          ciently sick to require hospitalization,”
students to Grounds and the start of        Ryan said.
in-person learning.                              In the event of a major outbreak at
     Just over two weeks into the aca-      the University, he added that students
demic year, Ryan says he is “cautious-      would not necessarily be immediately
ly optimistic” that the University          sent home, but rather have “temporary
will not have to send students home         restrictions” would be put in place to
mid-semester because of the Univer-         ensure students aren’t infecting their
sity’s increased testing capacity and       home communities — an attempt to
additional isolation and quarantine         “flatten the curve.”
space.                                           Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the
     He said one of the reasons the         National Institute of Allergy and In-
University decided to delay in-person       fectious Diseases, recently urged uni-
move-in and instruction by two weeks        versities not to send students home af-
was to provide more time for admin-         ter shutting down operations, calling
istrators to learn from other colleges      it “the worst thing you could do.” Ryan
across the country, such as the Uni-        agrees with the sentiment.
versity of Notre Dame, which moved               “Once you’ve brought all these
online a week after students returned       students back to your campus from
to campus. In conversation with oth-        all over the country — in some in-
er university presidents, Ryan found        stances all over the world — you want
that a lack of isolation and quaran-        to do your very best to keep them on
tine space was often a reason COV-          campus,” Ryan said. “Because if you’re
ID-19 spread in college communities,        sending home students who are in-                                                                                                             CHRISTINA ANTON | THE CAVALIER DAILY

prompting the University to reserve         fected, then you’re just spreading the
                                                                                        With students returned to Grounds and classes underway, Ryan told The Cavalier Daily he is “cautiously optimistic” that the University will
additional dorms for student use.           virus.”                                     not have to halt in-person learning.
     “There are more universities,               The University’s decision to pro-
frankly, that have kept their students      ceed with in-person classes and on-
on campus than those who have sent          Grounds housing has faced backlash          with in-person classes this fall, resi-        Grounds needs our help, we absolutely           staffers as “frontline workers” and
them home,” Ryan said. “And they’ve         from prominent Charlottesville fig-         dents of the International Residential         should be.”                                     provide them with the “necessary re-
done it, I think, by doing their best       ures, with Mayor Nikuyah Walker call-       College, Johnson, Malone and Wee-                  To bring students into dorms in-            sources to fulfill our role and protect
to try to stay one step ahead and to        ing the choice “a recipe for disaster.”     don Houses and Shea House were no-             volves other calculations.                      ourselves, our residents and the com-
limit the spread of the virus as quick-     Ryan said he has been in contact with       tified that their dormitories would be             Ryan acknowledged that the past             munity.”
ly as possible, and the way to do that      both Walker and the Charlottesville         converted into quarantine and isola-           week — marked by the arrival of first-              Among their demands are hazard
is through making sure you have a           Human Rights Commission, which              tion areas. Hundreds of students were          years to on-Grounds dormitories and             pay as frontline workers and adequate
robust testing program and isolation        plans to send a letter to the University    forced to relocate and were given just         start of in-person learning — has come          PPE, revised and clearly articulated
and quarantine space.”                      to voice its concerns with an in-person     24 hours to choose a housing reassign-         with a learning curve. Video footage            policing and COVID-19 guidelines,
     Another reason the University          semester.                                   ment or remain off-Grounds.                    of a crowded Observatory Hill din-              provisions for food security and hous-
decided to reopen with in-person in-             Ryan pointed out that thousands            Although Ryan apologized for the           ing hall circulated over the weekend,           ing stability and revised financial aid
struction, Ryan said, is because 12,000     of students have already signed leases      disruption to on-Grounds residents             causing some upperclassmen and                  policies for resident staff. The RAs
to 15,000 students were expected to         for off-Grounds housing, and many           and RAs, he maintained his stance              community members to reiterate con-             anonymously submitted their letter
return to Charlottesville regardless        would return regardless of whether          that “it was the right thing to do to          cerns with the University’s decision to         and list of ten demands out of fear
of whether classes were online or           classes were in-person — a stance he        make sure that we have sufficient              reopen.                                         of retribution due to a policy that re-
not. The University estimates that          “get[s] that not everyone will agree        space [for quarantine and isolation].”             In this situation, Ryan noted that          stricts resident staff from speaking to
around 4,400 students moved into            with.”                                          According to Ryan, the decision to         the solution was to make sure students          the press.
on-Grounds housing, according to the             “I’ve always thought it was an in-     increase the number of rooms availa-           knew there are other dining options                 Although Ryan said that HRL
Aug. 28 announcement that solidified        correct premise to say we’re making         ble for quarantine was made in light of        available and to implement people               and the Office of Student Affairs are
fall semester plans.                        a decision about whether students are       lessons “learned from looking at other         reminding students in the area of the           “working with the RAs,” according
     “Most of the challenges occur          going to return,” Ryan said. “Students      universities.”                                 six-foot social distancing guidelines.          to an RA who helped to spearhead
or have occurred off campus or off          are going to return. Students have re-          “I was concerned that, and others              “This is everyone’s first time              the creation of the letter and list of
Grounds,” Ryan added in the Wednes-         turned.”                                    shared this concern, it wasn’t going to        through a pandemic at U.Va., and as             demands, HRL has yet to explicitly
day interview. “[It] didn’t make a lot           Operating under that premise,          be sufficient if we had a serious surge,”      much as you can plan, new situations            acknowledge the receipt of the RAs’
of sense to not have in-person classes      Ryan said that keeping Charlottesville      Ryan said, “So, we looked at places            arise, and you have to react,” Ryan             letter and demands.
because that’s not where the problems       residents safe requires welcoming stu-      with very low density and decided              said. “And the goal is to react quickly             Ultimately, Ryan said these first
are arising.”                               dents into the University community         that we ought to move those students           enough and to learn from it and to re-          weeks give hope that the University
     When asked how many cases, hos-        — rather than “putting up a closed          to open up those spaces.”                      solve it.                                       community will rise to the occasion.
pitalizations or deaths would trigger       sign” — to encourage a camaraderie              Quarantine housing will also be                In regards to a list of demands sub-            “Not everyone is following all of
the University to close dorms and end       that will motivate students to care for     accessible to students who do not live         mitted Aug. 28 to Housing and Resi-             the protocols, which is to be expected,
in-person instruction, Ryan said the        the health of one another.                  in University housing as needed, Ryan          dence Life by resident advisors at the          but I’ve been really heartened by the
University does not have a target num-           The University allocated 1,500 beds    added.                                         University, Ryan said he is aware of the        degree to which students in particular
ber, but is rather looking at testing and   for quarantine and isolation. Students          “If someone off Grounds really             demands but that the University does            are taking this seriously,” Ryan said.
hospital capacity as well as available      who live on Grounds and test positive       has no option to safely quarantine or          not plan to issue a formal response.            “There’s nothing like seeing examples
space for isolation and quarantine.         for the virus will be housed in repur-      isolate, we will obviously work with               “My view is that we should make             at other universities where things have
     One factor that fuels his optimism     posed residence halls — which cur-          students to figure something out,”             sure that the RAs have what they need           gone awry, to make you realize that it
is that the University’s hospitalization    rently sit at five percent capacity for     Ryan said. “We did not go into this            to be successful,” Ryan said.                   takes everyone doing their very best to
rate has remained manageable – 54           quarantine housing and one percent          thinking that we should have isolation             In their letter to HRL, the RAs ex-         give us a chance of succeeding.”
people have been treated for COV-           for isolation — or at hotels the Uni-       and quarantine space for every single          press great concern for their personal
ID-19 at U.Va. Health since Aug. 17.        versity has contracted.                     student whether living off Grounds             safety and also that of their residents
     “Even with the increase in cases            Shortly after the University an-       or on Grounds, but we recognize that           and the Charlottesville community.
over the last couple of weeks, the hos-     nounced its intention to forge ahead        if situations arise where someone off          They call upon HRL to treat resident
4 | www.cavalierdaily.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                    NEWS
   Students share mixed experiences getting COVID-19 tests
                                            Students reported difficulty getting tested, organizational issues through Student Health

                                                                                       Zach Rosenthal | Senior Writer

                                                                                       exposed to a confirmed patient.              ment tested positive for COVID-19.           urday. He ended up calling Saturday
                                                                                            “I know that they had supply chain           Trautman and his roommates              afternoon or evening, or even maybe
                                                                                       issues previously in the summer, but         went onto the Hoos Healthy website           Sunday, because they hadn’t done back
                                                                                       being a university that has this amaz-       to set up what they thought was a            to him yet, and I think his results got
                                                                                       ing hospital connected to it, you know,      testing appointment but was instead          kind of lost,” Thielsech said.
                                                                                       one of the best in Virginia, to me, I        a 30-minute consultation on their                As previously noted, U.Va.’s dash-
                                                                                       just feel like I expect way more from        symptoms.                                    board currently advertises a 17-hour
                                                                                       what they’re doing in terms of testing,”          “I’ve had to take COVID tests over      wait time for test results.
                                                                                       Moore said.                                  the summer a few times, and so I know            Since testing positive, Thielsch and
                                                                                            In his email to the University com-     that usually you need to elaborate on        his roommates have been taking the
                                                                                       munity Aug. 4, University President          your symptoms in order to qualify for        precautions extremely seriously, wear-
                                                                                       James Ryan stated supply-chain issues        one, but I forgot to tell that to the rest   ing their masks in the home when they
                                                                                       for testing materials were part of the       of my roommates,” Trautman said.             interact and trying to stay isolated in
                                                                                       reason for the two week delay in re-              After all four roommates finished       their rooms at all other times. How-
                                                                                       suming in-person classes.                    their calls, only Trautman qualified for     ever, Thielsch’s issues with his Inter-
                                                                                            “In Charlottesville and Albemarle       a test that day — his roommates would        net connection have made distancing
                                                                                       County, we have seen an uptick in vi-        have to wait an additional three days        himself from his roommates difficult.
                                                                                       ral prevalence and transmission rates,       for a test.                                      “The biggest issue is I can’t really
                                                                                       and there has been some volatility in             “Everybody else in my apartment,        stay in my room because the WiFi in
                                                                                       the supply-chain for testing materials,”     despite having come in contact with          the house is really bad. And so the only
                                                                                       Ryan wrote.                                  a coronavirus positive person, weren’t       place that I can really take Zoom calls
                                                                                            In a message sent to students July 16   even given tests that day,” Trautman         is in the hallway, which gets the most
                                                                                       about U.Va.’s COVID-19 public health         said.                                        traffic,” Thielsch said.
                                                                                       plans, the University announced that              Trautman’s personal experience              Thielsch, Trautman and Miller all
                                                                                       students would be able to receive one        getting his test wasn’t all that much        say they’ve been following the Univer-
                                                                                       asymptomatic test every 60 days.             better. When he was tested at the            sity’s COVID-19 guidelines — not at-
                                                                                            “U.Va. students, faculty, staff and     Student Health Center, Trautman de-          tending gatherings with more than 15
                                                                                       contract employees who do not exhib-         scribed the testing process as efficient     people and wearing their masks when
                                                NANNA PAREDDY | THE CAVALIER DAILY
                                                                                       it symptoms but would like to be vol-        but callous. After getting into the fa-      in close contact with others. However,
The University recently announced that it will begin to conduct random and mandatory   untarily tested will have the option to      cility, Trautman says he was led to a        none of them feel optimistic about the
asymptomatic testing of student in order to better track COVID-19 within the student   do so no more than once every 60 days,       room, barely spoken to, and quickly          planned return to Grounds.
population.                                                                            unless prior authorization is obtained       given a throat swab.                             In fact, none of the three thought
                                                                                       from Employee Health or Student                   “[The doctor] didn’t speak to me        the University would manage to hold
    While some students have mostly         tine and isolation spaces currently sit    Health,” the email from Provost Liz          about the symptoms I was saying that         in-person classes for the entire semes-
positive experiences with COVID-19          at five percent capacity, according to     Magill and Chief Operating Officer J.        I had over the phone, follow-up steps,       ter, let alone halfway through the se-
testing on Grounds, others are finding      the COVID Tracker.                         J. Davis said.                               what to do afterwards — you have to          mester.
the experience to be frustrating.               The University’s COVID Tracker              According to Hester, the LetsGet-       find all this stuff online. She didn’t say       Trautman and Miller both pointed
    The amount of students testing          does not differentiate test results from   Checked pre-arrival testing currently        anything to me,” Trautman said.              to James Madison University’s recent
positive for coronavirus within the         students who live on- or off-Grounds       counts as one of the asymptomatic                 Trautman and Miller, who both           shutdown.
U.Va. community continues to rise.          and does not include students who get      tests provided to students.                  took COVID-19 tests over the sum-                “Well, I know that JMU just sent
Since Aug. 17, at least 214 students have   tested at non-U.Va. affiliated clinics.         “Students were all tested pre-arriv-    mer, said their advice to students           back all their on-Grounds housing a
tested positive for COVID-19 at Stu-            “It feels like maybe if I lived on-    al, so it has not yet been 60 days. We       would be to emphasize their symp-            day after their refund period ends, so
dent Health and Wellness or a U.Va.         Grounds, they would have tested            are currently using LetsGetChecked           toms to get a test.                          I’m assuming whenever our refund
affiliated clinic.                          me because they feel like it’s more        for asymptomatic voluntary testing,”              “If you haven’t had direct contact,     period ends, it would be very shortly
    Third-year College student Joelle       of a immediate threat to dorm life,        Hester said.                                 but you’re nervous and have had in-          after,” Trautman said.
Miller was not able to get a test from      which kind of makes sense, but at the           The University recently announced       direct contact, or you do have some              This fall, undergraduate students
the University after calling into Stu-      same time, it’s harder to regulate off-    that it will begin to conduct random         symptoms, I would exaggerate a lot —         will be refunded their tuition and fees
dent Health, despite the fact that her      Grounds students, so I don’t know          and mandatory asymptomatic testing           that would be my advice,” Miller said.       in full if they withdrew within the
friend — who Miller had hung out            why they wouldn’t be testing us as         of students in order to better track              Third-year Engineering student          first two weeks of classes. After the
with — had been in proximity with a         well,” Miller said.                        COVID-19 within the student popu-            Kyle Thielsch had four of his five oth-      first two weeks, the University offers
person who had tested positive for the          When Miller questioned whether         lation. They also announced plans to         er roommates test positive for COV-          prorated refunds for students who
virus. When she called into Student         she could get one of the tests that the    begin saliva testing later in September.     ID-19 since arriving at his off-Grounds      withdraw within the first six weeks of
Health, Miller was asked if she lived on    University had stated asymptomat-               Unable to get a test, Miller instead    housing.                                     classes.
or off Grounds and whether she was          ic students could get once every 60        went to get tested at a CVS, which                Thielsch had positive things to say         Thielsch was similarly pessimis-
symptomatic.                                days, the Student Health representa-       provides free testing, but doesn’t re-       about the turnaround time for getting        tic about the University’s chances of
    “I’m just speculating, but I feel       tive stated that those tests weren’t yet   turn results for three-to-five days —        tested.                                      staying open, especially as first years
like the on Grounds or off Grounds          available.                                 significantly longer than U.Va.’s wait            “Each time that I’ve gotten tested,     arrived this past week.
question probably impacted whether              “He was like, ‘No, I don’t actually    times for results.                           I’ve called, talked to a nurse and been          “I would definitely say by the end
I could get tested,” Miller said.           know when we’re going to start doing            As of press time, U.Va.’s COVID         able to go to the building and take my       of September, they’ll send people
    The University does not prioritize      that, because we’ve had a huge surge in    Tracker advertises only a 17-hour wait       test in the span of like, two hours, two-    home because that’ll give two-to-three
tests for students based on where they      cases and in people who actually have      time for test results, something sec-        and-a-half hours,” Thielsech said.           weeks after the first years get back and
are housed, according to Wes Hester,        symptoms and need to get tested, so        ond-year College student Cole Traut-              However, Thielsch and his room-         you know, coronavirus can unfortu-
deputy University spokesperson and          we need to prioritize them,’” Miller       man acknowledged was a positive ele-         mates did encounter few issues.              nately run its course in the dorms,”
director of media relations.                recalled.                                  ment of his experience.                      Thielsech said that when he got his          Thielsch said.
    “There is no prioritization of              Second-year College student Ja-             “The two plus sides, I would say,       first test results back, he was called           Moore also thinks that in-person
testing of students based upon on-          cob Moore took it upon himself to          were how quickly I was in and out of         twice and was told the exact same            classes are destined to be cut short.
Grounds or off-Grounds living status        call Student Health and ask what the       the [Student Health] Center, and then        thing by two different Student Health            “You know, I think U.Va. kind of
at the Elson Student Health building,”      standards were to get tested.              it came back with 18 hours later — so        representatives. Additionally, one           has this mindset that we’re above all of
Hester said. “However, that informa-            The first time Moore called —          less than a day,” Trautman said.             roommate’s test was seemingly lost in        that, which comes a little bit with the
tion is necessary to determine if a stu-    during Student Health hours — the               Trautman, his three roommates           the system.                                  culture of the school, but I really do
dent needs on-Grounds quarantine or         call went straight to voicemail. Moore     and his girlfriend all got tested after           “One of the guys, when he got           think that we’re going to have to shut
isolation housing.”                         eventually got a call back and was told    they found out that someone who had          tested Thursday, he didn’t get his re-       down,” Moore said.
    The University’s student quaran-        students must be symptomatic or be         gone into their off-Grounds apart-           sult back Friday. He didn’t get it Sat-
Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 5
NEWS
                                                First-year students discuss move-in
                               Several first-years said they feel confident that the University’s COVID-19 policies will help prevent outbreaks

                                                                                                Ali Sullivan | News Editor

    Thousands of first-year stu-
dents moved into on-Grounds
dormitories Sept. 3 through Sept.
6, several of whom said they came
in search of one thing — the “col-
lege experience.” Or, whatever
sort of college experience they
could untangle from a university
in the throes of the COVID-19
pandemic.
    First-year College students
Erin Ward and Leah Boone sat
outside Kent House on Sun-
day afternoon after moving into
their dorm rooms. Ward said she
doesn’t mind taking her classes
through Zoom — she’s just glad to
be learning online in a different
environment and with a greater
degree of independence.
    “[My parents] wanted me to
come just so that I can have the
college experience — even if it’s
not completely normal,” Ward
said.
    While nearby colleges like
James Madison University and
the University of North Carolina
at Chapel Hill have failed in their                                                                                                                                                               EMMA KLEIN | THE CAVALIER DAILY

efforts to evade outbreaks, many
                                               Packed dining halls and bustling Corner restaurants over the move-in weekend leave some upperclassmen and community members fearful of the skyrocketing COVID-19 numbers that forced
first-year students like Ward and              JMU and UNC back online.
Boone feel confident that U.Va. —
which has 257 cases as of Wednes-
day — can avoid a similar fate.                school-wide spread of the virus              said.                                         line.                                             Monroe was initially wary
    Boone decided to return to                 solidified her decision.                        Still, packed dining halls and                 Facing suspension for willfully           of living on-Grounds amid the
Grounds after growing tired of                    “[My parents] decided that                bustling Corner restaurants over              shirking the University’s COV-                pandemic but has grown more
taking her online high school                  the policies were probably good              the move-in weekend leave some                ID-19 rules — which include wear-             confident since moving in. The
classes from home. A discussion                enough, that [the University] was            upperclassmen and community                   ing a mask while outside one’s                main driver behind his decision
with her parents about whether                 trying hard enough to where I                members fearful of the skyrock-               residence, staying six-feet from              to come to Grounds, he said, was
the University’s COVID-19 pol-                 didn’t think that we were going to           eting COVID-19 numbers that                   others and gathering in groups                improved WiFi capabilities.
icies were sufficient to prevent               have a massive outbreak,” Boone              forced JMU and UNC back on-                   fewer than 15 — many first-years,                 “Mainly I don’t have the WiFi
                                                                                                                                          mostly masked, flocked outdoors               or power stability at home, so I
                                                                                                                                          after reaching Grounds. Some stu-             thought it’d be better for me to
                                                                                                                                          dents played cornhole and Spike-              come here,” Monroe said.
                                                                                                                                          Ball on Observatory Hill, while                   Moving in amid classes posed
                                                                                                                                          others parked at picnic tables to             some logistical challenges for
                                                                                                                                          chat with friends or complete                 first-year College student Jake
                                                                                                                                          coursework.                                   Robey, too. Robey counts him-
                                                                                                                                              As with any other year, up-               self lucky because he only lives
                                                                                                                                          perclassmen stationed around                  20 minutes from the University,
                                                                                                                                          O’Hill attempted to entice new                which meant he could attend his
                                                                                                                                          students into joining their CIOs,             2:00 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. class before
                                                                                                                                          and chalk-plastered sidewalks ad-             his 4:00 p.m. move-in time.
                                                                                                                                          vertised clubs and other activities.              Even so, he missed a discussion
                                                                                                                                              The weekend’s flurry of activi-           section that occurred during his
                                                                                                                                          ty took place two weeks later than            move-in slot.
                                                                                                                                          normal, as the University delayed                 “Apparently for that class you
                                                                                                                                          on-Grounds move-in from before                can only miss one of those for any
                                                                                                                                          Aug. 25 to the weekend of Sept. 4             reason, and after that it affects
                                                                                                                                          in the face of climbing local and             your grade,” Robey said. “So I al-
                                                                                                                                          national cases of COVID-19. As a              ready used that up in the first day
                                                                                                                                          result, students were forced to as-           on campus.”
                                                                                                                                          semble their new on-Grounds liv-                  Now fully moved into his room
                                                                                                                                          ing spaces while juggling ongoing             in Lile-Maupin dormitory, Robey
                                                                                                                                          coursework.                                   is approaching his first semester
                                                                                                                                              First-year College student                at the University with caution
                                                                                                                                          Quinton Monroe pored over a                   and measured excitement.
                                                                                                                                          book outside Hancock on Sunday                    “I’m not familiar with the
                                                                                                                                          afternoon — far from where most               student population here, so who
                                                                                                                                          students were gathered — to catch             knows if all of them can be trusted
                                                                                                      EMMA KLEIN | THE CAVALIER DAILY
                                                                                                                                          up on the coursework he missed                to follow the guidelines,” Robey
Many first-years, mostly masked, flocked to outdoor spaces after moving into dorms.
                                                                                                                                          while moving in with classes al-              said. “We’ll see what happens.”
                                                                                                                                          ready two weeks underway.
6 | www.cavalierdaily.com
                                                                                                                                                                          NEWS
          Professors seek info on students using online services
         After moving to virtual examinations, professors discovered students posting questions to exams while the exam window was still open

                                                                     Sydney Herzog & Luke Stone | Staff Writers

                                                                                                                                                           EMMA HITCHCOCK | THE CAVALIER DAILY

    With the switch to online         tion comes after you to do an         Dukes said. “People were, right-        her updated allowances, using re-       “It’s kind of a chicken and egg
exams last semester, professors       investigation of cheating,” Dukes     fully so, in a pretty stressful situ-   sources such as Chegg was never      situation where we, as Honor,
discovered that students were         said.                                 ation, so it’s hard to tell what the    permitted.                           don’t go out and investigate or
posting exam questions and re-            According to Dukes, his main      baseline is that we should com-            “It’s hard to tell if students    look for things unless we already
sponses to Chegg during the test      reason for following up on the        pare it to.”                            performed better last semester       have a case in place,” Keane said.
time frame. Since then, the on-       Chegg posts is to preserve equity         Chemistry Prof. Alicia Frantz       because they were using unfair       “We’re kind of relying on the pro-
line tutoring and assignment as-      among his students and elimi-         also addressed students in her          resources like Chegg, if they were   fessor to come to us with a name,
sistance service has met professor    nate unfair advantages.               Organic Chemistry II course             using their own notes or if they     but at the same time professors
requests to release the contact in-       “I’m not working with Chegg,”     about posting and responding to         were violating the Honor Code a      are looking to us because Chegg
formation of students who inter-      Dukes said. “I’m trying to pre-       exam questions on Chegg. After          different way,” Harrell said. “No    wants us to reach out to them
acted with these posts.               serve the integrity of my class for   the course’s second exam, Frantz        matter what, there was definitely    asking for information, not the
    Physics Prof. Craig Dukes was     everyone that’s involved. It just     emailed her students the follow-        an increase in the average grade     professor, so that’s been a little
first notified of his exam ques-      so happens that Chegg was the         ing message:                            on virtual exams.”                   tricky.”
tions being posted to Chegg by        medium that was used to cheat in          “It was brought to my atten-           Frantz did not respond to a          Both Dukes and Keane noted
a student in his General Physics      Physics 1425 last semester.”          tion that one or more students          request for comment.                 that nothing new is being imple-
I course. After further investi-          Dukes noted that using Chegg      posted the exam questions to               Fourth-year Batten student        mented this semester to further
gation, he realized that students     to cheat on University assign-        Chegg. This is obviously cheat-         Ryan Keane, who chairs the Hon-      enforce the Honor Code in re-
were taking content from his          ments is not a new phenomenon.        ing. I have already contacted           or Committee, spoke to how           gards to virtual exams. The Hon-
timed, graded assessments and         Previously, the use of sites like     Chegg to get the name or names          Honor has been involved in these     or Committee recommends that
putting them on Chegg to get in-      Chegg was limited to homework         of students that posted and/            reports of cheating. Due to stand-   professors be as clear as possible
stant feedback.                       or labs, and in-person exams nev-     or accessed the answers to the          ards of confidentiality within the   in their syllabus with what the
    In order to receive the student   er lead to the same type of cheat-    questions. I am giving anyone           Honor System, Keane was not          expectations are.
information from Chegg, Dukes         ing. With exams moving to a vir-      who posted the question or used         able to disclose any information        “[Cheating] is particularly bad
worked with the College’s Dean        tual format, the online resource      the answer until noon tomorrow          about the specific reports filed     at U.Va. because if you get caught
of Undergraduate Studies Rachel       offered a new opportunity for         (4/22) to admit to cheating or we       against students by professors or    cheating you get kicked out,”
Most. They were able to contact       students to obtain assistance for     will have to proceed through the        how many cases Honor has seen        Duke said. “That’s not something
Chegg’s academic integrity li-        larger portions of their grade.       University’s Honor Committee.”          about this issue.                    anybody wants to see happen —
aison who was “sympathetic” to            Still, Dukes emphasized that          According to Abigail Harrell,          According to Keane, not           never. So, the better choice is
their request and willing to assist   there is no way to know for cer-      a third-year College student en-        everyone has access to Chegg’s       to not cheat but to take a bad
them.                                 tain if the increased use of Chegg    rolled in Frantz’s Organic Chem-        information. Professors have ap-     grade on something you’re not
    “When a person participates       impacted overall grades in his        istry II course last semester,          proached the Honor Committee         prepared for. The best choice is
in an outside resource website        course last semester.                 Frantz changed her exam policy          to ask for their help in obtaining   to work hard all the time and be
like Chegg, you sign a terms of           “The course grades in spring      to open note after realizing how        the account data regarding who       prepared to do your work, and I
service and should be aware that      semester were unlike any other        many students were violating            posted certain questions and the     think that’s what I’d really love
that terms of service will maybe      semester so it’s difficult to re-     the Honor Code on her virtual           timestamps of other accounts         my students to do all the time.”
not protect you if some institu-      ally report a valid comparison,”      exams. However, even following          who viewed it.
The Cavalier Daily                                                                                                                          Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 7

                                                                                  LIFE
      What I have learned from the U.Va. Twitter community
                                In the trying times of summer 2020, I’ve found inspiration through the strength of my online peers

                                                                              Aaron Doss | Life Columnist

    In the isolated world of COV-     ond-year College student — and         words of encouragement to survi-     yone would bat an eye at the ram-       go on, I see more and more peo-
ID-19, where I’ve found it all too    many other students of various         vors, sharing their own experienc-   bunctious parties decorating Mad        ple using their voices to do good
easy to feel helpless and alone, I    races proved they were listening.      es and highlighting the fact that    Bowl, but Midsummers happened           work — work that is now primar-
realized that the unity of voices        But student activism didn’t         from 2002-2013, the University       to fall in the middle of a global       ily focused on making the Univer-
among the U.Va. Twitter com-          draw the line at racial equity. A      failed to expel one perpetrator of   pandemic this year. My feed be-         sity understand the consequenc-
munity offered me a camaraderie       week or so into June, @ExposedU-       the 205 reported sexual assaults     came a warzone as accounts like @       es of bringing students back to
unlike any other. So many peo-                                                                                                                            Grounds and resuming in-person
ple who I’ve only ever interacted                                                                                                                         instruction in the middle of a
with as small bubbles on a screen                                                                                                                         pandemic.
came to feel like friends to me —                                                                                                                             Admittedly, my social circle at
friends who, through their pas-                                                                                                                           the University is really not that
sionate calls for change, encour-                                                                                                                         large, and I’ve never been one for
age me to find my own voice and                                                                                                                           Internet friends, but with each
equip myself for action.                                                                                                                                  voice that stood up about in-
    I first began interacting with                                                                                                                        justices, fought to make victims
my U.Va. peers online at the end                                                                                                                          heard and strove to make both
of last semester when the world                                                                                                                           Charlottesville and the Universi-
was flipped on its side.                                                                                                                                  ty a safer place, I added another
    Following the murder of                                                                                                                               person to my following list.
George Floyd by police officers                                                                                                                               When we can’t engage with
May 25, it would be an understate-                                                                                                                        each other in person, I am grate-
ment to say that the Black Lives                                                                                                                          ful that we have the technology
Matter movement gained an un-                                                                                                                             allowing us to engage with each
precedented level of prominence                                                                                                                           other online. I encourage anyone
on my Twitter feed. For the first                                                                                                                         that has access to use social media
week after George Floyd’s death,                                                                                                                          accounts to interact with differ-
virtually all I saw were tweets in-                                                                                                                       ent kinds of voices, educate your-
citing Americans to march and                                                                                                                             self on social topics and issues and
advocate for racial equality, do-                                                                                                                         advocate in your own way — find-
nate to bail funds and GoFund-                                                                                                                            ing other U.Va. students on Twit-
Me pages and sign and share pe-                                                                                                                           ter is a good place to start.
titions calling for justice and the                                                                                                                           I recognize that a lot of the
abolition of police. Tweets and                                                                                                                           powerful voices I have mentioned
retweets came from all over the                                                                                                                           or alluded to belong to Black,
world, but I noticed that I was es-                                                                                                                       LGBTQ+ or other minority com-
pecially moved by the passionate                                                                                                                          munities at the University, and I
voices that came from my fellow                                                                                                                           appreciate their diverse perspec-
students at the University.                                                                                                                               tives immensely. This apprecia-
    At a time when I felt discour-                                                                                     ANGELA CHEN | THE CAVALIER DAILY   tion runs deep, as the multitude
aged by the state of our nation,                                                                                                                          of voices on U.Va. Twitter engag-
heartbroken for Americans who                                                                                                                             es in complicated but necessary
don’t share the same skin color       va popped up on my feed, shar-         while simultaneously expelling       misanthrogoose reposted images          conversations that will help shape
as me and utterly at a loss for       ing the stories of sexual assaults     183 students for violating the       of students endangering the area        the University, the country and
any course of action to show my       caused by students and staff at the    Honor Code.                          by attending large parties and          the world in the days to come.
support, I found myself clinging      University. I remember one tweet           Then Midsummers rolled           implored everyone to “be respon-        Along with many other impor-
to the words of my classmates.        in particular read “It’s time sexual   around — an annual event where       sible — work to protect yourself,       tant lessons highlighted during
This summer, Black students           assault on Grounds is brought to       out of town students return to       others, and your community.”            COVID-19, the forward-think-
spoke from their life experience      the forefront,” and U.Va. Twitter      Grounds to reunite with their            At every step of the way this       ing minds of my peers prove that
and education — I’d be remiss         did its best to make that happen.      friends for a weekend of fun         summer, no matter what the call,        U.Va. Twitter is a powerhouse and
not to mention Zyahna Bryant,         I noticed multiple students rally-     around the Fourth of July. Under     I saw U.Va. students on Twitter         truly a force to be reckoned with.
Charlottesville activist and sec-     ing around the account, offering       normal circumstances, hardly an-     rise to the occasion. As the days

                                                                   FALL 2020 RECRUITMENT

                         JOIN THE CAVALIER DAILY
                                                               FIND MORE INFORMATION ON OUR WEBSITE:
                                                         https://www.cavalierdaily.com/page/2020-recruitment
8 | www.cavalierdaily.com
                                                                                                                                                                                                                          LIFE
            U.Va. mental health resources virtually assist students
                    As academics and social interactions have moved online, access to mental health wellness has become increasingly important

                                                                                                   Nayeon Kim | Features Writer

                                                                                                                                                                                             KALISTA DIAMANTOPOULOS | THE CAVALIER DAILY

Mental health and wellness resources offered at the University, such as those offered at the Women’s Center, have moved online, allowing students to reach out for help even in this age of social distancing.

    As the school year progresses               pandemic.                                        private offices at CAPS designated                  “You know, I finish every inter-              program in accordance with the
and workloads begin to pile up,                     “We’ve partnered with the con-               spaces for participating in virtual              view or meeting with students say-               wishes and needs of the students
students are starting to feel the               templative sciences folks and we’re              counseling sessions. Any student                 ing, ‘You know where to find me.                 surveyed on Grounds. As WahooW-
toll of virtual learning, especially            offering mindfulness groups every                who uses this space is required to               My door is always open to you’ [but              ell continues to incorporate feed-
that of Zoom fatigue — the imped-               day of the week,” Ruzek said. “[We               follow social distancing guidelines.             now] I have to say, ‘It’s not right              back from its students, Simpkins
iment of information processing                 also have] our Let’s Talk program                    The Maxine Lynn Platzer Wom-                 now,’” Palko said. “[I’m] happy to               encourages people to stay up to
due to an overuse of virtual confer-            … a [virtual] drop-in program for                en’s Center — which offers long-                 jump on a Zoom call with you …                   date with the website for current
encing technology that diminishes               students [where] they don’t need                 term counseling services as well as              [but] it’s not quite the same, and so            projects in the work.
non-verbal communication learn-                 appointment[s] ahead of time … on                mentorship to the entire student                 that is challenging, particularly be-                “We’ve been working on some
ing. As undergraduates and faculty              Tuesdays.”                                       body — has similarly integrated                  cause so much of the work we do is               health and wellbeing guides,” Simp-
alike begin to feel the effects of the              However, the move online has                 telehealth to facilitate continuous              built on human connection.”                      kins said. “They’re around topic ar-
declining motivation and efficacy               not been without its challenges,                 support for those who seek mental                   While most of the programs                    eas like taking care of yourself ...
of video learning, stress will likely           as barriers exist to implementing                help and mentorship. Abby Palko,                 have focused on counseling ser-                  getting healthy sleep, all the various
start to encroach on their mental               telehealth programming during                    the director of the Women’s Center,              vices, WahooWell was founded                     topics of well being [and there are]
well-being.                                     the pandemic. The requirement to                 highlights the new support groups                in 2019 and presently focuses on                 other resources that are on Grounds
    Fortunately, the mental health              socially distance indoors while stu-             added for the unique pandemic sit-               complementing therapy sessions                   which I refer to quite a lot through
and wellness resources offered                  dents partake in remote learning                 uation as well as how the Center                 from initiatives such as CAPS and                WahooWell.”
at the University have made the                 from all around the world poses a                has been circumventing state-line                the Women’s Center by helping                        As CAPS, WahooWell and the
move online, allowing students to               unique trial to counselors and stu-              issues of virtual services thus far.             students create goals to maintain                Women’s Center continue to ad-
reach out for help even in this age             dents alike.                                         “We are providing all of our                 both physical and mental wellbe-                 dress the challenges that telehealth
of social distancing. Whether it’s                  “I think the main challenge that             counseling      sessions     remotely            ing. Kristina Simpkins, an early                 and remote learning pose on men-
for immediate crisis care from the              we faced … was [that] a number of                through an online platform … [or]                intervention specialist working as               tal wellbeing, each program hopes
Counseling and Psychological Ser-               students who went home to anoth-                 help[ing] them get set up with a                 a WahooWell coordinator, elabo-                  to improve upon their in-person as-
vice, long-term extended care from              er state and … we are not allowed                provider in their state,” Palko said.            rates on how WahooWell facilitates               sistance that has moved online and
the Maxine Platzer’s Lynn Women’s               to practice outside of the state …               “We will [also] be starting a couple             both physical and mental wellbeing               add new strategies to effectively aid
Center or for improving upon your               where we’re not licensed,” Ruzek                 of groups [such as] wellness in the              to students during the pandemic                  students in need during this un-
personal wellness at WahooWell,                 said. “[Plus] students are worried               time of COVID … [and] the survi-                 when they register to join the pro-              precedented time. While students
the University is offering students             about [not having] privacy to do                 vors one [will] be a new cohort.”                gram.                                            are facing disruption in their regu-
diverse online care to help them                their telehealth sessions.”                          In the face of additions to vir-                “We have conversations about                  lar routine, Palko gives some advice
throughout the pandemic.                            Despite the challenges, the fu-              tual programming at the center                   maybe … you’re eating differently                to students who are trying to find
    CAPS, the primary mental                    ture appears bright as there are                 though, the center is also having                because you’re in a new living envi-             normalcy during their academic
health clinic for University stu-               talks of legislators creating an ex-             to cope with the loss of in-person               ronment and that has shifted your                year.
dents, has integrated telehealth into           emption for licensing laws across                access to their offices. Typically,              overall wellbeing,” Simpkins said.                   “These are challenging times,
their counseling services where stu-            state lines if the care is provided              the center reserved self-reflection              “How you want to adjust things to                so please be kind and gentle with
dents can speak with licensed coun-             via telehealth. To alleviate priva-              rooms throughout the building for                get back to a picture of health and              yourself,” Palko said. ”For some
selors through WebEx. According                 cy concerns for students accessing               students to use when needed and                  wellness with that specific topic [is            people, [keeping a strict routine]
to CAPS Director Nicole Ruzek,                  telehealth services in spaces where              staff members tried to maintain                  what we discuss].”                               is how they cope with an uncertain
CAPS has included new wellbeing                 they may feel uncomfortable with                 open-door policies for struggling                   The program was initially                     moment like this and for others,
groups and drop-in counseling in                others listening in, CAPS now al-                students — now, both resources                   founded to focus on social health                they need to cocoon — I just en-
their move online to ensure the best            lows students living in the Char-                have become inaccessible to the                  and substance use but has since ex-              courage everyone to do some deep
possible care to students during the            lottesville area to reserve one of six           public.                                          panded to be an overall wellbeing                reflection on what helps them.”
Thursday, September 10, 2020 | 9
LIFE
        Top 10 ways to get away from your computer screen
                                                                         Zoom on out of your room

                                                                         Ben Rosenthal | Top 10 Writer

                                                                 4. Lie on your bed and dream 7. Support a local business
                                                                    that it’s 2022
1. Take a scenic drive
   This is my personal go-to for a little change of scenery
                                                                    If you don’t want to leave the house, even a nap may
                                                                    do the trick for your Zoom fatigue. As you’re strug-
                                                                                                                                     To my pleasant surprise, the Corner has actually
                                                                                                                                     been relatively mask-abundant during my trips out.
                                                                                                                                     So, if you’re hungry and tired of making PB&J two
                                                                    gling to fall asleep while thinking of those readings            times per day, take a journey out to some of your
   after a two-and-a-half hour torture session — I mean,            you really ought to do instead of napping, you can               favorite places on the Corner.
   virtual class. After sitting on Zoom for what feels like         look forward to the chance that you’ll have a vivid
   an eternity, forcing yourself to sit upright and look pre-       and realistic dream about a post-virus world, where
   sentable in case your peers are on gallery view, there is        the world is safe again and the Nau Hall Starbucks

                                                                                                                                  8. Support a non-local business
   nothing more freeing than getting in the car and jam-            finally re-opens. It’s the little things.
   ming out as you endlessly loop around Grounds. Just
   beware — gas isn’t free.

                                                                 5. Watch old TV shows
                                                                                                                                     Since time is hardly an object anymore — especially
                                                                                                                                     if your classes are asynchronous, in which case life is
                                                                                                                                     just one long blob — why not do some exploring?
                                                                    Comfort TV is comforting for a reason — it has a                 Drive out to the country and see what’s out in the
                                                                    sense of familiarity that reminds us of better, sim-             world — you never know where you might find a
                                                                    pler times. It’s the reason that — if you’re a student           roadside pie stand.
                                                                    reading this — you’ve likely watched The Office
                                                                    four times through. Well, nowadays, comfort TV is
                                                                    special for another reason — watching an episode
                                                                    of a show from even just 2019 and seeing normal life
                                                                    can be comforting — but incredibly depressing at
                                                                    the same time. Choose wisely.

                         EMMA HITCHCOCK | THE CAVALIER DAILY

2. Head to the kitchen
   If you’re like me and chose to forgo a meal plan — O’Hill
   lunch isn’t worth dying for, let alone eating — you’ve                                                                                                 EMMA HITCHCOCK | THE CAVALIER DAILY
   suddenly been thrown into the world of self-sufficien-
   cy. I have found cooking to actually be mind-cleansing
   after a few hours in front of the screen. Plus, if you’re
   bad at it like I am, it can easily take a few hours to make
   that PB&J, resulting in lowered screen time for the day                            EMMA HITCHCOCK | THE CAVALIER DAILY        9. Find a spot on Grounds
   — and therefore less eye strain.                                                                                                 and relax
                                                                                                                                    Just because Grounds isn’t back to normal doesn’t
                                                                                                                                    mean you can’t visit it. The Rotunda, the Lawn and
                                                                                                                                    even the set of picnic tables outside Nau Hall that are

3. Take a hike                                                   6. Get some quality outdoor                                        never open are still there. Find a spot outside and take
                                                                                                                                    some time to relax. Even if it’s just studying or attend-

   Tucked away in what Google Maps tells me is the Blue
                                                                    exercise                                                        ing class via Zoom, there’s something better about do-
                                                                                                                                    ing it from a new location.
   Ridge Mountains, the Charlottesville area is full of fan-        As your Fitbit tracker could attest to, those consist-
   tastic hiking trails — or so Google Maps tells me. While         ently frantic sprints to your next class actually add-
   I cannot say I have been on one in a good two years,             ed up last semester, and it was never hard to hit that
   having the option nearby gives me great comfort. For
   those without a car, there are trails near Observatory
   Hill that are fantastic, as long as you accept the one-in-
                                                                    recommended 10,000 steps. Nowadays, with all my
                                                                    classes taking place in my bedroom, it is an arduous
                                                                    task to even hit 100. Before it gets dark at 4:15 p.m. in
                                                                                                                                10. Spend time with friends
                                                                                                                                    If you’re bored right now, chances are that everybody
   five chance of stumbling upon a dead body.                       a few months, take advantage of the daylight and go
                                                                    for a jog, do some parkour or try using a tree branch           else is too. So pick up the phone and give your pals
                                                                    for pull-ups — your quarantine body will thank you.             a text — while hanging out in these conditions may
                                                                                                                                    not be the same as it was before, it may be just what
                                                                                                                                    the doctor ordered. After all, friends are better six
                                                                                                                                    feet apart than they are through a laptop screen. And
                                                                                                                                    that’s a fact.
10 | www.cavalierdaily.com                                                                                                                                                          The Cavalier Daily

                ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT
      The new ‘Mulan’ is beautiful, but totally misses the point
                                           A decently executed adaptation is neither as subversive nor memorable as its animated original

                                                                                                      Max Patten | Video Editor

                                                                                                                                                                                     COURTESY WIKIMEDIA COMMONS

The live-action adaptation of “Mulan” was released last week directly to streaming service Disney+.

   The original “Mulan” was                     The action sequences in battles                  acteristics. Without a humorous       some to compare an adaptation         costume and one battle sequence
released 22 years ago and is re-                follow cartoonish physics and                    sidekick to talk to, 2020’s Mulan     so rigorously and repetitively to     with Mulan leads her neither to-
membered today as an immensely                  adopt a kung-fu style presented                  has a hard time making her char-      its original, when the characters     ward being a compelling villain
charming product of the Disney                  just believably enough to work.                  acter known to viewers despite        fall this short a reminder of what    nor a redeemed helper. Combined
‘90s renaissance, thanks to its po-             While a live action aesthetic will               Liu’s sincere and effective perfor-   made them work in the first place     with the tragedy of this movie’s
tent blend of multiculturalism,                 always fail to stack up to the 1998              mance of the character.               feels appropriate.                    Khan, the result is that 2020’s
subversive twists on the classic                “Mulan” film’s gorgeously unique                     Side characters like fellow           As a person of Kazakh de-         “Mulan” has no compelling antag-
Disney princess formula, memo-                  geometric animation, the vivid                   trainee Cricket (Jun Yu) are given    scent, I feel particularly robbed     onist.
rable characters, banging musical               saturation and imaginative scen-                 a minimum treatment of person-        of a memorable and great Cen-             “Mulan” is far from a terrible
score and simplistic yet beautiful              ery of the 2020 “Mulan” does the                 ality and are nowhere near as en-     tral Asian villain a la the 1998      movie — as some internet trolls
aesthetic that complemented the                 trick when set to a decent origi-                tertaining as their equivalents in    “Mulan’s” Shan Yu. The original       who are upset by it on principle
story’s Eastern origins. In this lat-           nal score — although it should be                the original. The regiment’s Com-     Shuan Yu was a vicious man who        for being too PC with its diversi-
ter respect Disney’s live action ad-            noted that the lack of any songs in              mander Tung (Donnie Yen) isn’t        stood out for his particular breed    ty might lead you to believe. But
aptation of “Mulan” does surpris-               this version leave it feeling a little           quite a blank slate, but he’s not     of arrogance and cartoonish buf-      it is a disappointingly sour take
ingly well, containing inspired                 devoid of personality.                           very recognizable either without      foonery, whereas 2020’s Khan is       on what was originally a fresh
landscape compositions that are                     It isn’t just missing songs                  a recitation of “I’ll Make a Man      a stereotypical angry warlord in      and subversive animated feature.
decorated and produced with im-                 where 2020 “Mulan” falls short of                Out of You.” Even one musical se-     kahoots with a new character, a       Watching “Mulan” is entertaining
maculate care. As for recapturing               character, but frankly most of the               quence would have added a good        witch named Xianniang (Gong           enough, but it is not worth the $29
the rest of the original’s magic,               film. While there are a few spar-                bit of personality to a movie that    Li).                                  price Disney is charging for at-
the 2020 adaptation of “Mulan” —                ing jokes about gender politics                  sometimes feels similar to compe-         Xianniang is supposed to be       home viewers who must already
like so many other things this year             during Mulan’s time pretending                   tent but sterile high-budget video    a thought-provoking parallel to       be subscribed to the Disney+
— falls short.                                  to be a man in the Chinese army,                 games with their barely sketched-     Mulan as a female who undergoes       streaming service to view the film
   There are things to commend                  the character-filling banter be-                 out characters.                       a transformative arc of redemp-       during what would have been a
about this adaptation before get-               tween 1998’s Mulan (Ming-Na                          The lack of personality sore-     tion, but the script condenses this   purely theatrical release window.
ting into the purely critical. Di-              Wen) and her dragon companion                    ly reveals itself, however, in the    arc into such a miniscule amount      In a normal world with theaters,
rector Niki Caro and her team                   Mushu (Eddie Murphy) has no re-                  Emperor and villain characters.       of screentime that her presence       “Mulan” might at least be a spec-
have assembled an actually diverse              placement in this new adaptation.                The Emperor (Jet Li) is laughably     barely registers. Li’s character      tacle worth some popcorn time,
and appropriate cast, with Mulan                In the 2020 “Mulan,” the only su-                stoic without a hint of anything      could have been an interesting        but in the current global context
(Yifei Liu) and warrior-compan-                 pernatural companion to be seen                  to be remembered by, and the          feminist complement to what           it’s a story not quite worth the
ion-turned-love-interest       Hon-             is a phoenix representing Fa Mu-                 Khan villain (Jason Scott Lee) is     has always been a subversive plot     price of admission for all but the
ghui (Yoson An) in particular                   lan’s family “qi” energy with no                 a hollow portrayal of the leader of   since “Mulan’s” origins as a real     most diehard or desperate of Dis-
performing their roles admirably.               dialogue or distinguishing char-                 the Huns. Though it may be tire-      folk tale. Unfortunately, a cool      ney fans.
You can also read