Under the Button is part of a student-run nonprofit.

Please support us by disabling your ad blocker on our site.

Amid Coronavirus, Penn Commits to Providing All Incoming Freshmen with Clinical Depression Come Fall 2020


Photo by Chase Sutton / The Daily Pennsylvanian

Penn President Amy Gutmann, Provost Wendell Pritchett, and Executive Vice President Craig Carnaroli sent an email to the Penn community on Thursday announcing plans for a hybrid in-person and online model for academic programming in the upcoming semester. As part of the plan, Penn is committing to providing all incoming freshmen with clinical depression come fall 2020.

“With tight budgets and limited capacity, we weren’t sure what promises we could make to our students,” said Pritchett. “After thoughtful deliberation, we came to realize, as a baseline, we could at least provide each incoming student with a deep sense of despair, loneliness, and isolation. This promise is at the core of our fall 2020 plan.”

The comments have been backed with specific actions to ensure the plan's success. All incoming freshman will be dropped off and isolated in socially distant singles around campus, the students’ orientation programming will be entirely online to avoid friendship, and dining facilities will run exclusively by reservation to increase the likelihood that freshmen forget to eat and decrease the opportunity for spontaneous get-togethers with new people.

With socially distant protocols, coddled freshmen who have not yet been taught how to ask for help will be given less time with adults to ensure confusion and feelings of helplessness. As a final measure, Penn will reinstate a zero-forgiveness academic policy — returning to letter grades despite the ongoing pandemic and stressful social environment.

“We think with gatherings limited to 25 students or less, we can ensure all incoming freshman will be excluded from even the limited offerings of extracurriculars during this time,” said Carnaroli. “If all goes to plan, incoming freshmen will be questioning their future capacity for happiness by mid-November.”