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Commencement COVID-19 testing requirements

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Those attending this year's commencement ceremonies must follow certain health and safety protocols. Photo by Chaz Mottinger, Indiana University

In-person commencement ceremonies are limited to graduates only, with limited staff and faculty involvement compared to years past due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. To ensure a safe celebration for Indiana University's graduates, only faculty representatives invited to participate in the ceremony as marshals or by their deans may attend in person.

All graduates, faculty and staff participating in in-person commencement ceremonies must have two negative COVID-19 tests on file with the university in order to attend. The first required test must be completed three to six days ahead of the commencement ceremony.

This voluntary asymptomatic test is required in addition to any mitigation testing individuals are selected for on their campus and can be scheduled through IU's COVID-19 website. Those who are not in the vicinity of an IU campus may have this test completed elsewhere and submit the results. The second test must be completed one to two days before commencement at an IU testing site on the campus where you are attending commencement.

Consistent with IU's mitigation testing procedures, if you've reported your COVID-19 vaccination to IU and you receive your final dose at least 14 days before your graduation ceremony, you will be excluded from pre-commencement COVID-19 testing. Currently enrolled IU students, faculty and staff should report their vaccination status through the COVID-19 Vaccine Reporting Form.

Everyone else is invited to celebrate by attending the ceremonies virtually. Testing schedules and locations for each campus and additional commencement information can be found on the commencement website.

IU 457(b) retirement plan now allows in-service withdrawals

Thanks to new legislation under the SECURE Act, employees enrolled in the IU 457(b) supplemental retirement plan can begin taking distributions at age 59½ while still working. Withdrawals can be taken from 457(b) funds held at Fidelity and can be initiated at any time, for any reason after age 59½. This provision is already in place for IU's other supplemental retirement plan, the IU Tax Deferred Account, or IU TDA.

To request a withdrawal, participants should log in to Fidelity NetBenefits and follow the on-screen prompts. Employees are encouraged to speak with a Fidelity Retirement Planner or personal financial advisor to make sure they understand the tax implications of taking a withdrawal.

As a reminder, all IU employees are eligible to participate in the IU 457(b) plan, including temporary employees, graduate appointees and IU medical and optometry residents. Enrollment is allowed year-round. For more information, visit the IU 457(b) Plan web page.

How to watch this year's State of the University address

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This year's State of the University address will take place April 22. Photo by Eric Rudd, Indiana University

IU President Michael A. McRobbie will deliver his final State of the University address on the IU Bloomington campus at 1:30 p.m. April 22. In accordance with IU's COVID-19 protocols, only a small, physically distant audience will be present.

Members of the university community are invited to view the president's address in the following ways:

  • Via livestream broadcasting at broadcast.iu.edu.
  • Live on Digital Multicast Broadcast Channel WTIU-World 30.2, on Comcast/Xfinity Cable Channel 17 or Channel 419 or Channel 1162 in Bloomington, or where available.
  • On tape delay at 5 and 11 p.m. April 22 on Digital Multicast Broadcast Channel WTIU-HD 30.1, on WTIU Comcast/Xfinity Cable Channel 5 or Channel 1030 in Bloomington, or where available. Also available on IU campus cable channel 5.
  • Via archived broadcast, available soon after the address, at broadcast.iu.edu.

ICYMI: Phishing scam advisory

On April 6, many IU employees received a phishing message about a purported COVID-19 employee support program. IU Police Department issued a public safety advisory urging employees to be wary when a message asks for personal information. Remember that no one at IU will ever ask for critical, sensitive information over email.

IU offers tips for learning how to avoid phishing scams, as well as additional education and training.

Watch the IU Grand Challenges Summit

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IU debuted the 2021 Grand Challenges summit on April 13. Image courtesy of Office of the Vice President for Research

IU's Grand Challenge initiatives are committed to making life better for Hoosiers everywhere. On April 13, IU debuted the 2021 Grand Challenges Summit, hosted by Gerry Dick of "Inside Indiana Business."

In the summit video, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and IU President Michael A. McRobbie sit down with IU alumna Sage Steele, reporter and anchor at ESPN, to talk about these crucial partnerships between IU researchers and stakeholders in state government, business and the nonprofit community across the state.

The summit also features community leaders and collaborators from each of IU's Grand Challenges:

The Grand Challenges Summit program and publication, which shows how IU is leveraging the combined resources of the university and its partners to address critical issues of importance in Indiana, are available at grandchallenges.iu.edu, along with additional highlights and work accomplished by IU's Grand Challenge initiatives.

Box retires May 10; webinars available to learn about storage options

Box is now read-only, and all files must be removed before May 10. Visit the IU Box retirement FAQ for more information.

To ensure institutional data is secure and to give colleagues access to the information even if you leave IU, use the institutional storage request form.

To learn more about IU's individual and institutional storage options, IT Training offers live or recorded webinars on Google at IU My Drive or Microsoft OneDrive at IU.

IUPD honor dispatchers during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week

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IU Police Department dispatchers serve all campuses. Photo by Chris Meyer, Indiana University

During the week of April 11 to 17, the IU Police Department is celebrating National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. Sponsored by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials International, this week honors the thousands of people who respond to emergency calls, dispatch emergency professionals and equipment, and render life-saving assistance around the clock.

IUPD's dispatch centers in Bloomington and Indianapolis serve all of IU's campuses, as well as the Stone Family Medical Center in Evansville. With 20 employees between the two centers, IUPD dispatch provides a critical service for IU's campuses and surrounding communities. They answered over 54,000 911 and non-emergency calls in 2020 and over 71,000 such calls in 2019.

Dispatch staff also enter data into the computer-aided dispatch system, including both dispatched and officer-initiated calls for service and building and security checks. Dispatch staff made 93,000 entries in 2020 and over 79,000 entries in 2019.

IU Mexico Gateway hosts seminar on immigration in news media

The Media School, IU Mexico Gateway and National Autonomous University of Mexico are offering a seminar to bring news coverage of U.S. and Mexico relations and immigration into focus.

"Reporting the border: a US-México approach to journalism of immigration" is a virtual event on April 15 that will explore migration topics, including the humanitarian crisis at the border of Mexico and the U.S., immigration reform, media coverage of migration, and global trends in human mobility in the context of the pandemic, climate change, war and organized crime.

Panelists for the event include scholars from UNAM and IU, journalists from news outlets in the U.S. and Mexico, and leaders of organizations working to support migrants and shape immigration policy. Registration for the event is free and open to the public.