COVID-19 Updates

Detroit Mercy Law continues to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation.

We are working to respond to this unique set of circumstances in a way that prioritizes health and safety, meets our mission of educating the complete lawyer, and fully supports our current and future students, alumni, and friends.

On this page: Building Information | Contact Us | Future Students| Current Students

Building Information

In keeping with best public health practices, and following the directives and recommendations of Governor Whitmer, we are severely limiting access to the building.  

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    Building access is suspended

    The law school is open to essential personnel only.  Classes are being delivered online.  Employees are working remotely.  All events are suspended.

Contact Us

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    We are still available to you

    We continue to be available to our current and future students, alumni, and friends by phone, email, and video conference, as appropriate.

    Contact Faculty 

    Contact Administration

    The law library is closed, but our librarians are available remotely to field questions.

    Contact a Librarian

Future Students

In-person visits are suspended.  Although we are eager for our building to reopen, as we are quite proud of our impressive building in the heart of downtown Detroit, Detroit Mercy Law is a community of people more than a building.  We will continue to be available to our future students and are committed to connecting them with our community. 

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Current Students

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    Winter 2020 Term

    Classes are being delivered online.  Grades in all courses for the term will be Pass/No Pass. This decision takes into consideration the stresses and health risks students, faculty, administrators, and staff are all facing (including the real possibility of sickness), the effect that numerical grading would have on exam writing and administration, and the equities involved in delivering the remainder of the term online.

    Pass/No Pass FAQs 

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    Summer 2020 Term

    Summer term courses, including intersession courses, will be delivered online.
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    Fall 2020 Term

    As the data and the guidance from public health officials was reviewed, and this guidance was applied to Detroit Mercy Law, it was decided that Fall Term 2020 courses will be online.  There is the possibility of face-to-face opportunities to augment online coursework. These opportunities would be optional, not required, and would be available to students throughout the term, subject to public health guidance.

    We are mindful of what it would mean to follow social distancing guidelines at the law school, and have considered the impact that these practices would have on our ability to deliver in-person legal education.  Our classroom capacity will be greatly reduced, so that even our largest classroom which typically holds 125 students will be able to accommodate up to 28 with social distancing in place.  We are also mindful that approximately 40% of our student population crosses an international border to attend classes at Detroit Mercy Law, and that current policies, such as a required 14-day quarantine after a return trip from the States, would make it impossible for these students to regularly attend class. In addition, we recognize that members of our community who are immunocompromised or otherwise at risk would likely not be able to return to in-person classes. 

    Online Pedagogy & Technology

    We recognize that online instruction is fundamentally different from in-person instruction.  However, the best online courses are those that are designed to be taught in the online environment, using course design and instruction methods that take into account the particulars of online learning.  Our faculty has committed to expanding their expertise in online instruction, and are taking courses in online pedagogy and course design this summer so that they can redesign their courses for an online environment. 

    The law school is also investing in technology to support online learning.  The majority of fall term courses will be hosted on Blackboard, integrating with Zoom for the portions of the class which include live lectures or other interactions.  Our COVID-19 Emergency Fund (see below) continues to be available to students, and can be used to access additional technology resources. Please contact Ms. Jessica Rouser, Assistant Director Law Financial Aid, if you have any questions about the Student Emergency Releif Fund. 

    Access to the Law School

    While instruction will be online, we are committed to making the building accessible to students, provided that such access is consistent with state and local guidance. More information will become available as we grow closer to the beginning of the Fall Term.

    Changes to the Fall Term Academic Calendar

    We have adjusted the fall term academic calendar to allow students to return home before the forecasted increase in flu and COVID-19 activity in December. Fall semester classes will begin August 24 and the last day of classes will be the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 25. So that students can more fully evaluate their courses and make determinations about whether a particular course is a good fit for them, we have extended the add/drop period to three weeks, allowing students to add or drop a class up until September 14.  Students will be eligible for a 100% refund during this extended add/drop period and will not receive a “W” on their transcripts for any dropped courses. 

    Student Programming and Support

    Our administrative offices, including career services, academic success, and student affairs are working to provide a robust program of events and workshops for students throughout the fall term.  Our financial aid and registrar’s offices will continue to provide the individualized care and attention for which they are known.  Our law library, in addition to preparing to open for student study, is available to assist students throughout the summer and fall terms. 

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    Student Services

    Faculty and the student services team continue to be available to support you.

    Contact Dean Jennings 

    Contact Director Hall 

    Contact Faculty 

    Contact Administration

     

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    Commencement 2020

    Commencement 2020 is postponed, including Baccalaureate Mass on May 7 and the Commencement Ceremony on May 8.  The university has not yet determined what will be planned for a future date. The law school remains committed to holding a graduation ceremony for you when it is safe to do so.

    Conferring the Degree: Students who are completing their degree requirements in May 2020 will have their degrees conferred after final degree audits take place. This is our standard process each year. A delay to the graduation ceremony will not delay the conferral of your degree or your eligibility to sit for a bar exam.

    Regalia: If you placed an order for regalia, you have the option to return it. When it arrives, you will need to contact Herff-Jones directly. Orders that have been placed but not received cannot be canceled due to the number of orders currently being processed. The tams, hoods, tassels, and gowns (all unused) may be returned for credit, less shipping costs. The product must be in its original plastic packaging and must be postmarked prior to the planned ceremony date. For return information, please contact Herff-Jones Customer Service at 1-800-837-4235. When the rescheduled ceremony date is set, students will have an opportunity to order regalia through the Herff-Jones website.

    International students: If you have already placed an order with Herff-Jones and your academic attire was mailed to the law school in care of the Student Service Center, we will be happy to return on your behalf. Please contact Dean Johnson (link to his profile) to discuss further. For those wanting to keep their order, please contact Dean Johnson (link to his profile) to arrange for pick up after access to law building is resumed.

    Diplomas: The Registrar’s Office will be emailing graduates with instructions once diplomas become available. This process typically begins in late July each summer. Students may pick up their diplomas or may have them mailed to them. 

    Class Composites: Students who ordered class composites will be able to receive them with their diploma. Composites will be available for pick-up or can be mailed to you.

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    Student Resources During Social Distancing

    Increase productivity: 

    RescueTime  This app runs in the background of your desktop computer or smartphone, tracking how much time you spend on various sites and apps, and then provides a detailed report on where you spent your time. Use this information to tweak your browsing habits and work more efficiently. 

    Freedom  Reduce distractions and improve productivity with this app that blocks websites and apps on your smartphone or desktop computer.

    FocusMe  Stick to your productivity resolutions and cut bad internet habits by downloading FocusMe. This app tracks how much time you spend on distracting internet sites and allows you to block them for optimum focus. Other features such as Pomodoro timer, scheduler, and break reminders keep your eye on the prize and productivity on track.(Psst… this app is free for Android users!)

    Forest  What if I told you every time you use your phone a tree dies? With Forest, gamification is the key to effective time management. The app plays out like a game — encouraging you to stay off your phone by growing a tree. Once you use your phone, the tree dies. It tracks how much time you’ve gone without your phone and encourages you to go even longer next time. Added bonus, users can spend virtual coins to plant real trees. 

    Mental Health Apps/Resources:

    Headspace is a popular app that offers guided meditation to help lower stress, improve focus, and sleep better.

    Stop, Breathe & Think uses the three words in its name to prompt users to stop what they’re doing to examine their thoughts and feelings; to practice mindful breathing to create space between thoughts, emotions, and reactions; and to leverage personalized meditations and activities to broaden perspectives. A section called Learn to Meditate offers insight into the science behind meditation.

    Breathe2Relax is a portable stress management tool that provides detailed information on the effects stress has on the body. The app offers instructions and practice exercises to help users learn the stress management skill called diaphragmatic breathing.

    Worry Watch WorryWatch provides mental health resources for college students and is downloadable through the App Store for a one-time low fee. WorryWatch allows the person to record any type of worry experienced throughout the day. After writing down an upsetting event or emotion, the user is provided with tools to reflect and assess each situation. Statistics about times and events causing negative feelings is generated to give an idea of stress triggers. The user may even find some of their worries are unfounded. A highlight of WorryWatch is that the app functions both online and offline. The interface is very easy to use and all journal entries easy to locate. 

    Happify  Need a happy fix? With its psychologist-approved mood-training program, the Happify app is your fast-track to a good mood. Try various engaging games, activity suggestions, gratitude prompts and more to train your brain as if it were a muscle, to overcome negative thoughts.


    Staying Connected:

    Netflix Party  is a new way to watch Netflix with your friends online. Netflix Party synchronizes video playback and adds group chat to your favorite Netflix shows.

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    Othrys Hour online

    People feel connected to one another when they sense that other people, see them, know them and care about them. Othrys Hour Online is an opportunity for students to maintain the sense of community built this year through thought provoking conversation.  Contact Director Hall for more information.

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    Detroit Mercy Law COVID-19 Student Emergency Funding

    In response to the nationwide COVID-19 outbreak, University of Detroit Mercy School of Law has created a COVID-19 Law Student Emergency Fund to provide emergency financial support to currently enrolled degree-seeking students who are unable to meet essential expenses due to a temporary or unexpected hardship.

    Access Lex Institute Logo with tagline

    The COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund is made possible through the generous donations of Detroit Mercy Law faculty, staff, alumni, and donors including AccessLex Institute,

     

    Student Relief Award Criteria

    COVID-19 Emergency Funding is available for law students who are unable to meet immediate, essential expenses due to temporary hardship related to a COVID-19 unforeseen emergency situation. The maximum amount awarded will not exceed $1,500. We will make decisions regarding disbursement on a case-by-case basis. Awards are not considered loans and do not require repayment. Some funds may be considered income and are therefore subject to federal taxes.

    Expenses Generally Covered

    Examples include (but are not limited to):

    • Emergency housing expenses caused by the recent loss of income due to COVID-19
    • Rent to prevent eviction
    • Emergency temporary lodging if you find yourself homeless or in an unsafe situation
    • Essential utilities (e.g. electric, gas, water)
    • Funds necessary to ensure access to academic needs related to switching to online learning (e.g. laptop, internet)
    • Disability-related evaluation expenses for reasonable academic accommodations
    • Temporary food insecurity
    • Emergency medical treatment/medication/prescriptions when you do not have the ability to pay and the costs cannot be covered by insurance
    • Financial needs arising from an unexpected emergency, accident, or other unexpected critical incidents
    • Emergency travel home for illness or bereavement in your immediate family
    • Emergency child care
    • Other financial needs arising from individual and special circumstances

    Expenses Generally Not Covered

    Examples include (but are not limited to):

    • Tuition and student fees
    • Health insurance
    • Continuous fixed expenses (e.g. rent, essential utilities)
    • Non-essential utilities (cable)
    • Costs of entertainment, recreation, or non-emergency travel
    • Legal counsel and fees
    • Parking tickets
    • Expenses due to a lack of financial planning or overspending
    • Outstanding debt to the university or otherwise (i.e. credit cards, fees past due, etc.)

    Applying for Emergency Funding

    Currently enrolled students at University of Detroit Mercy School of Law must:

    1. Speak with Jessica Rouser, rouserjm@udmercy.edu, prior to applying for the funds, and
    2. Submit the COVID-19 Student Emergency Assistance Form. You may be asked to provide supporting documentation to verify your needs.

    The Law Student Emergency Fund team (composed of Jessica Rouser, Assistant Director, Financial Aid, School of Law and Jordan Hall, Director, Student Affairs, Campus Equity & Inclusion, School of Law) will be as generous as possible with funds. Please make your request as specific and realistic as possible so that we may assist as many students as we can, based on the availability of funds.   

    Emergency funding through the School of Law is reserved for students who have exhausted all other available options. Prior to granting funding, the Student Affairs Office will work with the Office of Financial Aid to determine that any funds granted do not impact loans, scholarships, or grants the student is receiving.

    Distribution of Emergency Funding

    The Law Student Emergency Fund team will make decisions on a rolling basis.  Disbursements will be made by direct deposit or check through the University Accounts Department every two weeks.  The dates established thus far are April 16, April 30, May 14, May 28.