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Sunday, March 26, 2023
The independent student publication of The University at Buffalo, since 1950


Compass pointing to Mecca before prayer.

What Ramadan is like during a pandemic

Fakaradin Floyd rarely wakes up before dawn. Today, however, the junior computer science major woke up at 4 a.m.  Like most students his age, Floyd starts his day by washing up at home. But while many students’ morning routines might consist of washing their hands or splashing cold water on their faces, Floyd’s involves more thorough standards of cleansing: swishing water in his mouth, cleaning the inner and outer parts of his ears and washing his hands, arms, head and feet. 


North Campus maintains zero COVID-19 cases amid Erie County outbreaks

North Campus, with its roughly 1,500 residents, still does not have any confirmed COVID-19 cases.  Susan Snyder, director of Health Services, cites the campus’ social distancing and cleaning measures as the reason. Still, the lack of cases is atypical of the pandemic, as Erie County currently has 2,996 confirmed cases, 364 of which are in the Amherst/Williamsville municipality encompassing North Campus. 

Moe’s, Putnam’s, Jamba Juice and Champa Sushi in the Student Union remain closed until further notice. Tim Horton’s remains open with limited hours during the weekdays making it difficult for students to spend their remaining meal credits and dining dollars.

Prorated refunds for student fees will be applied to student accounts ‘prior to the end of the semester’

UB has not yet provided a specific date that fee refunds will be applied to student accounts, but a university spokesperson said students will see prorated refunds “prior to the end of the semester.” The prorated fee refunds –– the percentage of money that will be refunded from the total fee –– will be “calculated on an individual basis” and “based on actual services provided,” according to UB spokesperson Kate McKenna.

Chairs rest on top of tables in the Student Union.

Student workers struggle to remain financially independent following coronavirus lay-offs

Rutuja Sawant knows the value of hard work. This spring, the senior media studies major juggled three campus jobs in addition to a full-time course load.  But when UB announced its transition to distance learning, Sawant’s bosses at the Integrated Medical Center and Intercultural Diversity Center couldn’t give her hours. Then the Office of Admissions laid Sawant off. 

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Monday his office won’t file criminal charges for the April 2019 death of 18-year-old UB freshman Sebastian Serafin-Bazan. 

District attorney's office not filing charges for suspected hazing death

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn announced Monday his office won’t file criminal charges for the April 2019 death of 18-year-old UB freshman Sebastian Serafin-Bazan.  Serafin-Bazan was found unconscious on the lawn of 69 Custer St., which belonged to the Sigma Pi fraternity, on April 12, 2019. He later died on April 17. 


Financial analyst denies ‘preconceived agenda’ in UB analysis

Howard Bunsis –– the Eastern Michigan University accounting professor who reported UB spends more on administration than any of its “peers” –– denies UB’s statement that his independent financial analysis had a “preconceived agenda.”  Bunsis’ report, which he released in February, called UB financial reporting “less transparent” than any of the over 100 universities he examined over the last 15 years. UB’s response urged readers to be “very skeptical of its findings” and said Bunsis had a “preconceived agenda” because he was hired. UB said the “report contains several flaws, inaccuracies and inconsistencies that misrepresent and misinterpret UB’s budget and budgeting process.” But Bunsis, in an April 3 email, said his report was based on “facts.”

UB is planning to host virtual commencement according to President Satish Tripathi's Monday email.

UB to host virtual graduation ceremonies for class of 2020

UB will host a virtual commencement ceremony for its class of 2020, according to a Monday email from President Satish Tripathi.  Planning for the online ceremony is underway, according to Tripathi, with schools expected to email students graduation details in the coming weeks. The email did not name which online platforms UB would make available for the ceremony’s streaming. 

Roswell Park Cancer Institute, where the first patient in Buffalo received sarilumab treatment.

UB contributes to local pandemic preparations

The Food and Drug Administration gave UB and Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center permission Wednesday to begin a “collaborative clinical study” using an experimental drug, sarilumab, to try to treat some COVID-19 effects. Igor Puzanov, the trial’s co-principal investigator, hopes the drug, which reduces inflammation, may alleviate some of COVID-19’s worst symptoms like lung injury. 

Spectrum editor talks to Mingchen Cai, a sophomore media study major from China.

International students navigate travel bans and visa status amid COVID-19 crisis

Mingchen Cai went home to China over winter break to see his family. Upon returning to Buffalo, he had to self-isolate. But Cai never anticipated New York becoming a virus hotspot.  Now, he feels “trapped.” Cai is just one of many international students at UB who decided to stay in Buffalo as U.S. COVID-19 cases rose from 5,000 to more than 130,000 across the nation in the last two weeks. 

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