2020 has been a memorable year on and off campus. Here's a recap of this year's significant events.
Jan. 21: Ball State professor calls police on student
Marketing professor Shaheen Borna called the University Police Department (UPD) after Sultan “Mufasa” Benson, senior business administration major, refused to change seats during class. Borna was suspended from teaching for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester four weeks after the incident.
March 6: Indiana’s first confirmed COVID-19 case
Indiana state health officials said the man with the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the state was in isolation after going to an Indianapolis hospital with mild symptoms. State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said the man had likely contracted COVID-19 from a conference in Boston.
March 11: WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic
The World Health Organization declared the coronavirus crisis a pandemic. This came after COVID-19 cases were rising worldwide with slow national responses. In March, Italy was fighting 10,000 cases — the largest outbreak outside of China. The United States had passed 1,000 cases with outbreaks on both the East and West Coasts.
March 11: Ball State cancels in-person classes
Ball State administrators made the decision to suspend in-person classes for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester amid coronavirus concerns. Classes began full online instruction March 16, with university buildings and residence halls still open at the time. University events of 100 or more people were also suspended.
March 23: Indiana governor issues ‘stay-at-home’ order
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb ordered Hoosiers to stay home from March 25 through April 7 during a statewide address. The order closed nonessential businesses and asked citizens to remain at home unless they were at work or participating in permitted activities, such as caring for others or obtaining supplies for health and safety. The “stay-at-home” order was later extended through May 1.
May 27: Ball State’s plan to return to campus
The Board of Trustees voted to approve face-to-face instruction beginning Aug. 24 for the fall 2020 semester. The board voted to cancel fall break and hold classes during Labor Day to provide 13 weeks of in-person instruction before Thanksgiving break. President Geoffrey Mearns also said the university would adjust room assignments in residence halls to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19.
June 4: Muncie marches for George Floyd
Ball State students and Muncie community members marched from Shafer Tower to Muncie City Hall to protest racial injustice. The protest began with eight minutes of silence in honor of George Floyd and included speeches from organizers. Muncie and UPD officers also attended the protest at the invitation of student organizers.
July 22: Indiana governor imposes statewide mask order
Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that a statewide face mask mandate would take effect July 27, joining many other states in measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. The order applies to anyone age 8 or older in all indoor public areas as well as outdoors where social distancing cannot be maintained.
Aug. 8: MAC cancels fall 2020 football season
An anonymous source with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press the Mid-American Conference (MAC) would cancel its fall 2020 college football season because of COVID-19 concerns. With the MAC’s 12 schools facing a significant financial burden by trying to maintain costly coronavirus protocols, the conference’s university presidents made the decision to explore a spring season. The MAC voted later to begin a fall 2020 six-game schedule Nov. 4, 2020.
Aug. 25: Students organize protest for Jacob Blake
Nearly 100 students and community members gathered at University Green for a racial justice protest organized two days after a Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times. Protestors were socially distanced and wearing masks, and student organizers invited attendees to share their own experiences with racial injustice.
Aug. 28: Ball State president issues COVID-19 warning
Ending the first week of classes of the fall 2020 semester, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns sent a campus-wide email that said the rising coronavirus case count was primarily the result of irresponsible actions by students. Mearns said he may temporarily suspend in-person instruction for fall 2020 classes if student behavior didn’t improve.
Sept. 18: Board of Trustees cancels 2021 spring break
Ball State’s Board of Trustees voted to cancel spring break 2021 and not begin class instruction until Jan. 19, 2021. Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, said the Academic Planning Group will continue to evaluate whether to begin all classes Jan. 19 or implement a staggered start date schedule.
Sept. 18: Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from complications of metastatic pancreatic cancer. Ginsburg, the court’s second female justice in history, was known as a trailblazer for women’s rights in the United States. President Donald Trump nominated Justice Amy Coney Barrett to replace Ginsburg’s seat on the court. Coney Barrett took the judicial oath Oct. 26 after being confirmed by the Senate.
Sept. 26: Indiana begins stage 5 of reopening plan
The state of Indiana moved on to the fifth and final stage of Gov. Eric Holcomb’s “Back on Track Indiana” COVID-19 reopening plan. Stage 5 lifted restrictions on restaurants, bars, night clubs and gyms, allowing them to operate at full capacity but to continue to observe social distancing. All size limitations on indoor and outdoor gatherings were also lifted under stage 5.
Nov. 7: Joe Biden projected winner of 2020 presidential election
Democrat Joe Biden defeated President Donald Trump to become the 46th president of the United States, according to a race call from The Associated Press. Trump has refused to concede, threatening legal action on ballot counting. Kamala Harris made history as the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to become vice president-elect.