Cardinal Quarter canceled for fall quarter, other internship funding programs downsized

Aug. 8, 2020, 3:56 p.m.

Stanford’s Cardinal Quarter fellowship program has been canceled for the upcoming fall quarter due to University budgetary and pandemic-related concerns.

Cardinal Quarter joins other University funding opportunities like the Rebele Internship Program that have been forced to either be downsized or discontinued for the next year, disrupting students’ plans. University policy for the 2020-21 school year will not allow full-time Stanford-supported programs and projects for the fall quarter, according to Cardinal Quarter Program Director Hilary Douglas.

In the past, Stanford’s Cardinal Quarter has offered nearly 500 opportunities per year for students to participate in full-time public service experiences. The Cardinal Quarter allows students to participate in a variety of public service opportunities, including Stanford in Government fellowships, Domestic Public Service fellowships and the Bing Stanford in Washington Program.

Cardinal Quarter Program Director Hilary Douglas announced the change in late July in an email to all students who started or submitted an application for Cardinal Quarter:

“We just learned from the Provost’s Office that a University policy for the 2020-2021 school year will not allow full-time Stanford Supported programs/projects for the upcoming Fall quarter,” Douglas wrote. “Based on this policy, we have been instructed to discontinue our anticipated Fall quarter Cardinal Quarter program.”

University spokesperson E.J. Miranda wrote that the University regrets “the disappointment and disruption this has caused our students,” in a statement to the Daily. “We remain committed to developing resources and alternative opportunities for students in the coming academic year.”

According to Miranda, the decision to cancel the Cardinal Quarter program was attributed to “unprecedented public health, budgetary and programmatic challenges presented by the ongoing pandemic.”

The cancellation of Cardinal quarter has put many students in the position of having to make last-minute arrangements and reevaluate their plans for the 2020-21 school year. Alyssa Romanos ’21 considered extending her summer non-profit work into the Fall quarter, but will be unable to do so because of the cancellation. Romanos said the decision to cancel the program disproportionately affects first-gen and/or low income (FLI) students at Stanford.

“While I have the privilege of living at home and having a part-time job, other students do not,” Romanos wrote in a statement to The Daily. “The cancellation of Cardinal Quarter disproportionately affects FLI students who were considering taking a leave of absence and looking for ways to support themselves and their families.”

Many students have expressed their frustration with these University decisions, including Abby Taylor ’21, who created a petition to reinstate fall Cardinal Quarter

Taylor’s petition describes the decision to cancel the Cardinal Quarter as “disproportionately [impacting] first-generation and low-income students and is an attempt to manipulate students into enrolling in classes.”

Miranda declined to comment on this speculation.

Like Taylor, some students think the decision to cancel Cardinal Quarter was motivated by the dip in enrollment for the 2020-2021 academic year. Cancellation of programs, like the Cardinal Quarter, might force students who had previously planned to pursue work-based opportunities to enroll in classes. 

In addition to Cardinal Quarter, a variety of other internship and fellowship funding programs have been temporarily downsized or canceled, due to both pandemic and budget-related issues.

The Rebele Internship Program, which is run by the Department of Communication and provides funds for Stanford students interning with journalism organizations, has been canceled for the upcoming fall, winter and spring quarters.

The Rebele Internship Program is supported by endowment funds. Per University budgetary decisions, the payout supporting the program is being reduced for 2020-2021.

According to Miranda, this decision was made to “allow the Rebele Internship program to [have enough funds] to support students doing full-time internships in the summer of 2021.”

Other funding programs, although not canceled, are being forced to downsize due to pandemic related concerns. 

The Bill Lane Center for the American West, which offers a variety of fellowships for students to pursue research or work on material for publication, has students conducting their internships remotely.

According to Bruce Cain, the Director of the Bill Lane Center for the American West, the Bill Lane Center actually had “a record number of students on payroll this summer [when combined with] Bill Lane Center research fellowships.”

For Cain, the remote aspect of these internships and fellowships was regrettable but necessary.

“The university leadership calls the shots. It was remote internship and research positions or nothing,” Cain wrote in a statement to the Daily.

The Bill Lane Center, which did not plan to have any fall internships, will continue to offer research opportunities throughout the school year. However, according to Kylie Gordon, Strategic Communications Associate for the Bill Lane Center, the center will “only offer payment to students who plan to enroll in courses.”

The article has been corrected to reflect that Bill Lane Center internships or research opportunities have not been forced to downsize or discontinue for the upcoming academic year. The Daily regrets this error.

Contact Nina Iskandarsjach at ninaisk ‘at’

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