2022 at Vanderbilt Wrapped
We recapped Vanderbilt’s year and all that you were up to in 2022.
January 9, 2023
This past year at Vanderbilt has been nothing short of tumultuous.
From changing COVID-19 protocols to the football team miraculously winning two SEC games, we recapped Vanderbilt’s year and all that you were up to in 2022.
Your reading trends
The Hustler? had over 1.3 million unique readers from 214 countries. You tend to read more on Mondays (particularly in the morning) and Tuesdays.
Your top 5 stories were:
- Former VUMC nurse RaDonda Vaught found guilty for death of patient by accidental injection
- GUEST EDITORIAL: Vanderbilt Chose Not to Expel My Rapist
- Vanderbilt students, alumni express disappointment in university’s new ‘visual identity’
- Tyler Childers makes an eccentric return with ‘Can I Take my Hounds to Heaven’ – The Vanderbilt Hustler
- ‘Pure joy’: 24.1% of early decision I applicants admitted to Class of 2026
Your reading personality was:
The stories you read the most were published in the sports, news and opinion sections. Specifically, you read a lot about football, academic news and the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as editorials and guest editorials.
Your top new topics were:
Crypto: Crypto came to Vanderbilt in Fall 2022.Cryptocurrency investors visited campus for speaker events and recruited students and their companies to join their own companies. Investors funded off-campus networking events at the Zeppelin Nashville, the Ainsworth and on a yacht. One student stated that their crypto startup was valuated at eight figures.
Volleyball: Vanderbilt Athletics announced the addition of women’s volleyball as a varsity sport in Fall 2024. Anders Nelson was hired as the program’s first head coach.
Hot button politics: VUMC was targeted for its gender-affirming care and debate over COVID-19 policies took center stage. The reversal of Roe v. Wade (1972) set off Tennessee’s “trigger law.” In response, the university lengthened paid parental leave and hired a new women’s health coordinator while students in the medical school reported potentially dangerous changes to healthcare protocol and education. Students discovered pamphlets spread around campus by external organizations, accusing the university of “fascism,” while on-campus organizations demanded protection and care for LGBTQ+ students at Vanderbilt as the VUMC temporarily paused gender-affirming services amid continued threats.
You spent the year debating
In addition to debating about abortion, gender-affirming care and COVID-19 policies, you spent 2022 advocating for various causes.
The year began with a newly unveiled university “visual identity” that left the classic oak leaf and star logos in the past. The administration explained that the new visual identity was designed to promote the university’s “boldness” and “leadership among its peers.” You expressed overwhelming disappointment about the new design, with online petitions about the issue garnering over 2,000 signatures and alumni speaking out.
The community lost another campus tradition this year. Students and alumni experienced what might be the last Wesley Place rooftop tailgate on Oct. 8 before rooftop events were banned at the apartment complex. Despite letters from Wesley residents to property management protesting the ban, it remains in place.
Some of you joined us for the first time at the new, more formal Founders Walk in August, where Dores Divest protestors were detained for a demonstration. Last spring, they filed a legal complaint against the university, arguing that it violated its legal obligations as a non-profit. Chancellor Daniel Diermeier’s alleged ties to the fossil fuel industry came under scrutiny through a conflict of interest filing eventually dismissed by the university.
After Chabad’s Rudy Rochman speaker event sparked allegations of racism and claims of antisemitism in response, a banner was raised at the Rand Wall reading “Hold white students accountable for their racism.” The banner was removed by administrators for allegedly violating Student Handbook guidelines but was promptly replaced by students. You also responded after Vanderbilt football assistant coach Dan Jackson backed Ye’s antisemitic and otherwise discriminatory comments. Community response preceded Jackson temporarily stepping back from the football program (after coaching against South Carolina). Jackson will return to duties after completing relevant coursework.
After community members received notice of six reports of sexual assault in a span of four days this spring, you responded by creating support communities and sharing your experiences. You wrote in response to alleged institutional failures to support survivors or screen faculty members and campus guests for sexual assault allegations.
From the passing of Queen Elizabeth II to the Russia-Ukraine war, there were many international events that caught your attention in 2022. The Middle Eastern Students Association organized protests and rallies in response to the death of Mahsa Amini, while students attended city-wide rallies in solidarity with the women of Iran. Dores in Solidarity with Palestine hosted a National Charity Walk for Palestine, while the Indigenous Scholars Organization held a 24-hour protest against the university’s refusal to adopt a land acknowledgment. VSG also created a task force to rename campus buildings with slave-owner origins.
Following a number of mass shootings across the country, gun violence was on your minds. Even while you were scattered across the country this summer, you showed up to organize and attend March for Our Lives protests nationwide.
Many of you got involved with local elections during the primaries and midterms, as well as after legislative redistricting resulted in gerrymandering in Nashville. After the elections, incorrectly distributed ballots caused controversies across the city.
New policies, reintroduced dishes
You experienced lines in dining halls, perhaps like never before. Not only that, but during the “Commodore Cares” period at the start of the Spring 2022 semester— which coincided with a snow storm, indoor dining seating was unavailable and limited to promote COVID-19 safety.
Pre-COVID-19 fan favorites slowly made their way back to dining halls, which almost made the long lines worth the wait. Mediterranean bowls, smoothies at Rand, an omelet bar at E. Bronson Ingram Dining Hall and meals at The Pub all made a comeback. Yet, with these updates came other, less welcome surprises: from metal nuts to copper wire, multiple students reported finding metal in their food at Munchie Marts and dining halls.
Dining halls modified their hours for the Spring 2022 semester to accommodate for the long waits during the previous semester. In Fall 2022, face identification check-out systems were installed in Commons Dining Hall to speed up the lines, and EBI and Commons shifted to an all-you-can-eat format. Rothschild Dining Hall made its debut, providing another location for students to eat and reducing lines. Students are now able to download an app that measures occupancy of each dining hall.
Track the cash: You spent more money but earned more, too
Undergraduate tuition and housing costs rose 6% for the 2022-23 academic year compared to the 2021-22 academic year, while meal plan prices rose an average of 12%. In total, tuition and room and board came to an average of $77,685 without fees for the 2022-23 academic year. You paid $2,371 more to attend Vanderbilt in Fall 2022 than you did in Spring 2022.
These cost increases came amid Vanderbilt being sued in a class action lawsuit claiming that 16 top institutions collude to limit financial aid. Despite this ongoing case, Vanderbilt was rated No. 1 in financial aid and No. 8 in “Best Value” by the Princeton Review. The university was also ranked No. 13 in the U.S. News’s 2023 Best Colleges rankings, one spot up from 2021. The university’s annual fossil fuel emissions report showed a 6% increase in emissions from the prior academic year and shared progress on the new Vanderbilt I Solar Farm.
Annual undergraduate parking permits were originally scheduled to increase for the 2022-23 academic year — a 15% hike of $120 compared to the previous year. Other permit types were planned to rise as well. These changes were later reversed due to inflation.
In light of these cost increases, graduate student stipends in select academic departments are rising moderately after student advocacy. Graduate students also protested the university’s response to COVID-19, an alleged lack of mental health resources, for affordable housing and for vision and dental insurance subsidies.
Bed bugs, mold and Res College C
This year, you have seen everything from tests indicating high levels of mold in Morgan House to bed bugs in Lupton House to the completion of our newest residential college — Rothschild College. Despite a worker being found dead at the Rothschild College construction site earlier this year, the building was completed this summer and opened to residents in the Fall semester. That was not the only major change this year — the housing allocation process shifted significantly, as the “equal class allocation” model for residential colleges was replaced with a seniority system. Changes to the housing process resulted in more seniors living in residential colleges and off-campus housing.
We’ll be leaving quite a few campus staples behind in 2022. Living learning communities were phased out in 2022, with McTyeire International Program being completely dissolved. The second floor of McGill Hall was separated from the McGill Project in Fall 2022 as well, coinciding with a decision to allocate some Mayfield Houses as quarantine units.
Looking ahead to 2023, you can expect to say your goodbyes to Highland Quad soon, as the university plans to demolish these housing units. Highland’s apartment-style housing will be replaced by more residential colleges, following the completion of Res College C. The university also launched student and employee working groups to address housing affordability.
Vanderbilt by the numbers
At least 3 trees fell
This year, you saw not one, not two, but at least three trees fall on campus. A tree fell on Peabody Lawn during Fall 2022 Move-In week and injured two students, sending one to VUMC. A month later, another tree faced the same fate on Peabody Lawn, but, fortunately, no one was hurt.
We ended Fall 2022 with yet another topiary tragedy, when the Bicentennial Bur Oak — which dated back to the American Revolution — fell due to ‘age-related decay.’ You all held numerous memorials, and even a candlelight vigil, for this beloved tree.
COVID-19 policies changed 7 times
We got a late start to the year when the spring semester was delayed by a week due to the omicron variant of COVID-19. Despite the delayed start to the semester, you caught COVID-19 at a higher rate than any other point in the 2021-22 academic year.
You came back from winter break to find more stringent COVID-19 policies — including a mandatory testing requirement, shortened quarantine periods and a reinstated Commodore Cares period. You criticized the Commodore Cares period, pointing out how the Memorial Gym was operating at full capacity to outsiders but students were banned from sporting events.
Before spring break, mandatory masking requirements were loosened. You returned to campus to no mask mandates and a downsized testing program. The mask mandate was briefly reinstated a few months later in June only to be removed a week later.
You came back to campus in the fall fearing a new pandemic on the horizon — monkeypox. The university responded by removing the mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirement and adding guidelines for monkeypox prevention. You reported issues with the new quarantine-in-place policies and food access in COVID-19 quarantine this fall.
Team 2: Vanderbilt football won 5 games and 2 SEC games, broke an 28-game losing streak and had 3 QB1s
In his second year as head coach, Clark Lea led Vanderbilt Football to a 5-7 season — just one game shy of a bowl and an improvement from a 2-10 record in 2021. Of the team’s 5 wins, 2 of them came against SEC powerhouses, snapping a 28-game SEC losing streak. The Hustler Sports staff predicts that Vanderbilt will make a bowl in 2023 for the first time since 2018.
Now-Junior Ken Seals started the year as QB1, but junior Mike Wright was named as the starting quarterback in July. Seals dropped to third string behind Wright and freshman AJ Swann, who eventually emerged as QB1 in Week Four. Due to Swann getting injured against South Carolina, Wright took back the helm in Week Eleven before entering the transfer portal after the season.
One national championship, 2 former student-athletes come close
Then-freshman Gordon Sargent won the NCAA men’s individual golf championship in May, making him the first freshman to do so since 2007. Former Vanderbilt student-athletes Aaron Nesmith and Luke Kornet (‘17) came close to a national title with the Boston Celtics, but the C’s lost in the NBA Finals to the Golden State Warriors.
Dores in the Pros: 6 former VandyBoys drafted, 2 UDFA signees
Six VandyBoys were chosen by MLB teams in the 2022 MLB Draft, including ace Kumar Rocker (who was originally drafted in 2021 but didn’t sign a contract), Spencer Jones, Dominic Keegan, Chris McElvain and Javier Vaz. Former Vanderbilt shortstop Carter Young was also drafted after transferring to LSU.
Two student-athletes also relocated to LA as undrafted free agents. Second baseman Tate Kolwyck signed with the Los Angeles Angels and guard Scotty Pippen Jr. signed with the Los Angeles Lakers. Pippen played for Vanderbilt during the 2022 season after withdrawing from the 2021 NBA Draft, leading his team to the NIT Quarterfinals.
Vanderbilt Football players Anfernee Orji, Michael Owusu and Ben Bresnahan all declared for the 2023 NFL Draft after the 2022 season.
Vanderbilt’s overall acceptance rate dropped to 6.1%
In Spring 2022, early decision II and regular decision applicants to the Class of 2026 were notified of their admissions decisions. In the EDII pool, 10.3% of applicants were admitted, making the overall ED acceptance rate 17.6%. The EDI and EDII acceptance rates were released in error by the Office of Undergraduate Admissions; therefore, they cannot be compared with previous years, as they are not typically released.
A record low of 6.1% of students were accepted to Vanderbilt across all application cycles, with regular decision acceptance rates also dropping to a historical low of 4.7%. The previous lows were 6.1% and 5.5% for overall and RD rates, respectively, for the Class of 2025.
In Fall 2022, the first cohort of Class of 2027 students were accepted to the university via EDI. Statistics were not released for this group; Dean of Admissions Doug Christiansen told The Hustler that statistics about the overall ED pool for the Class of 2027 would be released after EDII (traditionally in mid-February).
Vanderbilt welcomed 7 mainstream artists to campus
At the 10th annual Lights on the Lawn charity concert, Two Friends performed on Alumni Lawn — a long overdue homecoming for Eli Sones (‘15) — half of the Two Friends duo. LOTL was initially pushed to Spring 2022 to abide by COVID-19 protocols and then was moved to Fall 2022 after religious and scheduling conflicts.
Rites of Spring also returned to Vanderbilt in April 2022 after being virtual during the pandemic. Waka Flocka Flame, 2 Chainz, Miguel, BLXST, Gayle and Muni Long performed over a two-day period.
3 Greek chapters returned to Vanderbilt, 1 opened
Vanderbilt’s chapter of the Alpha Psi Lambda fraternity opened in Spring 2022 and is a part of the Intercultural Greek Council. It is a co-educational, Latinx-oriented fraternity. A pilot program led to the inclusion of Next Steps students in Panhellenic recuitment.
Vanderbilt’s Theta Beta chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. — a National Pan-Hellenic Council chapter, returned to campus in April 2022 after being suspended. Vanderbilt’s Interfraternity Council welcomed back two chapters to campus: Phi Delta Theta fraternity in Spring 2022 and Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in Fall 2022. Their return comes after Vanderbilt’s chapters of Alpha Epsilon Pi and Beta Theta Pi came back in Spring 2021 and Fall 2021, respectively, and ahead of Vanderbilt’s Tennessee Nu chapter of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity’s scheduled return in Spring 2023. All of these chapters had been previously suspended.
The IFC also implemented new recruiting practices in Fall 2022 following a new membership decline of 16.6% from 2021. This decrease comes after the peak of the Abolish Greek Life movement in 2020.
4 new restaurants were added to the Taste of Nashville menu, 4 closed and 4 left the program
Four restaurants were added to the Taste of Nashville program after the Spring 2022 semester: Sarabha’s Creamery, Barista Parlor, Koi Sushi & Thai and Sweet Dots Bubble Tea. Five restaurants were removed from the Taste of Nashville program after the Spring 2022 semester. ‘Za Wood Fired Pizza and Qdoba closed, while The Row, Flatiron and Wingstop left the program.
During the Fall 2022 semester, two more Taste of Nashville locations closed: Mellow Mushroom on 21st Ave. and Cabana Taps. Tavern, a student-favorite restaurant in Midtown, also closed during the semester. Anzie Blue also closed in December with plans to transition to an event venue and will remain in the Taste of Nashville program.