Letter of the Rector to all students - March 20th 2020

Bergamo, March 20th, 2020

Dear all,
how are you? I hope both you and your families are doing as well as possible.

I just had a phone call from the President of the Republic Sergio Mattarella. He called me to find out how we are and to encourage us to resist and not lose heart.

He wanted to know if and how we can continue our activities and congratulated us on what we are doing, recommending that we extend his thanks to our entire community: the students, the teachers and the technical-administrative staff.

In particular, he asked me if he could join my embrace one metre away to all of you, so that you could feel his closeness even more intensely.

I was very touched by that. I thanked him and decided to share this noble and heartfelt gesture with you immediately. Thank you, President! We will certainly all treasure this further demonstration of your immense humanity!

Confirming the promise I made to the President to continue to move forward without giving in to despair, I inform you of the latest news adopted by the University of Bergamo regarding the discussion of bachelor's and master's degree theses for the academic year 2018-2019, the last session of which was extended until 15th June 2020 (Decree Law no. 18 of March 17, 2020, art. 101). Considering that it is not possible, at the moment, to be sure when the teaching activities and thesis discussions can be restored, we have established various criteria for carrying out such activities, that may seem at times rigid, but actually take into account a series of complex problems, including, first of all, the particular conditions of psychological stress to which we are all inevitably subjected.

Some of you have explicitly informed me of the difficulties they are experiencing, such as, for example, not feeling psychologically ready to discuss a thesis, not even remotely, or, on the contrary, the desire to conclude their studies as soon as possible, so as to put an end to a nerve-wracking wait.

Taking all these variables into account, we decided that:

  • all discussions of the final papers for the Bachelor's Degree Courses of the Departments of Law; Letters, Philosophy, Communication; Languages, Literature and Foreign Cultures; Human and Social Sciences will be cancelled. For each Department, the evaluation of the works will be carried out by a specially appointed Commission of teachers who will give the scores on the basis of the criteria already defined by the individual courses of study.

With regards to the thesis discussions of Master's Degree Courses or single-cycle Master's Degree Courses, students about to graduate can choose between two different options:

  • the discussion of the thesis in telematic mode, within the special session, in the months of March and April;
  • the discussion of the thesis according to the procedures that will be specified later, within the special session, in the month of May, and in any case by the deadline of 15th June 2020.

Students of Master's Degree Courses can communicate their choice by filling in the following form: Special session of academic year 2018-2019 – Choice of the thesis discussion procedure

The form must be filled in by March 27th, 2020 and students must access it through their "studenti.unibg.it" account. Should you have any problems, please write a ticket to the Student Service.


I realise that, at first glance, the decisions seem to reveal an imbalance of management between the discussions for the three-year and those for the master's degree programmes, but there is a very simple and easily intuitive reason that I wanted to verify further before proceeding: three-year courses students are many and it is not possible to guarantee the distance discussions (these would require the presence of the commissioners in the campus for several days with an amplification of the risk of contagion), just as it is not possible, again for reasons of high numbers, to organise and manage the holding of the sessions within the established date of 15th June 2020.

We therefore deemed it appropriate and necessary to cancel the discussions of the final works, also on the basis of positive examples already implemented in the School of Engineering and in the Department of Business, Economics and Quantitative Methods, where three-year degrees do not require discussions.

To try to celebrate with you the joy for the goal achieved, UniBg is however thinking about a telematic event that you can share with your loved ones and, as soon as possible, we will let you know the date.


In addition, I remind you that, thanks to the fact that the deadline of the special session has been extended to 15th June 2020, for all students who finish their university career in this session and do not continue with a master's degree, the exemption from the payment of the regional fee and the all-inclusive contribution for the registration to the academic year 2019-2020 remains confirmed.

Again with regards to tuition fees, we have also thought about your families, especially those who, in this difficult situation, could have serious economic repercussions. We therefore decided to accept the indications of the MIUR and move the deadline for paying the second instalment of tuition fees to 30th May 2020, obviously for all students who have to pay a second instalment.

Another important news, which I had already mentioned, concerns profit examinations:

  • we are planning the distance oral examinations calendar;
  • at the moment, written profit examinations cannot be taken and will have to be postponed or converted, if possible, into oral examinations.


In the last few days, reflecting on the distance lectures and theses, the telematic meetings between students and teachers and the online meetings with my colleagues, I've been thinking of how these activities change the way we look at ourselves, how we deal with each other and evaluate the reality around us. Because if it is true that, as Luigi Pirandello used to say, "we see ourselves live" and we seem to reserve our experience of the world to the mere sight – we don't meet each other anymore, we don't hug each other, we don't shake hands anymore –, it is also true that our perception of the other is changing and turning into a 'relationship'. Using Skype or Google Meet, I see the face of the person I'm talking to, but also mine, I see the facial reactions that my interlocutor provokes, I see my face opening in a smile when the other person smiles. I can, in short, see my eyes and my whole face react to those of the other and, in doing so, build a new form of sharing, of relationship, precisely: "Absence, more acute presence", to put it briefly using the beautiful verse of poet Attilio Bertolucci.

Something like this would never have been possible in the past, without information technology, because it is as if we could transform our gaze into a full life, as if, to quote Pirandello, "in a flash, a reality different from what we normally perceive was clarified, a living reality beyond human sight".

In these times of fears and anxiety, in these times where we all feel a little lost, we try to discover ways to sharpen our sight and perceive different, more empathic and welcoming realities. More creative and proactive. I am sure you will be able to do that.

I embrace you from my metre of distance, which, however, thanks to the computer, seems less and less distant. The President of the Republic, Sergio Mattarella, joins my embrace,

Your Rector
Professor Remo Morzenti Pellegrini