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Let’s Forge Our Own Path

Aug. 20, 2020

We trust you know what is going at other campuses around the country, and we want to start by saying SLU can be different. We can forge our own path. 

After just one week, COVID-19 infections spread during off-campus parties have upended face-to-face instruction at the University of North Carolina, and the University of Notre Dame, among others. UNC has moved entirely online for the semester. Notre Dame will try online for two weeks, in hopes they can contain their COVID-19 outbreak and return to face-to-face instruction.

This does not have to be SLU’s story.

As we approach our first weekend, we are very concerned. We’re not concerned because we think our students will act the same as the UNC and Notre Dame students. We are concerned because we know some of our students have: 

  • Attended off-campus parties
  • Hosted on-campus parties
  • Left quarantine to spend time with friends
  • Crowded together and socialized, in small and large groups, without masks 

We could go on, but you get the picture. Importantly, we know MOST of our students are following the public health guidelines, and adhering to the Campus Commitment. But, MOST is not enough. We need ALL of our students to follow the guidelines. 

We are convinced we don’t need to follow the path of UNC and Notre Dame. That outcome is not predetermined. 

However, that will only happen if ALL of our students follow our public health guidelines, and adhere to the Campus Commitment this weekend. The guidelines are not just for class time, or weekdays; they are for all days, all times, and in all places –– both on and off campus. 

We know that some of you are willing to take the personal risk of attending off-campus events where our guidelines are ignored. Please know that your personal risk should not be the deciding factor.

If you bring the virus back to our campus, and it spreads –– which it will –– you will compromise not only our staff and faculty’s health, but their jobs (should the University have to shut down again). You will also infect other students. Our infection count will quickly become unsustainable, as it did at UNC and Notre Dame, and we will have to consider a transition to online education. 

Again, we do not think this is inevitable. We think we can do better.

Follow the public health guidelines. Live our Jesuit mission. ALL OF YOU

Let’s make headlines for being the University that made it work. 

Sincerely yours,

Mike Lewis, Ph.D.
Interim Provost 

Debra Rudder Lohe, Ph.D. (she/her/hers)
Interim Vice President for Student Development