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EDITORIAL: CMU has had quick, thoughtful reaction to coronavirus pandemic


The Central Michigan University seal sits in front of Warriner Hall Aug. 25 on CMU's campus.

Central Michigan University is facing unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Every single day, university administrators, faculty and staff are asking: How do we respond to this latest, unexpected situation? 

There are many unknowns for higher education amid the coronavirus pandemic, including how to reach out to next year’s new students, how to conduct this semester’s exams and how to accommodate students who paid to live on campus and take in-person courses. 

We want to recognize CMU’s thoughtful, surprisingly rapid reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. The university is taking care of its current students who have had their lives turned upside down by extending credit/no credit options, offering “proportional and appropriate refunds” for on-campus housing and constantly updating its students about new information via email. 

Many students set to graduate in May were heartbroken to hear that spring commencement must be postponed. This week we received an email from President Bob Davies rescheduling commencement for Aug. 15, just three months after the original graduation date. 

“In a month of troubling headlines, I am grateful to have some good news to share with you today," Davies' email read. "In my last message, I assured you that we would find a way to celebrate your outstanding achievements together — and now we have."

CMU is offering a credit/no credit option until May 20, which is a full week-and-a-half after exams. Students can also withdraw from one or more of their courses until May 20. Professors were told to have an estimated grade for each of their students by April 25, so students will have a good idea of whether to apply for credit/no credit. 

Michigan State University, similarly, is offering its students a “satisfactory/not satisfactory” grading option after the transition to online learning. Western Michigan University is offering a similar option. 

Between the stay-at-home order and the closing of many businesses, CMU students are doing what they can to pay their bills, help their families, conquer the stress and anxiety caused by the coronavirus and finish their classes strong. 

Thankfully, one thing that we haven’t had to worry about is CMU’s response to its students during this pandemic. Not every single student has had every single question answered, or every problem solved. But most of us feel like the university is trying hard to figure out solutions that benefit students. 

Thank you, CMU, for working with us through this challenging time.