LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Trustees offer support for campus reopening plan
TO THE EDITOR:
Today we, the Central Michigan University Board of Trustees, write to current and future students, parents, families, faculty, staff, and members of the Mount Pleasant community to show our support for the decision to reopen campus this fall.
CMU has joined the growing list of institutions that have made plans to once again offer face-to-face classes. We are proud of the thoughtful, careful work done by President Davies and the CMU Emergency Management group to create a strategic approach to reopen campus that focuses on the health and safety of every member of the CMU community.
As plans to reopen are finalized, they will be made widely available. And, while we feel confident this is the best path forward for CMU, university leaders will continue to monitor the situation closely. Should outbreaks occur, or should state leaders require us to modify our plans, CMU also has developed several contingency plans, including a shift to remote and online instruction.
We are fortunate to have the leadership of President Davies to navigate through these challenging times. In the face of budget reductions and future uncertainties, he has provided calm guidance and even introduced powerful initiatives to keep education within reach for more students and lessening the burden on their families: freezing tuition, increasing scholarship support, guaranteeing on-campus employment for students, offering deferred and flexible payment options, and easing the path for transfer students.
Yet the responsibility for a successful transition this fall and for the future of our university cannot rest on President Davies alone. It is incumbent upon each of us to do our part. Today, we invite you to join us in this effort.
To CMU students and families: CMU’s semirural setting makes it a safer option than some peer institutions in larger cities; however, the threat of COVID-19 has not and will not disappear for quite some time. We all must do our part to protect ourselves and others. This means following CDC recommendations — including washing your hands, wearing a face covering, practicing social distancing and cleaning often — and using good judgement when making decisions about activities on and off campus. We ask each of you to educate yourself on the facts and to do all you can to keep yourself and others safe.
To the Mount Pleasant business community: Many of you are eager to get back to business, and the return of students, faculty and staff may have a profound impact on your operations and your financial future. Please carefully consider how you will support a safe transition and share your plans with others. We look to you to develop practices and protocols to ensure the health and safety of your customers and consumers, including CMU students, faculty, staff and supporters.
To CMU alumni, donors and friends: Nationwide, higher education is in crisis, and CMU faces a challenging year ahead. Declining state appropriations, coupled with an unequal per-student funding model, will negatively impact the university’s financial bottom line. Changing demographics have led to lower enrollments, exacerbating the issue. Your financial support has never been as needed. Last year, CMU had its most successful fundraising year in its history. Please help us continue the trend. Consider making a gift in any amount to support students through scholarships, the Emergency Fund or another area.
We all share a vital interest in getting back to “normal,” yet recognize this will require us each to embrace changes to protect the health and safety of our community. We look forward to joining you in creating a vibrant school year at Central Michigan University, in Mount Pleasant and beyond.
Tricia A. Keith, Chair
Richard K. Studley, Vice Chair
Robert F. Wardrop II, Vice Chair
Todd J. Anson
Isaiah M. Oliver
Edward J. Plawecki, Jr.
Dr. Michael A. Sandler
William H. Weideman