March 23, 2020
I write to you today from our very beautiful but strangely quiet Christian Brothers University campus. With the advent of spring, the flowers are starting to bloom and the birds are in full throat with lovely song. What is missing, though, is what makes CBU so special: you and the other members of our remarkable Lasallian community.
I so wish that each of you was here with me to enjoy the majesty of spring on our idyllic campus, and I hope that you have all had the opportunity to find moments of beauty and joy wherever you find yourself at this unusual time.
I also would like to express my gratitude to each of you for your patience, support and resilience as together we have made this unprecedented transition in our daily routines. It has impacted nearly every facet of our lives, and while I believe we have been successful in adapting as best we can, I know there are still challenges for us to overcome, questions to answer, and concerns to address. Today, my announcements will address a few of these questions and, I commit to you, the CBU leadership team and I will continue to work with our community to make sure you have the information you need.
After consultation with our Board of Trustees and the CBU administration, I can provide the following updates:
- All CBU courses will be taught via remote learning for the remainder of the Spring 2020 semester. Understanding that this will impact courses and academic programs differently, we will be working closely with faculty and students to ensure successful completion of academic requirements. We are currently exploring options for all exams, especially final exams, and will address all concerns over the coming weeks.
- As we will not be returning to face-to-face instruction this semester, we will be working with those students who remain in residential housing to ensure that everyone remains safe while assisting those who are able to return to their families and permanent residences. Those students who have been approved for extended on-campus housing will be receiving additional communication from Residence Life in the coming days.
- We also will be extending our cancellation of all on-campus events until further notice. We will work with impacted individuals to provide alternative remote options as we are able.
- The CBU campus remains closed during this time of remote learning and work. Only those employees who have been approved to work on campus, as well as students and visitors with scheduled appointments, will be allowed on campus at this time. Faculty and staff should continue to work with their deans and supervisors to determine their future work plans. Anyone facing an essential need to come onto campus should email COVID19email@example.com to seek approval for a scheduled appointment.
- The 2020 Commencement will not be held in person as scheduled on May 9. We are exploring all options including holding a virtual ceremony, postponing our ceremony for Spring 2020 graduates, or combining this year’s commencement with our Spring 2021 celebration as part of a “super ceremony” to mark our University’s 150th birthday. Students who have applied to graduate will receive additional information as soon as it is available. As a parent, I know this is a deep disappointment for both our graduates and their families who have supported them throughout their education. I want you to know we will do everything we can to make our Commencement as special as possible whatever route we pursue to celebrate this significant accomplishment.
- In recognition of the financial hardship this crisis has placed on many students and their families, CBU is working to develop a plan to offer pro-rated rebates and housing credits for those residential students who have had to leave our dormitories and apartments. We are working through the logistics of these arrangements now and we will communicate further with impacted students and their families as soon as possible.
- We have received some questions about our plans for summer classes and activities. At this time, we are planning a full slate of classes and events presented in a variety of in-person and online formats. Registration for both Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 courses is currently open and will remain so until the beginning of each term. Students should look for additional information in your CBU email in the coming days.
As I close, I want to thank you for sharing many encouraging stories as our transition to remote learning has begun and our community adjusts to a “new normal” in our daily lives. As Lasallians, we make a commitment to walk alongside each other in a supportive community, and I am encouraged to see how that “walk” has taken on inventive new interpretations of “together and by association” through virtual lectures, conference call meetings, online chats and discussion boards. I have been especially cheered by stories of our students getting to know their professor’s pets who have been determined to get in on the remote learning action.
We will be sharing these stories with you along with encouraging you to join in community in new ways over the coming weeks. We will continue to rely on our website (www.cbu.edu/coronavirus) and our email to share official communications with you while, at the same time, we will also be informing and engaging our CBU community as in other new and creative ways via social media. If you have not already done so, I encourage you to follow the University’s official accounts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram where you will hopefully soon find fun challenges to keep your spirits high, pictures of our beautiful campus in case you are missing your CBU home, and maybe even some shots of the #PetsofCBU.
I want you to know that you all remain in my thoughts and prayers, as well as those of the Christian Brothers residing on our campus. I am pleased to report that they remain in good spirits and continue to provide much appreciated guidance, counsel and support to me, the Board of Trustees, and the senior leadership team. Trusting that, “together, and by association”, a more resilient, empathetic and vibrant Christian Brothers University will eventually emerge from these challenging and uncertain times, I leave with you the following words of St. John Baptist de La Salle:
“Don’t be troubled about the present or
disquieted about the future,
but be concerned only
about the moment you must now live.
Do not let anticipation of tomorrow
be a burden on the day that is passing.
What you lack in the evening,
the new morning will bring you,
if you know how to hope in God.”
President of Christian Brothers University