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Message from Interim President David T. McFaddin April 9, 2020

Coates Building

Dear campus community,

Our Colonel community is rising to overcome the challenges in these changing times. It is not easy to endure the constant onslaught of news about COVID-19 day in and day out, practicing social distancing, working and studying at home while managing family obligations, changing the way we teach and learn. We are all trying to adjust and make the best of an uncertain situation. We have discovered during the pandemic that information is in high demand. We are providing communications as often and as accurately as the changing times allow. As we continue to interact with each other using electronic platforms, I am grateful for the options we have, but it isn’t the same as being able to visit face to face. I miss seeing our students, faculty and staff, and I eagerly await the time when I can see your smiling faces on the Campus Beautiful and chat about work, family and friends. For now, there are several items I will share with you that may be of interest.

Summer Sessions
We have received several inquiries about Summer courses. After consulting with the Provost, a decision has been made that due to the uncertainty that the COVID-19 virus presents, it is best to proceed with the first summer session entirely online.

As we transition into the second summer session, there may be opportunities to offer varying levels of face-to-face material such as labs and clinicals. However, this decision will be based on the recommendations from state and federal officials regarding social distancing and other information surrounding the COVID-19 threat. The Office of Academic Affairs will keep you updated as new information becomes available.

Summer Events
Events planned on campus for the summer will follow the same schedule as instruction. This includes sports camps and clinics. An assessment of campus events after July 1, will be conducted and appropriate decisions made based on local state and national guidelines concerning safety surrounding the COVID-19 virus.

Housing and Dining
I understand the topic of housing and dining credits has been a question for many students. Thank you for your patience, and I ask for your understanding. The Office of Financial Affairs had many factors to consider in establishing a fair and manageable process for everyone affected.

Starting April 15, students will receive a prorated credit for housing and meal plan charges for the remainder of the spring 2020 semester.

Students who moved out of EKU Housing before April 1, 2020, will receive a prorated credit applied to their student account by April 15, 2020. The credit will be 33% of the original housing charge.

Residential students who purchased the $500 Declining Balance Meal Plan and Commuter students who purchased the $300 Declining Balance Meal Plan will receive a credit to their student account for any value remaining on their declining balance meal plan. These credits will be applied to students’ accounts by April 15, 2020. Students who purchased a meal plan other than the Declining Balance Meal Plan will receive a prorated credit applied to their student account by April 15, 2020. The credit will be 33% of the original meal plan charge.

Any resulting credit balance on a student account for housing and dining will be refunded and processed beginning April 15.

For more information about this topic, please visit our FAQ.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, financial security is at risk for a number of our students. We understand many of you are facing challenges, and we will do our best to provide support during these difficult times. Please take advantage of resources available for students, including the Colonel’s Cupboard and the Student Assistance Fund for Eastern (SAFE Fund).

Spring 2020 Graduation
As we conduct assessments across the University, unfortunately, we are discovering that there are very few areas unaffected by the impact of COVID-19. Commencement is one of my favorite events at EKU that unfortunately did not escape the pandemic. Due to the number of people who gather for graduation, this semester’s ceremony is postponed in order to abide by state and federal guidelines.

However, I am pleased to announce that a working group has formed to develop a plan for a “virtual” ceremony to occur on May 16. Individual college ceremonies will be scheduled throughout the day. The group is managing the details, and more information will be available soon. We are also planning a summer commencement ceremony for early August. Although delayed, we understand the time and hard work our students have expended to earn their degree. This effort should be recognized and celebrated together. We will do our best to offer an opportunity to extend our congratulations and best wishes as our Colonels enter the workforce.

Fall Registration
Registration for Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 are open now in EKU Direct. Students are encouraged to work with advisors to register for classes. Be sure to register early for the courses you need in order to complete your degree and graduate on time. Remember – 15 to finish! In order to reduce barriers for students to register and continue in the fall, Student Accounting Services has lifted financial holds on student accounts for currently enrolled students. We look forward to seeing you on campus and online in the fall.

2020 Census
If you haven’t already, please remember to complete your Census. The census remains important for the long-term support of the University. If you previously lived on campus, EKU Housing is working to make sure you will be counted. If you normally live in an apartment or house alone or with roommates, you should use your normal address – where you usually live while you are in school, even if you have since relocated. Your response will determine how federal funding will be distributed to Madison County for services that affect you such as school safety, mental health services, and Pell grants. Please visit https://2020census.gov to learn how to make sure you are counted.

Heroes Among Us
As an EKU graduate and now Interim President, I am a staunch advocate for Eastern Kentucky University. I love this institution, and I fight for the people at Eastern. Today, our students, faculty, staff and alumni speak louder through their actions than I could ever say.

First responders, health care workers, police, firefighters, business leaders, teachers, and many others are career tracks within the degrees we offer at EKU. In Kentucky, you would be hard-pressed not to find a Colonel in the field working to address the challenges we face from the COVID-19 pandemic. Now more than ever, we see firsthand how valuable educated and well-trained individuals are to our communities. Without them, where would we be? Although we face unique individual challenges due to a national public health crisis, I urge you to stop, for only a moment, and reflect on those who are on the front lines battling this virus to secure a better life for us all. They are heroes and many of them are Colonels, like you.

So, before we get wrapped up in the minutia of our daily grind, think about your work, studies and academic achievement. Success in the classroom equals peace of mind for our communities and families. Today, we see Colonels on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Tomorrow, it could be your turn. You are a source of pride for EKU, Kentucky, the nation and the world. A heavy burden for sure, but a worthy cause that we have embraced for more than 100 years. Thanks to you, I have no doubt we will be even more proud of the next century and beyond.

Please take care of yourself and each other. Commit to good social distancing and hygiene practices. It is critical that we do our part to mitigate the effects of this virus. Although distractions lurk around every corner, don’t lose focus on your studies or your work. Show the world that COVID-19 will not stop the Colonel nation from succeeding. Although we are not physically on the campus beautiful, we still persevere. Instead of Richmond and regional campuses, EKU is now everywhere you are. Please use #EKUeverywhere to show that Colonels care and that we can overcome any obstacles if we stick together.

Keep pushing ahead, Colonels, and thank you for being a part of EKU.

David T. McFaddin
Interim President
Eastern Kentucky University
   

Published on April 09, 2020

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