A Message from President Freeman re: Weekend Plans
August 27, 2020
As the end of your first full week draws near, I want to share some thoughts and information before you proceed with your weekend plans.
I know that social activities at any university look and feel different right now because of COVID-19, and that we’re all looking at how to maximize this new experience while minimizing health risks. I’m certain that it’s frustrating, but it’s important for our community that you continue to respect and prioritize your health and the health of others. Adhering to the guidelines from public health experts will make a difference in helping us get to a better place.
I want to express my gratitude to the many students who are following safety guidelines and protocols. Wearing a mask, physically distancing, socializing in small groups and avoiding large events are all critical to protecting your health and our community. These small efforts have big impacts.
The university is aware that some students have given into temptation – knowingly making poor choices with complete disregard for the safety of fellow students, professors, staff and more by organizing or joining large parties. This type of behavior is in direct contrast to what it means to be a Huskie, and I’m calling on our entire student body to do what’s right.
This message isn’t to cast blame but to help you understand more specifically the basis for our expectations and the significant consequences that will happen should this behavior continue. We are in this together, and we need to work together to promote a culture of mutual care and respect for our individual and collective health and well-being. If the reality of creating opportunities for the virus to be introduced or spread is not enough of a deterrent, I need you take seriously that NIU will initiate an immediate process that removes students from classes, activities, residence life and campus quickly if the student’s behavior endangers the health and safety of others. This includes:
- Hosting or organizing gatherings of more than 50 people;
- Failing to notify the NIU COVID-19 Helpline in the event of testing positive, having symptoms or having had close contact with someone who has tested positive or is presumed positive; or
- Not cooperating with public health officials on contact tracing (returning phone calls, providing contact information, etc.).
Additionally, students who have been instructed to quarantine/isolate and fail to follow instructions about how to do so properly will be suspended. Failures to do what’s right will put lives at risk and will be considered serious breaches of trust in our Huskie community.
When we admitted you as students, we saw outstanding humans with incredible potential to positively contribute to communities and society. Your time to do that is right now. Prioritize your health and those you care about, participate in safe activities on- and off-campus and remember that all Huskies are counting on you.
Lisa C. Freeman