The COVID Chronicles: Be creative. Be thoughtful. Engage the community.

This was a note I sent to faculty and staff on Thursday, March 12th:

Driving in this morning I was listening to MSNBC and I heard my friend Wes Moore. He was powerful discussing with Stephanie Ruhle the impact of closings on vulnerable populations. They even mentioned college closings impacting students who are food and housing insecure (which is why unless we are forced to close we won’t- we have students who leave every May wondering how to make it through the summer).

But at the end of this segment he challenged institutions with endowments to be creative and think of ways to serve the community. I know everyone is worried about their own families, and even though Dillard is not a wealthy institution the vast majority of us have some safeguards that others don’t. Small things like giving everyone 2 weeks at Christmas means vacation accrues faster, and in an emergency I’d give additional leave anyway so we’re going to take care of you as best as we can.

I’m trying to think ahead about how Dillard can serve the community. There is a great chance K-12 schools might be closed. Is there a way to help folks who need to be at work because they don’t have any leave? Can we help feed kids who now won’t have access to free breakfast and lunch? I heard that some school districts (other states) have school buses deliver to certain locations.

So let’s think of ways we can help those less fortunate than us. I know if might sound strange because we don’t even know how this will impact us, but the city might need us.

The segment can be found below:

Written by

7th president of Dillard University

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store