As we embark on a fall semester unlike any in history, I write to reiterate a straightforward reality: We cannot do this without you.
Specifically, we cannot do this unless each of you adheres to our health and safety guidelines. And we cannot do this unless each of you commits to thinking not only about yourself, but about the entire university community, in every decision you make. The safety of our university, and our ability to be on campus, depends on it.
We are aware of social activities over the weekend hosted by KU students in violation of county regulations and university policies related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have issued cease-and-desist orders to two fraternities – Kappa Sigma and Phi Kappa Psi – and issued 14-day public health bans for the members of these organization. We will not tolerate selfish and irresponsible behavior that puts the health and safety of our community at risk; that disrespects staff, faculty and students who have worked to prepare our campuses for reopening; that jeopardizes the long-term viability of the university; and that recklessly disregards the authorities of the university, city, and county.
I know most of our students are doing the right thing. But we will not accept noncompliance with health and safety protocols on-campus related to masks, physical distancing and large gatherings. Any student who does not follow university regulations may face student conduct action, including the removal of privileges to come to campus and possible suspension. Additionally, disregard for state or county guidelines could lead to civil or criminal penalties. These disciplinary actions and penalties can follow you throughout your academic career and impact your applications for graduate school or your first job after graduation.
Students, let us again be perfectly frank about our situation. We need each of you to rise to this occasion. We expect it of you, and we cannot settle for less.
Though this pandemic is impossibly complicated, the expectations of you are not. Each of you has the power to help by following some simple guidance: Wear your mask at all times. Maintain six feet of distance from others. Wash your hands. Stay home if you’re not feeling well. If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or potentially been exposed, follow the instructions given to you by health officials. These actions don’t take great effort. They are only a matter of will.
Further, if you see someone who isn’t doing these things — step up. Talk to that person and ask them to take appropriate action. Help them realize their decisions impact the whole community. Help them understand that we all need to look out for each other.
The bottom line is, each of us has a special responsibility to the community this year. I am counting on you to embrace this responsibility. And you can count on me and every member of our faculty and staff to continue making your health and safety our top priority.
Douglas A. Girod