I’m Michael McRobbie, president of Indiana University.
I extend a very warm welcome to the IU community as we embark today upon the start of the fall semester and a new academic year that will be unlike any other.
Ever since we moved IU’s classes online in March, our staff have been working around the clock to ensure that we would be able to reopen as safely as possible. Indeed, our campuses now have in place some of the most thorough and rigorous testing and contact tracing operations of any university in the country. And our faculty have invested countless hours in course design work to ensure our students can receive the best possible education, whether they are learning in the classroom or virtually.
And while life on campus will look a lot different this year, I am sure you are as pleased as I am to be welcoming our students—the animating spirit of the university—back to our campuses for the first time in more than five months. We look forward to the life and energy they will bring to our classrooms and campus grounds, which have been too quiet for too long.
While we have collectively and clearly communicated to students that our ability to stay together in person will depend heavily on their behaviors and actions, every member of the IU community shares this responsibility. I expect everyone—every student, every faculty member, every staff member—to adhere to our safety requirements so that we can complete the semester on our campuses rather than back at home.
I am confident we are all up to the challenging task at hand. Your extraordinary efforts over the past five months tell me we can do this.
You have served courageously on the front lines of Indiana’s fight against COVID-19. You are engaged in research to beat back and ultimately eradicate this deadly virus. You have stepped up to meet our state’s critical need for health care and medical workers. You have cleaned and sanitized classrooms and other buildings, delivered guidance to students and families, and kept our university running. And you have contributed to one of higher education’s most comprehensive testing and screening programs for COVID-19.
IU is leading in this crisis. And I could not be prouder.
As we begin the fall semester, I also want to take this opportunity to commend the work so many of you are doing to reaffirm and reinforce IU’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. There are many anti-racism initiatives already underway, and we have much more work to do in the weeks and months ahead. I remain confident that the whole university community fully understands the gravity of the current situation and that we are all fully committed to real, meaningful action.
In many ways, our work in meeting all of the multiple challenges we are facing is just beginning.
Yes, this will be a very difficult time for us to navigate.
But we have positioned ourselves such that our opportunity for success is at its greatest. It is going to take a combination of creativity, courage, kindness, perseverance, personal responsibility and an unwavering concern for others. These are all characteristics that have come to embody Indiana University and I believe they will carry us through the challenges of the coming year.
I have no doubt we are up to the task. Our campuses will look different this year. But the IU community has not changed.
We WILL prevail.
Thank you for doing your part to keep our campus communities safe and healthy.