April 11 Message to Undergraduates: We Are Here for You

To Our Undergraduates:

We know these are difficult times.

Not only because you are separated from one another. Or that you have to stare at a screen all day for classes. Or even because it’s nearly impossible to escape talk of this pandemic.

It is all of these—and, perhaps most of all, we do not know what comes next.

This week, we canceled summer study abroad and took summer courses remote. We asked faculty to begin preparing for a dual-delivery approach in the fall. And we announced a virtual commencement next month, with in-person ceremonies waiting until October.

And then, finances. Unemployment filings in this country hit 16 million this week—a number equal to all of Ohio’s population and three-quarters of Indiana’s put together. Just about everyone knows someone who has been furloughed or laid off. Some of your family members may be among them.

Thursday's meeting for university administrators to answer Undergraduate Student Government leaders featured many different questions, but several included this phrase: “What if someone can’t afford…”

First, I want to assure you that the university’s commitment to meet the demonstrated financial need of every admitted student is as strong as ever. Second, I want to remind you that the Case Western Reserve community wants to help you as well.

Last month, the university’s Student Emergency Fund, established earlier by a gift from an alumnus and his wife, assisted more than 160 students with urgent needs. In addition:

  • your student leaders quickly reallocated the funds allocated for spring activities to provide additional support for classmates (and we coordinated to ensure no inadvertent double-payments took place);
  • nearly 90 alumni and other supporters responded when I asked for their help to replenish the university’s emergency fund; and
  • more than 300 faculty and staff who learned Friday they would receive a parking credit for April answered our request to donate the amount to the emergency fund—within four hours. (All student parkers will receive a credit—or, if graduating, a refund—for the period from March 22 until the end of the academic year.)

Finally, please remember: Wherever you are, you are not alone. And, if you ever feel overwhelmed or anxious, you can call counseling services any time, day or night, during the week or on the weekend at 216.368.5872.

With very best wishes,

Barbara R. Snyder