Executive Vice President for Student Affairs Alicia D. Caudill sent the following message to students on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, regarding the College of Charleston’s enhanced response to its social gathering policy and other COVID-19 protocols:
One of my favorite podcasts (before podcasts were even a thing) was the National Public Radio (NPR) special series, This I Believe. This I Believe is a “public dialog about belief – one essay at a time.” And, these essays ask us to think about our deepest core beliefs and how they lead us in our lives. In my time working in higher education, I have worked with many students who have beautifully defined their beliefs and woven them into the story of their lives. For years, I was in awe of them as I struggled to do the same for myself.
And, it has been you, our wonderful College of Charleston students, who have shown me what is my core belief that guides my daily life.
I believe in the positive power and in the goodness of College of Charleston students. You have shown time and time again your creativity, your resilience, your deep care and concern for others, and your ability to learn, to grow, and to make the changes our community needs. You travel abroad and you travel down the street to help others. You study, you question, you challenge. You bring joy to others. You matter and you make a difference.
Now, more than any other time in our lifetime, you have the opportunity to rise to the occasion. You have the opportunity to show that you, as a student body, can do things others are telling you can’t be done. Now more than ever, we need to put the needs of our greater community before some of the things we may want to do. In doing this, we can have an on-campus experience that lasts. And, while it may not be everything we hoped before the pandemic, it is movement forward. It is connection. It is new ways to engage in different settings.
Here are some things that are incredibly important for you to know:
- Please monitor your health and any possible COVID symptoms every day. Download the Everbridge app, which will send you daily reminders to do this. You should not go to anything in person if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- If you do have symptoms, please reach out to Student Health Services or use the access to MUSC’s Virtual Urgent Care platform that we provide for all students who are in South Carolina. And, let your faculty know you are not able to come to class in person.
- Review and commit to the Cougar Pledge. This was written by students and outlines the commitments needed from our community.
- You must wear face coverings when on campus in and outside our buildings. You must wear face coverings when in public in the Charleston area.
- You need to maintain 6 feet of social distance from others when engaging on campus and in the city.
- Wash your hands frequently.
- Any social gatherings held on or off campus need to be 10 people or fewer.
Now, an important note about our social gathering policy. As we continue to monitor best practices for keeping campuses safe, we have enhanced our response to violations of this policy. Effective Friday, August 28, 2020, students for whom we receive a credible report indicating a violation of this policy will receive an immediate interim suspension. Then, if found through the conduct process to be in violation of this policy, students will be suspended for the remainder of the semester. Students who are suspended from the College are not able to take classes or engage in any College-related services or activities. Please review the details of this updated policy here.
This is not a decision we make lightly. The severity of this response indicates the importance of your compliance with our policy. These policies are developed to keep our students safe, to keep our community safe, and to be able to direct our student health resources to students who most need them.
While navigating the parameters of this semester will be difficult, you, our College of Charleston students, can do hard things. You prove this every single day. And, you, our amazing students, can manage these changes and create the best experience possible.
I know this because I believe in you. As we navigate this pandemic together, think about what you believe. I can’t wait to hear your stories.
Alicia D. Caudill, Ph.D.
Executive Vice President for Student Affairs