April 21, 2020
Dear University of Arkansas System students, faculty and staff:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the administration of the University of Arkansas System, we are writing to give you an update on the ongoing efforts of the Board and the system to provide support to students and employees during this challenging time.
As you know, the UA System has done its part to slow the spread of the virus by moving classes online, encouraging remote work for employees and utilizing social distancing for those few students, faculty and staff who remain on our campuses. While we know these transitions have been challenging and at times frustrating, the health and safety of our campus communities are our No. 1 priority during this public health crisis. We sincerely appreciate your patience and cooperation, and we are grateful to our Chancellors and campus leaders for their tireless work during these stressful times.
The Board of Trustees has committed to virtual meetings every three weeks, or as needed, to address the issues that have arisen from this pandemic. This commitment by the trustees underscores how important they feel it is for the Board to act in a decisive and timely manner on matters affecting our students and institutions.
On April 8, the Board met and approved five resolutions to provide flexibility and support to students. These resolutions include maintaining flat tuition and fees for the fall semester; providing credits or adjustments for room and board costs at institutions where student housing closed; moving summer term courses to online-only; canceling in-person summer athletic and academic camps; and providing flexibility to institutions to modify admissions requirements to remove entrance obstacles for new students this fall. Text of the resolutions is available on the UA System website. The Board is keenly aware of the health and economic challenges this pandemic has presented to students and their families, and to faculty and staff across the UA System. Future meetings will continue to focus on removing as many barriers as possible for students to progress toward the goal of earning a degree and planning for the fall term.
Finally, we want to thank all of our institutions for their efforts beyond the boundaries of their individual campuses to help our state fight the COVID-19 pandemic. First, we must single out all of the employees of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. From the emergency room physicians, nurses and other clinicians to the hospital administration, clerical staff and custodial team, every employee of UAMS has played a critical role in responding to the pandemic. Beyond UAMS, we have heard countless stories of actions taken across our institutions to support the medical community that is on the front lines of this crisis. From making face masks to donating extra supplies of personal protective equipment, the institutions across the UA System have stepped up in big ways, and we appreciate all who have participated.
We know that our state and country will bounce back from this difficult time and that the UA System will continue its key mission to advance the intellectual capital and economic development of Arkansas and its citizens. We look forward to a day when we can gather again in classrooms, dorm rooms and dining halls and for those events such as commencements and athletic contests that are critical to our traditional college experience.
Until that time, we wish the very best for you and your families.
John Goodson, Chairman
Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas
Donald R. Bobbitt, Ph.D., UA System President
Charles E. Scharlau Presidential Leadership Chair