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A great fall semester is up to you

Aug. 21, 2020

Augustana students,

I’ve invited my Cabinet to join me in sending this letter because they have helped lead the effort on campus to prepare for your arrival.

Like me, they have been disheartened to see images and videos of students from other colleges neglecting to follow the protocols in place for safety.

In some circumstances, this poor behavior of students has quickly forced universities to alter their plans and stop all activities on campus. It has saddened us to see this happen elsewhere, and we do not want it to happen at Augustana College.

You’ve seen the hashtag #vikingstakecare throughout the summer as we’ve communicated with you about what we’ve been doing to prepare for your return. We’ve invested $1.5 million in preparing campus to ensure that your education continues uninterrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. We expect students to take care of themselves — and look out for others — by taking all necessary precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.

While we understand that it’s impossible to prevent all occurrences of the virus at Augustana, we do know (and so do you) what is required of us to help ensure an uncontrollable outbreak does not require the campus to close and move to remote learning.

Augustana students expect a lot of themselves, and we expect more from you than we’ve seen at other colleges and universities. The consequences of doing anything other than the right thing (wearing a mask, distancing, washing your hands, not touching your eyes, and complying with all health monitoring recommendations) could impact students, staff and faculty.

Your actions can result in someone else’s health crisis, and your actions will have a direct impact on Augustana’s ability to offer lively, engaged learning experiences on-campus.

While there will be new consequences and strict enforcement of violations of the community norms identified by the Augustana Strong Task Force and recommended by public health officials, we’d much rather appeal to your ethical compass, your empathy and your social responsibility in making sure that Augustana College students can live and learn on campus.

We can do this. You can do this. We, as a community, can embody the sentiments expressed in #vikingstakecare.


Steve Bahls, president
W. Kent Barnds, executive vice president, external relations
Dr. Wendy Hilton-Morrow, provost
Dr. Wes Brooks, dean of students
Dr. Monica Smith, vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion
Kirk Anderson, chief financial officer
Sheri Curran, general counsel
Keri Rursch, assistant vice president, communication