March 19, 2021

Dear Students,

In my letter last week, I wrote on the power of community and the amazing impact we can have when we work together. I meant every word of what I wrote and wholly believe that we are better when we care for and respect one another. Our community thrives when we see and honor what makes us great.

As a community, we also need to show up for and affirm others when they are the targets of hatred and violence. Sadly, the national rise in racial violence against the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) community, as well as the horrific and murderous attacks in Atlanta this week, are heinous examples of how hatred remains a chronic problem in our society. To our APIDA community: we know you are hurting and directly affected by racism and these numerous violent acts. We see you, we value you, and we are here for you.

In a message shared by President Fuchs today, he encouraged our entire university community to take a stance against racism. Please know there is never a place for hatred or violence against anyone, and it exists in opposition to who we should continually strive to be as a global nation.

We cannot be indifferent when members of our communities are hurting. We all can play a role in eradicating intolerance. Our identities —including race, gender expression and identity, ethnicity, and religion, to name a few —are not deficits, but dividends of who we are. It is critical we advocate for our collective humanity, care for one another, and continue important action to challenge and end violence, malicious stereotyping, and racism.

As a reminder to all students, we know that you are, as always, heavily amid your studies, but certainly not untouched by the world and events around you. If needed, we hope you will reach out to a trusted member of your support system or our team at the Counseling and Wellness Center for support.

As the semester begins to wind down, we are working hard to prepare for the next several academic terms. Today, Provost Glover shared with faculty and staff that the university plans to return to a regular course offering for Summer B and Fall semesters under the continued guidance of UF Health epidemiologists. That means students who want to take face-to-face courses in a classroom with a professor will be able to do so. A regular selection of online courses will also continue to be available.

This decision is based on the favorable progress in vaccinations and continued declines in positive cases on campus, in our community and elsewhere. Summer A and C semesters will be conducted in the same way as the Spring semester – with physical distancing, reduced classroom capacities and hybrid classes – a combination of in-person and synchronous online instruction.

We continue to center your voices and needs in our efforts, Gators. Next week, on Wednesday, March 24, we are excited to bring you more ways to take a pause with the second Gator Recharge Day. In partnership with Student Government, these Recharge Days were created to promote holistic wellness and allow you to have fun, rest, and renew your energy. We have encouraged academic courses, exams, or labs on those days to be limited, where possible. From food trucks and a movie viewing featuring a virtual conversation with Tiffany Haddish, and onward to free t-shirts and a silent disco in the Swamp, we will offer a wide range of events from sunrise to sunset across campus to provide you many opportunities to engage. If you have academic requirements during Recharge Days, please know that we hope you will stop by as your schedule allows. I urge you to explore the opportunities that await via the full list of physically distant events available online.

We are five weeks from the end of the semester. Let’s keep wearing masks and finish this semester strong.

Sending you my best, Gators.

Dr. D’Andra Mull
Vice President for Student Affairs

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