The FSU Executive Committee sent the following remarks to its members on February 7, 2020.
We appreciate the clear information released over the past week by members of the administration and recognize the complexities of balancing the need for clear information against the affected student’s privacy rights and the constraints on communication placed on the university by a variety of government organizations. The FSU leadership is doing all it can to make sure the information we get is timely, clear, and accurate. We remind members that the most up to date information can be obtained by calling the hotline set up by the university at 617-287-5400 or checkinghttps://www.umb.edu/healthservices/alerts. More general information on the virus can be found at https://www.mass.gov/guides/information-on-the-outbreak-of-2019-novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov.
We also want to remind members that our contractual rights with respect to illness and absence are in no way altered in this moment (see Article 27.3.3 of the contract for more information on sick leave). If you have any questions about these rights, please contact us at 617-287-6295 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Along with these rights, we also—as educators and librarians—need to make sure that we are combatting the racism that often accompanies the appearance of novel diseases. Chinese people have been the target of disease-related racist hysteria since at least the 1880s, and we must all respond energetically to support any community members who are being targeted or feeling vulnerable in this moment. (See FSU member Paul Watanabe quoted on the issue herehttps://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/01/31/metro/fears-coronavirus-fuel-anti-chinese-racism/ and the good historical overview here https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/02/05/coronavirus-reawakens-old-racist-tropes-against-chinese-people/).
We wish you all a healthy start—in all ways—to the spring semester.
Jeff Melnick, Communications Director, on behalf of the FSU Executive Committee