Dear Nicholls Community,
It is not uncommon these days for university presidents to be asked, “what is your plan B for the fall semester?” My response is always the same, “In the fall we’re back on our campus.” The campus is our home. Just as we might move furniture or tear down the kitchen wall for an “open concept” in our homes, our campus environment might experience similar “renovations” to ensure our health and safety. For example, you might see a more open concept in classrooms, with fewer desks, campus housing with single occupancy rooms, event spaces on campus that are classrooms by day and social venues by evening. The campus will always be our home where we grow, learn, work, and create memories.
It is also not uncommon these days to have university presidents asked about budget cuts. I want to assure you that we have been good stewards of student tuition and state support and are not facing a crisis as a result of COVID-19. You are a part of the Nicholls family, and our family members will always come first. You are valuable to our family, and we will work diligently to act in everyone’s best interests.
Finally, it is not uncommon to hear conflicting stories about the stimulus package coming in the form of the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act). Nicholls State University will receive approximately $5 million, half of which must, and will, go directly to our students to cover unexpected financial hardships that they have endured and half to the university to cover unexpected expenses related to the crisis, a considerable portion of which passes through the university in the form of refunds for student pre-paid housing and dining plans. Just as we did with housing and dining refunds, we are working with the University of Louisiana System and our peer institutions to develop a plan to award the money within the federal guidelines. We expect to have a plan to share with the campus in the next few weeks.
Let us remember those lost during this pandemic, those fighting the virus in the hospital, and those at home recovering. Let us all stay on message to our family, friends, and community that we will be back home, on our campus, in the fall. Like any home, it will undergo some renovations, but those will be for the betterment of us all.
Be smart. Be safe. Be well.
Jay Clune, President
Nicholls State University
Louisiana’s Coastal University