(as prepared for delivery)
U-M is truly a global university, and I want to extend my support to the members of our community who are affected by the COVID-19 virus epidemic in China and beyond.
There are no reported cases of the virus on our campus or in the state of Michigan, but we know that many students, faculty and staff are worried about loved ones, especially those who may be living in countries where the virus has spread more rapidly.
Members of our community have also experienced various manifestations of xenophobia associated with the outbreak – which I wholeheartedly condemn. We’re a place of education, not discrimination, and this type of misguided fear and bigotry has no place at the University of Michigan.
We are working closely with public health officials at the local, state and national levels to monitor the spread of the virus, and our University Health Service is providing around the clock support for anyone needing it.
We’ve also sent out and posted online facts about the virus, and shared precautions and prevention measures recommended by our health professionals.
The simplest and most effective thing you can do to prevent the spread of this and many other similar viruses is to wash your hands frequently.
I thank Dr. Preeti Malani, our campus chief health officer, Dr. Rob Ernst who runs our University Health Service, our professionals in international education and everyone else who is working to keep our campus safe, not just in terms of health, but in providing support and comfort to those who are worried about their loved ones overseas.