Peter Hans has finally broken his silence after UNC-Chapel Hill announced remote-only instruction for the rest of the semester on Monday, and NC State University decided to follow suit Thursday afternoon.
In a classic pass-the-buck move, Hans said handfuls of students were the reason two UNC System schools had to close after one week of classes.
“Over the spring and summer every institution prepared for the fall semester under the guidance of well-known public health officials,” Hans said in a statement. “The planning reflected the fact that each university in the system is different—with diverse student populations, geographical locations, and varied social cultures. This hard work is being undermined by a very small number of students behaving irresponsibly off campus, which unfairly punishes the vast majority of their classmates who are following the rules.”
Hans, who took over as president August 1, says he has worked with chancellors to “make adjustments based on local health conditions.”
He did not mention that the Orange County Health Department told the university administration that they should hold remote classes for at least the first five weeks of the school year and asked the administration to limit the students living on campus, which university administration hid from the public because they were confused by the term “recommendation to consider.”.
Hans also didn’t mention that Vice-Chancellor and Provost Bob Blouin told the Executive Faculty Committee Monday afternoon that the university’s roadmap was dated, saying it was created when they expected there would be a low number of cases and high availability of testing.
He also didn’t mention that UNC-Chapel Hill’s summer planning failed to include the Office of Diversity and Inclusion.
Hans and UNC-CH Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz must have the same PR coach. Guskiewicz spoke to WRAL Monday after the school announced its closure, saying he was “surprised” by how quickly a highly contagious virus can spread, even though he has two college-aged sons.
“When activities began to happen off-campus and then bring some of that back into the residence halls, that’s when we began to see the positive cases,” he told the news station. He also said he felt bad for students that did abide by community standards.
He did not mention that three of the dorms with confirmed clusters were built in the 1960s and made to fit 600-900 students.
Guskiewicz’s definition of “off-campus activities” is most likely parties at fraternity houses and off-campus rentals, since there were two of the university-confirmed clusters are at fraternity houses, and sorority members have been seen heading out to parties.
He did not mention that Greek organizations were not given strict guidelines until the end of July, despite town councilmembers, faculty, staff, and students repeatedly asking about it.
Neither mentioned that students are getting tested off campus out of fear of retaliation or shaming from the schools, according to several anonymous stories from students.
Neither mentioned that research has shown that the prefrontal and frontal cortexes of the brain—the ones that control your impulses—aren’t developed fully until your mid-to-late 20s.
Nor, clearly, had they read the Op-Ed in The Atlantic, written by an epidemiologist and a psychiatrist, titled, “Colleges Are Getting Ready to Blame Their Students.”
These things were apparent to students weeks ago. Students told the INDY in July that they felt certain UNC-Chapel Hill’s administration and the greater UNC System administration would blame students for the shortcomings of the people whose job it is to lead the university.
“When we go remote, the conversation is not, ‘We made a mistake by reopening campus,'” UNC masters student Jalyn Howard told the INDY in July. “The conversation is, ‘We reopened the campus. We did so in the most appropriate way that we attempted to. We did so according to public health guidelines, and the reason why this failed, the reason why people die, is not because of the decision to return.
“It is because students, faculty, staff, and community members did not adhere to community standards.” Howard continued. “That at the end of the day is the story that they are going to sell us.”
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