A message to our finance and administration community

To our Finance and Administration Community,

I hope this message finds you healthy and safe.  I find myself almost starting to adjust to this “new normal” brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Perhaps you do, too, or perhaps not yet?  It’s difficult for me to believe we’re almost a month into this crisis, and somehow it also feels like we’ve already been at it for much longer than that.

We’ve all had to turn on a dime, make many tough decisions, and make significant sacrifices, personal and professional. This situation is very difficult at best.  At worst, it threatens both our physical and mental health.  Like me, many of you have probably felt whipsawed by ever-changing news, predictions, and problems.  Let’s acknowledge the frustration, anxiety, and fear that we’re all dealing with. Candidly, this sucks.

While our day-to-day routines may look quite different, it’s important to remember that we are all going through this together. Some of us are still reporting to campus to maintain essential functions, work critical to supporting our academic and research missions. Others of us are doing our part from converted dining room tables, or from couches by the TV, working at home to reduce the threat from the pandemic. Still others of us are unable to perform some or all of our duties remotely and are adjusting to a life temporarily disrupted. I’m sure most of us are missing our colleagues. I hope you’re finding ways to take care of yourself, and your family and friends in any case.

To each of you, however you’re getting through this, I want to say a sincere thank you. Your efforts and the challenges you’re facing have not gone unnoticed. I encourage you to keep up the good work, acknowledge that nothing about this is perfect, and take things one day at a time. This situation will continue to call for all our reserves of patience, bravery, resiliency, and compassion.

I hope that you, like me, find some comfort in the collaborative community spirit that has been on display everywhere you look these past few weeks. I have been continually impressed by folks coming together to get things done despite the many unprecedented challenges. This is just one of many reasons we have to remain hopeful.  Our community can and will continue to rise to this challenge.  We will get through it together.

I am working closely with other leaders on campus to make sure that our response to the pandemic is informed, thoughtful, and mindful of your well-being.  We all want certainty and answers, but unfortunately, it’s my job to tell you truthfully that we don’t have these yet.

In the meantime, let’s continue to look out for each other, particularly those who may be feeling the impact of these changes harder than most. I ask that you check in (remotely for now, please!) with your colleagues and friends, follow public health guidelines to help beat this virus, and to be especially kind to one another in these trying times. Remember our EID Principles.  This virus does not discriminate, but it has had disparate impacts for some groups.  We do not discriminate either and stand in solidarity with all members of our community who have been touched by the pandemic.

I am humbled and grateful for the opportunity to do this work alongside you, and more so now than ever.  Thank you for all you do.

Sincerely,

Laurent Heller
Vice Chancellor for Finance & Administration