The Choice Is Yours Friday, August 21, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.

To all Jacksonville University students:

Congratulations on a safe and successful first week of classes. Thanks to each of you for doing your part to keep yourself and others healthy as we return to campus and resume in-person instruction. Now, you each have a clear choice to make. Our ability to fully experience this University on campus for the rest of the semester is up to you.

I’m sure many of you have seen the widespread postings this week from other universities across the country that have been forced to return to 100% online instruction because of rampant COVID-19 cases on their campuses. You may have seen the photos and videos of college students at bars and parties. I have. No masks, no social distancing, and no respect for the campus community around them.

I believe you are better than that. I believe our Dolphin family exhibits a greater level of care and respect for the community we’ve built together. Working with your faculty, we have invested heavily in this campus, in your health and your future over the past five months. Now we need you to invest in yourselves.

To make sure you understand what’s at stake, I will be very clear about the expectations of every member of this campus as we head into the first weekend of the semester. Our expectation is that you will not attend gatherings of more than 10 people and that you will continue wearing masks and social distancing in your free time. This means you should not attend large parties. If you do, we will consider this a violation of the University’s Code of Conduct and a failure to respect the policies we’ve established to keep our campus safe this fall. The Dean of Students and I will take swift and decisive action against anyone who recklessly ignores our safety policies and puts others at risk. Violators will be asked to leave campus for two weeks and continue their studies entirely online during that time period.

On your behalf, our university has put all of its efforts and expertise to work, all summer, to bring you back safely and to ensure we can offer you as much in-person instruction as possible. If you want to stay, make good choices. Cause others to do the same. Think about everyone around you -- your classmates and professors. Do it for them, their health and future. And do it for yourself - your safety and a full college experience. It only takes one poor decision, one party, one careless night to sharply change the course of this semester for all of us. Is that a risk worth taking? Are you willing to be the person responsible for sending everyone home to complete the semester online?

We need to make smart and serious near-term decisions, together, to create the exact longer-term future we all want. We need you onboard. Let’s commit to keeping each other safe. Let’s make our campus the blueprint for how to continue living and learning together in a post-COVID world.


Tim Cost ’81, President


This email was then forwarded to faculty, staff, and adjuncts by the President with this addition:

Sharing the message I just sent to all students regarding our expectations for the fall semester. As leaders on this campus, let's lead by example. These same expectations are extended to faculty, staff and administration. Thank you for all of the hard work and dedication that has well positioned us for a successful, in-person fall semester. Let's stay committed to keeping our campus safe and healthy.