April 6, 2020
Together, we are facing the most devastating public health crisis since the Spanish flu a century ago. At IUPUI, we have acted quickly to protect the community: shifting to all-online instruction for the spring and summer, restricting university-sponsored travel, cancelling study abroad programs and bringing our students home, and cancelling or postponing events, including delaying our 2020 Commencement, among other actions. I am deeply grateful for all that IUPUI faculty and staff have done to make these changes so quickly for our students.
During this time, I have received many messages from students in trouble due to the COVID-19 crisis. A social work student wrote that her hours on the job had been cut drastically, and she didn't know where to turn. A biology student shared that he couldn't afford stable internet access and feared he would fail his classes. Another student works full time to pay for school, tested positive for COVID-19, and wasn't sure he could keep his job and stay enrolled. For each of these students we have provided options, but we have nearly 30,000 students.
As we move deeper into this crisis, our students will run out of options. Forty-one percent of our freshmen are low income students, and over a third have to work to support themselves. I know they are losing those jobs, and now many also face unexpected financial hardships and need assistance with basics like food and housing.
Here's how we can help. The IUPUI Student Emergency Relief Fund provides critical support to students who are facing financial devastation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. Processes already in place will ensure that funds flow rapidly to students in urgent need, especially in areas such as food and shelter, and we will stretch our resources as far as we can to help as many students as possible.
For those of you who are experiencing financial hardships of your own, I know that now is not the time to give.
If you can help, however, please consider donating whatever you are able to provide emergency support for IUPUI Jaguars who need it the most. Please see emergency student support options for IUPUI. You may have heard from IU President Michael McRobbie regarding this opportunity, and I reinforce his sentiments.
Niloo and I are making our gift today to support IUPUI students, and I invite you to join us if you can.
Thank you for your consideration and for all that you do for IUPUI.
Nasser H. Paydar