June 26, 2020
Update from the President
Dear Wheeling University Family,
As preparations for the start of the Fall semester inch closer, COVID-19 has taught us we must be able to pivot and adapt our plans if changes become necessary. The success of reopening our campus will rest on the shared responsibility for each other’s health and safety. It is important to continue to follow social distancing guidelines and remain vigilant.
I am excited to announce that members of West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission unanimously voted today to re-authorize the University for the upcoming year. Each year, all colleges and universities in the state must be reauthorized by the HEPC in order to confer degrees. During a conference call with the HEPC this morning, Michael J. Farrell, Chairman of the Commission shared that Wheeling University is part of West Virginia and therefore they want our University to not only survive, but to be successful and thrive.
Recently, the United States Department of Education announced that colleges and universities could transfer any unused Federal Work Study funds into their Supplement Education Opportunity Grant to award Emergency Financial Aid Grants to students. This will allow students who were Federal Work Study eligible, and were not able to work due to COVID-19, to receive their full allotment of funds. The emergency grants can be awarded to students who were enrolled at Wheeling University last spring and meet all the requirements. Eligible residential students will receive a minimum of $217.10. We remain committed to assisting our students through the difficulties of the coronavirus pandemic.
On Monday June 22, workers from Savage Construction removed the cross from the chapel bell tower for restoration. Installed in 1984, the cross had been damaged by years of Ohio Valley weather and was in need of some attention. Currently, this campus treasure is being refurbished by our maintenance team. All of the wood that outlined the metal portion of the cross has been replaced. Rusted areas of the metal have been stripped off and primer has been applied. The final step will be applying several coats of new red paint and sealer to the cross. Once the work is completed, Savage Construction will be back to place the cross back atop the bell tower. I am pleased to share Charlie Savage of Savage Construction has graciously donated the equipment and labor for the project. We are grateful for his generosity and support of our beloved University. Watching the removal of the cross was truly a sight to behold. I encourage you to take a look at the video posted to Wheeling University’s Facebook page.
Soon, students will be contacted by the United States Census Bureau. I encourage all of our students to please take the time to answer the questions by the census workers when they reach out to you. Providing them your information has an impact on our state and local funding.
In the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd on May 25, on behalf of Wheeling University’s community, alumni and friends I ask you to join me in prayer and pledge that we will not tolerate fear, intimidation, racism, discrimination, bigotry, and injustice. It is in the spirit of this call to action that I announce the formation of a Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice. Although, we as a University take understandable pride in our racial diversity, we know from conversations with our students and alumni of color that we have work to do. We must be passionate about getting to the heart of the issue of racial justice and creating an open, welcoming environment for all students and employees. The mandate of the Presidential Task Force on Racial Justice is to conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the structures, policies, and cultural climate of WU and recommend concrete ways in which we can improve. I will be inviting the Task Force to look at such areas as curriculum, academic policies, student life, athletics, chapel, employment, alumni relations, recruitment and retention, and governance structures. The members of the Task Force will be announced soon, and you will be kept informed about their progress.
I have extended an offer to Dr. Jacqueline McGlade, Interim Vice President & Chief Academic Officer, to remain with us through the end of the year and she has graciously accepted. I am grateful for her commitment to rebuilding our University.
Since March, we have witnessed how working together has allowed us to achieve our goals. Thanks to the creativity, persistence and teamwork exhibited by the Wheeling University community, we have been able to accomplish so much. I am deeply grateful for everything you have done, and continue to do, to support our students and University.
Ginny R. Favede
President, Wheeling University