With great joy and anticipation, I welcome you to a new academic year at WashU! As I’ve walked the Danforth Campus over the past week, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many of our new students, families, faculty, and staff. It’s such a pleasure to have you here.
Based on current levels of transmission in St. Louis and in consultation with our team of medical advisors, we plan to take the following steps for fall.
While acknowledging that this is a painful moment for many in our society as we grapple with serious moral, philosophical, and deeply personal issues, at the same time we must keep our focus squarely on the mission of the university — research, education, and patient care.
We’re writing with heavy hearts to share the news that one of our students has died. We are offering our full support to her family and those who were close to her, and wanted you to be aware of this devastating loss.
Orli was a bright light. Her gift of composing her ideas into thoughtful and persuasive prose challenged us each to be better and do better.
With great sadness, we’re writing to inform you of the death of one of our students. Our community is strong, but heartbreaking events like this are certainly a test of our resilience.
In December, we wrote to you about a despicable act of vandalism on our campus. The investigation is continuing, but we wanted to provide our campus community with an update at this time on the status of the investigation and the mural itself.
While we may celebrate every January, I know that so many of the people at Washington University and in our St. Louis region pursue Dr. King’s dream 365 days a year by working to advance equality, equity, justice, rest, and joy for Black people, and as Dr. King spoke, for “all God’s children.”
I am so proud of how you care for one another, even while pursuing your own academic and professional goals. Washington University is special in this regard. Let’s continue to prioritize our community’s health and success in the new year.
Late last night we became aware of a despicable act of vandalism on the Danforth Campus. A small group of unknown individuals defaced portions of the beautiful “The Story That Never Ends” mural in the South 40 underpass, painting over the faces of prominent Black figures and adding the name and symbol of a known white supremacist group. This is horrifying and distressing. We’re shocked and saddened by this hateful act on our campus.
Students, colleagues, and friends, I hope you follow my lead and show gratitude through rest and play this Thanksgiving. I am so incredibly grateful for you – not just what you accomplish, but all of what makes you who you are. Let’s celebrate that.
The free exchange of ideas is central to a vibrant university. It is a hallmark of our academic community, and it is imperative that everyone here is able to express their views in a respectful environment. Students have the right to express their viewpoints, but they also have the obligation to respect others’ expressions.
Welcome to a new academic year at WashU! Some of you are just starting your journey here; to others, welcome back. And to those of you who never left, particularly our colleagues on the Medical Campus, thank you.
Here at WashU, we have a long history of incredibly robust and diverse religious and cultural communities on campus – Hillel being one of them. We pride ourselves on being a place that is open and inclusive of a diversity of religious thought, beliefs, practices, and expressions.
I acknowledge that each of you has unique plans for this summer. Whether you are returning home, staying here in St. Louis, working, or taking time off — I trust that you can take moments to rest and reflect on the many ways you contribute to this distinctive community.
Words can only do so much to ease the stress and heartache that many of you are feeling. But I do want to take this opportunity to offer my support and remind you that, as a university community, we stand in solidarity with all who are hurting, and we are here for one another, especially in these trying times.
Friends and colleagues, while today we take time to mourn, tomorrow we must continue on our journey forward — together. While the path ahead might still be long, let us use this moment of grief to recommit ourselves to the work ahead and using this community to model for others what the journey toward greater understanding, equity, and inclusion can look like.
I am writing today to share the good news that, due to the hard work of our entire university community and our improved financial outlook, the Board of Trustees has given approval to resume our salary merit increase program for faculty and staff. We will begin moving forward with this process immediately, with increases going into effect on April 1 for the 2021-22 fiscal year.
Indeed, while change is inevitable, the values guiding our decision making and the norms by which we engage in civil discourse remain the same. This semester, may we continue to lift up these values and norms as we work — both individually and collectively — to become the very best versions of ourselves and as we advance our mission to improve lives in service of the greater good.
Democracy is the cornerstone of American society. It is the most fundamental, consequential, and enduring principle of our nation’s history and identity. The events taking place at the U.S. Capitol are unacceptable on every level and represent a threat to our nation. I am shaken and heartbroken. In politics, there will be disagreement. But violence is never the answer.
No matter your circumstances this winter, I truly hope you can take time to reflect on the value you add here at Washington University, throughout the St. Louis region, across the country, and around the world. Even though the holidays look a little different this year, please know that there is one important constant — and that is how grateful I continue to be for you and for this community.
Since June, we have made significant headway toward advancing our goals to address racial inequity at Washington University and in the St. Louis region.
While these things might be true, let us find ways to remain in faith. May we find faith in one another. Faith in this community. Faith in our region. Faith in our healthcare workers. And faith that justice will inevitably prevail.
It is our distinct pleasure to share with you the outstanding news that Charles M. Rice, PhD, a renowned virologist who conducted his seminal work while on the faculty of the School of Medicine, is one of three scientists who received the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine earlier today. Rice becomes the 19th Nobel laureate associated with the School of Medicine, and the 25th from Washington University.
No matter where you are and what your role is — you are every bit a member of this community, and we will navigate this uncharted territory together as the distinctive community that has defined Washington University since our founding in 1853. This is my promise to you, and even despite our current circumstances, I look forward to seeing all the ways we will persevere, building on the incredible momentum we already have in place as we pursue our mission to improve lives in service of the greater good.
The passage of Amendment 2 is a tremendous victory for a quarter-million Missourians who no longer have to live in fear of getting sick or hurt because they will now have healthcare coverage when they need it.
Your vote tomorrow could help nearly a quarter-million vulnerable Missourians gain access to healthcare and, in the process, bring more than a billion dollars of our tax dollars home each year. A simple step, a vast reward for Missouri.
As the leaders of two of this region’s major research universities, we cannot sit idly by as the August 4 election draws near and not speak to a critical opportunity in front of us. It is time to act and expand Medicaid.
Let us be clear. We are strongly opposed to this change in policy, and to any and all actions that would undermine the ability of international students to come to the U.S., or remain in the country to pursue their research and scholarship.
We believe strongly in this campaign because of its potential to expand access to health care for Missouri residents who desperately need it.
This is the right move for our economy, especially at a time when even more people will be out of work and needing assistance. But it is also a critical step in our too-long journey toward a more just society.
Our path forward includes challenges that we wholeheartedly embrace. To get this right in the long run requires time for thoughtful consultation and planning. The kind of enduring transformation that is called for and necessary here will require each of us to play a vital role, and it is critically important that we do this work together – establishing a clear vision of an equitable future, identifying the specific steps we need to take, and holding ourselves accountable to our commitments.
Dear Washington University community, Racism in all forms – particularly police violence toward Black people – is a plague on our society and we must all continue to listen, engage in self-reflection, and commit to doing real work if we hope to make progress and enact meaningful, systemic change. Along with other university leaders, I […]
As Chancellor, I can promise you that we will do our best to ring George Floyd’s name as loudly as we possibly can to ensure the arc bends toward justice. And we will not stop ringing until justice wins.
The ongoing racial violence that we are witnessing against people of color is nothing short of devastating. As a community, we are united in our commitment to justice and racial equity.
Greetings from campus, and thanks for inviting me to join you as you celebrate another year as McDonnell International Scholars. I’m sorry I’m unable to attend in person, though I still wanted the chance to share my congratulations and best wishes. First, congratulations on finishing up this unprecedented spring semester with your heads held high. […]
Today, we are carrying this ethos of civic duty forward as we do our part to flatten the curve, slow the spread of COVID-19, and deliver world-renowned education, research, and patient care for the sake of our community, the nation, and the world.
That’s what days like today and tomorrow are all about, as we use this opportunity to listen, learn, and reflect on our past as we use our collective voices to make way for the future. This is not only paramount for us as a community that values diversity, equity, and inclusion, but also as we double down on our role, impact, and connection “In St. Louis and For St. Louis.”
This is the kind of place I aspire for us to be — not because it’s good for appearances or it’s good for politics. But simply because it’s the right thing to do. Once again, as Dr. King said, “The time is always right to do what is right.”
As we begin the spring semester and settle back into our regular routines, I want to take the opportunity to share with you some important updates about our ongoing commitment to improving safety and security around our campuses.
Undoubtedly, your time here was worth far more than any Google search could ever provide — a tangible response to the popular search “Why is education important?” While studying at Washington University, you gained knowledge, understanding, tools, experiences, and relationships that have immense promise to change the world. And now that this particular chapter is ending, it is our greatest hope that you leave this place feeling ready and prepared to continue your passionate and noble search for knowledge and truth.
Missouri is facing a health-care crisis. Far too many residents in our state cannot get needed medical care because they lack health insurance. This is why Washington University is backing the Healthcare for Missouri initiative – an effort to expand the state’s Medicaid program to cover more Missourians.
Today, we are issuing a public appeal to our state legislators to make sensible changes to Missouri state law that will grant to local governments the ability to establish stricter gun safety requirements within their municipal and county boundaries.
I view my role as your 15th Chancellor to increase our momentum and help build the bridges to our shared future — the future of this institution, the future of St. Louis, the future of this country, and the future of the world.
Here at Washington University, we are immensely proud that we have continued to carry the Olympic torch throughout our history to the present moment. The renaming of Francis Olympic Field truly solidifies our commitment to these values, and I’m confident we’ll continue to embody the Olympic movement and spirit with us well into the future.
Earlier this week, I expressed my determination to address safety concerns that have intensified following a recent spike in criminal activity in neighborhoods near the Danforth Campus. I now am reaching out to share with you specific steps we are taking in the short-, mid-, and longer-term.
I wanted to reach out to let you know that I am concerned and determined to take action. Nothing is more important to me than the safety and well-being of our university community.
The student experience is a paramount facet of that mission as well as an area that continues to evolve with the changing landscape of higher education. To that end, and effective immediately, Dr. Lori White, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, will report directly to me moving forward.
You now join a long line of individuals who have come before you and who have been deeply committed to the same values and principles. As both Chancellor of Washington University and as an alumnus, I am both proud and honored that you represent our robust legacy and the extraordinary history of some of the world’s greatest thinkers, educators, inventors, innovators, advocates, and leaders. With this comes great responsibility as you carry on the nearly 170-year legacy of distinction.
On July 1, 2021, we will be increasing the minimum hourly wage to $15/hour for regular employees and basic service contractors at Washington University in St. Louis. We will transition to this level with increases in 2019 and 2020.