Schapiro writes on NU community’s “resilience and empathy” during COVID-19 pandemic in Tribune column


Daily file photo by Evan-Robinson Johnson

University President Morton Schapiro. He wrote a column in Wednesday’s Chicago Tribune about the adversity faced in the handling of Northwestern’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Isabelle Sarraf, Assistant Campus Editor

COVID-19 News

In a Chicago Tribune column, University President Morton Schapiro described the “scramble” among college administrators to keep his community safe while also “protecting our educational values.”

The piece serves to explain and clarify Northwestern’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the responses Schapiro has directly received about his handling of the situation.

About a week ago, Schapiro announced that Spring Break would be extended by one week and Spring Quarter classes will be held remotely for at least three weeks due to growing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Since then, there have been at least five confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Northwestern’s Evanston campus.

Schapiro wrote in his column that he received over 400 replies to this announcement. While some responses were from community members who “transferred their anger with the situation to me and the rest of our administration,” he said most of the replies were “heartening.”

“Are there lessons to be learned? I think so,” Schapiro wrote. “When you are in a crisis, you need to model resilience and empathy. We will all be remembered for how we handled adversity, and sought to protect others.”

Schapiro continued in his column to amplify the voices in Northwestern’s community that have shared respect and kindness in light of the circumstances. He said he was “literally brought to tears” by the sensitivity, honesty and generosity of NU students.

He concluded his column on a hopeful note, writing that “sometimes it takes a crisis to remind you of the basic goodness of humanity.”

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Twitter: @isabellesarraf

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