Dear Rutgers University – Newark community partners,

As we all network from remote locations, I wanted to let you know that we have been thinking about you and the common trials our organizations are facing right now—and will continue to face for an indeterminate time. Even though we may be connecting with you only virtually, we miss being together with you, person to person, and long for the time when we will be able to shake hands, hug, and celebrate something—anything—together!

We at Rutgers-Newark remain open for business, which in these times means our faculty and staff are working even harder than usual—which, as we all know is the case with just about any form of remote work. All of our spring courses continue through remote instruction, which entails whatever means of communication are necessary to reach every student regardless of which side of the digital divide they fall on. Research continues as it can, but that is especially difficult when it is place bound. And while so much of the work of our staff from administrative offices to libraries to student support services is now being done remotely, we all remain supported by stalwart members of our community who maintain essential services on the ground to make the rest of what we do possible.

Like so many of you, we have had to suspend events. Having just announced that our summer session classes will proceed as an all-remote-instruction enterprise, we need to maintain that suspension of events through July. When circumstances allow, we will work closely with you to (re)book any events or programming you’d planned for our spaces, looking at dates that are feasible given what we know when that time comes.

Throughout all this, of course, we are striving to keep our students safe while helping them maintain their academic progress and stay on track to graduate. You know our students—they are your neighbors, friends, and family—so you know that they are among the hardest working people any of us know. They are on a mission to leverage their knowledge, experience, and identities to lift up our communities. You’ll find no better illustration of that than our students who recently presented at a Campus Compact New Jersey conference about the ways that their academic pursuits and commitments to community are intertwined.

Equally important—and, indeed, woven throughout—is our work as an anchor institution in partnership with you. Whether we’re cultivating new generations of Newark youth through pre-college programs, amplifying voices through the performing arts, paving pathways to re-entry, strengthening neighborhoods by making them safer and healthier in collaboration with residents, or strengthening our local economy through our Newark 2020 commitments, our work with you continues—and continues to defy traditional calculus because for us one plus one always equals at least three, if not more!

As hard as these days have been, and as much as we know that even more difficult ones lay ahead for us, that resilience inspires us to dig to the depths of our own capacities to make it through and see our community thrive once more. We will do that and we will do that together with you.

While it saddens us more than you know to be unable to engage with you at this moment as we usually do, we are all the more determined to make our mutual engagement even better when we are on the other side of this—including exploring new ways to collaborate as anchor institutions to take Newark to new heights. That, we can be certain, will be more important than ever.

As we look forward to that time, you will remain in our thoughts as we hope you and yours remain safe and healthy.


In solidarity,

Nancy Cantor

Rutgers University - Newark