May 19, 2020: Governor’s Report on Reopening Colleges and Universities

From: Michael S. Roth and Nicole Stanton

Subject: Governor’s Report on Reopening Colleges and Universities

To the Wesleyan community,

As you may know, Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont has announced a plan for a phased reopening of some Connecticut businesses and offices, which would include some university research labs, for Wednesday, May 20.

Wesleyan is making plans for faculty and staff to return to work including reopening research labs in accordance with state guidelines. We expect this to occur in phases, beginning with a resumption of research activities by some faculty and graduate students, followed later by a return to campus of undergraduate student researchers living in Connecticut who don’t require University housing. Undergraduates already remaining in campus housing are also permitted to participate in the first phase of research activities. The precise dates of these phases have not yet been determined. Detailed information regarding research labs reopening is forthcoming from Joe Knee, dean of Division III.

Faculty and staff who are currently working from home should continue to do so. Access to some buildings remain restricted until the University can ensure compliance with the State’s guidelines including cleaning, signage and furniture spacing. Additional information about offices and departments is forthcoming…

May 6, 2020: Commencement Update

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Commencement Update

Dear friends,

I begin by saying (again) how impressed I am, though not surprised, by how Wesleyan has stepped up in the face of current challenges. Ours is a strong and caring community indeed. 

Every year we celebrate Wesleyan as an empowering community when we confer degrees upon graduating seniors. This year, at noon onSunday, May 24, the Commencement ceremony will be (as it must) virtual. We have arranged for the honorary degree recipients and our student speaker to deliver their remarks in a series of pre-recorded videos. My remarks and the conferral of degrees will be live…

May 1, 2020: Campus Update

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Campus Update

Dear students,

I hope that you are staying safe and healthy in these challenging times. I write today to share our current thinking on the fall semester and our response to COVID-19.

I want you to know that while we are planning for a number of different scenarios, we remain hopeful that we will return to the full residential experience that we treasure so much this fall. Of course, the welfare of our students, faculty and staff is paramount, and Wesleyan will not resume normal operations until all proper public health precautions have been taken. These include building capacity to test people who study or work on campus, provide supportive isolation to those who fall ill, and minimize opportunities for the spread of any illnesses. 

We are working hard on this now and, rest assured, we will do our utmost to make our campus safe. That said, there are many uncertainties, some of which should be resolved in the next two months or so. For this reason, we will update you all in early June and expect to make a decision about a residential fall term in early July. We hope it will be a traditional semester, but we also expect to offer robust remote alternatives, should they be helpful for some students. When we announce our decision about fall offerings, it will be crucial for our planning to hear quickly from you—within two weeks of our announcement—if  you intend to ask for a leave for any part of the academic year…

April 29, 2020: Zoom Forum with President Roth for International Students

From: Michael S. Roth and Rob Rosenthal
Subject: Zoom Forum with President Roth for International Students

Dear international students,

Greetings from Middletown. Wherever you are in the world, we hope that this finds you safe and well.

First, we’d like to invite you to join us for a Zoom forum on Friday, May 1 at 11 a.m. Eastern time (see Time Zone Converter), where any questions you have will be addressed. Please feel free to email questions in advance to

This is a time of great stress and uncertainty for everyone, but we know that as international students, you may be dealing with distinct challenges—whether it’s being separated from loved ones due to travel restrictions, trying to keep up with online learning from a different time zone or, for seniors, seeking employment in the U.S. and around the world. We understand that tensions between the United States and other countries might also increase anxiety and uncertainty.

All of this is a lot for anyone to handle, and we encourage you to reach out and seek support. There are many people here at Wesleyan who stand ready to help you, whether you remain on campus or are currently elsewhere in the world…

April 24, 2020: Enrollment Update from Wesleyan University

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Enrollment Update from Wesleyan University

Dear student and family,

Congratulations again on your admission to Wesleyan University!  I hope that during these trying times your family is staying safe and healthy. Whether you have already committed to Wesleyan or are still weighing options, I would like to share some updates on how Wesleyan is responding to COVID-19.

Enrollment and Potential Deferrals
Students around the country are wondering whether campuses will be open in the fall. At Wesleyan – as at most residential schools in New England – the hope is to have a full, residential academic year. Of course, the welfare of our students, faculty and staff is of paramount importance, and Wesleyan will not resume normal operations until all proper public health precautions have been taken. These include building capacity to test people who study or work on campus, provide supportive isolation to those who fall ill, and minimize opportunities for the spread of any illnesses. In the event we are unable to resume our residential educational experience in the fall or your student is unable to travel to campus due to COVID-19 related issues, we will automatically grant a deferral of enrollment until the spring. That said, we are earnestly preparing now to provide a safe, robust and holistic education to our students this fall.

In the unfortunate event that campus is not open in fall, we will offer accepted students the option of enrolling in the spring semester (granted automatically) or in the fall 2021 (by request).  Those students choosing not matriculate at either of those times would have their places at Wesleyan offered to other deserving students. Like any student taking extended time off, they will be asked to reapply should they wish to join a Wesleyan class in the future… 

April 16, 2020: Financial Impact of COVID-19

From: “Michael S. Roth”
Subject: Financial Impact of COVID-19

I write to you today with deep pride and gratitude for all you have accomplished these past tumultuous weeks. Students have shown patience and resilience in the face of unprecedented disruption. Faculty and our ITS department have worked tirelessly to create a robust digital experience at a moment’s notice. Staff have ably transitioned to remote working environments while juggling multiple priorities, doing so with great admiration for colleagues in Residence Life, Health Services, CAPS, dining services, facilities and public safety still working on campus …

April 2, 2020: Message on Commencement

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Message on Commencement

Dear friends,

Although I’d been delaying this decision in hopes that we might still have an opportunity to gather together in late May, I’m writing now to let you know that we will have to find another time and place to celebrate the 2020 graduation. There is so much uncertainty about what the next few months will hold, and we don’t think it is responsible to plan to bring a large group together on Andrus Field in May.

I know this will be greatly disappointing for many, particularly for…

March 11, 2020: Suspension of in-person classes due to coronavirus/COVID-19

From: Michael S. Roth
Subject: Suspension of in-person classes due to coronavirus/COVID-19

Dear friends,

This is a message I was hoping not to have to write.

With the CDC today reporting nearly 1,000 known cases of COVID-19 nationwide (having doubled since Monday) and Governor Ned Lamont declaring a public health emergency in Connecticut, it has become clear just how rapidly this potentially deadly virus is spreading. As hard as we work to make the on-campus Wesleyan experience the best it can be, we must apply that same diligence and care to protecting our community’s well-being in light of this growing threat.

After consulting with a variety of public health experts and other higher education institutions around the country, we…