April 1, 2020

Blue Hens,

I hope that this letter finds you healthy and settling into what is certainly an unbelievable new normal. While this is a challenging time, it is also encouraging that so many of you have stepped up to support and care for one another. I am so proud of the strong Blue Hen spirit that I see every day as we all navigate a spring semester that is quite different from what we had planned. I want to assure you that we’re here for you and have resources to help you manage this situation.

We know from communicating with many of you that this is a particularly emotional and fragile time. There are good reasons for that, so I would encourage you to give yourself space to affirm your experiences and emotions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, it is a sense of loss  For others, it may be the anxiety associated with transitioning to remote learning or balancing your academic pursuits while caring for ill family members.

Sadly, for others, it is the victimization experienced because of bias throughout the world, our nation, and yes, even our UD community. I am deeply saddened and disappointed that students in our Asian, Pacific-Islander, and Desi-American (APIDA) communities experienced outright racism and xenophobia before leaving campus. At the highest levels, the University administration condemns this behavior and language, and we stand behind our students who identify within the APIDA community.  

However you are feeling these days, I encourage you to reach out and stay connected. It is through our community that we can seek support and affirmation for our experiences. We continue to be here for you. We encourage all of our students to thoughtfully engage with one another and offer support, even from a distance.

Please know that you will be able to access all of the resources, support, services, and many engagement opportunities provided by the Division of Student Life virtually throughout the Spring Semester. We have launched a new Student Life Virtual Hub to help you explore and access current campus opportunities.  These Student Life resources are organized into five areas:

  • Career Readiness
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Engagement 
  • Support
  • Wellbeing 

As the semester restarts, take some time to explore these resources and return frequently to the Student Life Virtual Hub as offerings will be added. 

Students experiencing a financial crisis or otherwise struggling with access to housing, food, internet, or other basic needs should begin with the Support section of the Hub to connect with assistance. You will find important information there to help you personally and academically, including links to Disability Support Services and the Office of the Dean of Students.  Opportunities to seek support for specific issues like anxiety, reporting bias, or mental health needs are also available.

As you delve back into your studies, the rest of the Virtual Hub will help you enhance your UD experience with connections to staff, support services, and new online engagement opportunities. Also be sure to check UD events for other virtual opportunities.

While the coronavirus situation has been challenging, please know that our staff is available if you’d like to talk with someone. As a member of the Blue Hen family, you are not alone. Let us know how we can help you. This is a period in our history that necessitates support, compassion and empathy to all, and each of us has the power to extend this spirit of unity to one another.

We look forward to connecting with you and wish you a strong finish to your academic year.


José-Luis Riera
Vice President for Student Life

University of Delaware   •   Newark, DE 19716   •   USA  •   (302) 831-8939   •   www.udel.edu/studentlife