Dear UWM Faculty and Staff,
We understand the challenges and sacrifices you are facing during these extraordinary and unprecedented times. The spread of COVID-19 has compelled us to make difficult choices that put the safety of our faculty, staff, students and their families first. This was not the semester anyone expected.
Each day, and nearly by the hour, we are addressing new issues and making difficult decisions. Today, I am sharing much of the same information that we are sending to students so that you can see a more complete picture of developments on campus and can help empathize with students.
In-Person Commencement and Honors Ceremonies Canceled
Given the circumstances facing our university, our communities, the nation and the world, we have decided we cannot hold our in-person graduation ceremonies on May 17 nor Honors Commencement on May 11. These decisions are consistent with Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers’ executive order barring mass gatherings.
We know how profoundly disappointing this is for those graduating, as well as families, supporters and friends. These decisions are not made lightly, but with the best interests of our campus communities and our students’ families and loved ones in mind, especially since many people would make travel plans to attend. We appreciate your understanding of this difficult decision.
For your background, below is some additional information we are sharing with students.
Refunds of Housing Fees and Updates on Tuition and Other Fees
In response to the COVID-19 public health crisis and its impacts to UWM students and families, UWM will refund the prorated charges for housing and dining for the remainder of the spring semester for students who vacate their on-campus student housing (and do not receive a COVID Accommodation to remain on-campus).
Prorated reimbursements will exclude the period of the originally scheduled spring break and shall be issued by the close of the spring academic semester, though efforts are being made to expedite the refund process. Crediting these funds toward future semesters in lieu of a refund is not an option because of rules related to the awarding of federal financial aid. There is a team working on other fee issues, and we will share updates as they become available.
We also have extended the Spring 2020 payment deadline. UWM will not assess late payment fees or interest charges from March 20 to June 2. We are committed to working with our students and families to the best of our ability through these challenging times. Students who cannot make payments on time are encouraged to contact the Bursar’s office at email@example.com.
University Housing to Close
We are closing University Housing with the exception of those individuals who do not have other options. All residents will receive a separate email from University Housing with details later today explaining how and when they can retrieve their belongings.
We know what a disruption has been placed on your lives during this crisis. Your continued patience and understanding are most appreciated.
Additional important updates on campus operations and services are found in the full version of this message.
Mark A. Mone
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee