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Promoting a healthy, inclusive community

Monday, February 3, 2020

Dear Colleagues:

With concerns about the novel coronavirus prominent in the news, it is understandable that people may be feeling fearful. There are many ways to stay safe and prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, such as recommendations shared by Watkins Health Center, found at https://studenthealth.ku.edu/coronavirus.

Unfortunately, there have been recent reports of instances where members of the KU community have been singled out as potential carriers of this virus simply because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin. Such instances do not reflect our values as Jayhawks, as we seek to foster a multicultural, inclusive environment in which the dignity and rights of the individual are respected. I ask that you please remember:

  • A person’s appearance does not tell you anything about their national origin.
  • A person’s country of origin does not indicate that they have been exposed to the coronavirus.
  • Ostracizing groups of people during a health crisis can create social stigmas that lead sick people to avoid seeking treatment.
  • Seek out and share information from reputable sources.  Resist sensationalism and speculation.

Please take care of yourselves and those around you.

Sincerely,

John

John Colombo, PhD

Interim Dean

Director, Schiefelbusch Institute for Life Span Studies

Professor of Psychology