Dear Howard University Community,
We are currently in the third week of classes for our undergraduate, graduate, and Social Work students. While the challenges caused by the weather-related infrastructure damage have been significant at the University, I am encouraged by the spirit of cooperation, collaboration, and resiliency that has been evident on campus over the past several weeks. As we continue to meet with faculty, students, and staff, we are taking note of the concerns identified and addressing areas of anxiety related to classroom and office relocations, academic scheduling, and impact on scholarship.
As the health and safety of our faculty and staff are our primary concern, we must reiterate that Annex I, Annex II, and Douglass Hall remain offline, and due to environmental concerns, access to these buildings is prohibited. We are working collaboratively with URI, a renovation and restoration vendor, to provide an assessment of the environment, as well as develop a timeline and protocol to ultimately provide limited, controlled access to these buildings. As remediation and renovation crews and insurance adjusters review the damage in those buildings, they will inform us when any limited public entry may be permissible. We are sensitive to the desire of faculty to access personal items, documents, and books, as well as valued collections, however, our highest priority remains the safety and welfare of our faculty, students, and staff.
In the College of Medicine, the east section of the Numa Adams Building was also impacted by a significant pipe fracture. The flooding that resulted was exacerbated by chemical contamination from the anatomy lab and other research laboratories. Remediation and renovation contractors continue to work around the clock to address these building issues. A number of faculty laboratories have been relocated, as repairs are ongoing. It is possible that buildings may experience other pipe fractures and water leaks through the remainder of the winter season.
We have relocated over 500 teaching sections to other classrooms and instructional spaces on campus. This has required that we utilize every available space on campus amenable to instruction. This includes Howard University Hospital, the Cancer Center, the Interdisciplinary Research Building (IRB), the Louis Stokes Health Sciences Library, Wonder Plaza, the iLab, and classrooms located in several dormitories (College Hall South, Howard Plaza Towers – West). We are also maximizing the utilization of classrooms in all of our traditional academic buildings. We ask that faculty continue to be flexible and understanding that students may need to travel from locations at opposite ends of campus to reach their classes. Faculty should please inform Department Chairs to request instructional supplies or equipment, particularly in new spaces that are being utilized.
We implemented a modified calendar with a start date of January 16, 2018, that will not impact Spring Break or the originally scheduled last day of classes. However, inclement weather resulting in campus closure this semester may require further adjustments to the calendar. As a result of the modified calendar, we extended the registration period through January 26, 2018, to accommodate schedule changes for all students. Students with extenuating circumstances should contact their School/College Deans for additional assistance.
We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as the University continues to respond to this crisis. We will get through this together.
In Truth and Service,
Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer