Dear AMNESP Students,
As this uncertain time continues it becomes increasingly difficult. Many of us are isolated from our families and support networks. Some have relatives who are ill and require care. All of us are unclear about the future.
Boston University’s faculty and administration are working at full capacity to find ways to negotiate this unprecedented challenge. The size and complexity of the institution make policy-setting perplexing; what seem to be solutions for one sector of the university are anathema to other populations. However, progress is being made. Within the last few days, the university announced what seems to be an equitable and workable policy concerning grades for the spring semester.
Planning is also complicated by the fact that our understanding of the severity and duration of the crisis is continually evolving. As you will have gathered from the news, no one is sure when we can emerge from our homes and attempt to return to our accustomed lives.
I believe that everyone in our community feels anxiety about the economics of the coming days. Our concerns are magnified when we feel as though we have little agency or control over our future. Summer is quickly approaching and there are many issues which have yet to be determined. Will BU hold summer sessions? Will the BUCH’s summer internships take place? Like you, the AMNESP program committee is waiting for information and guidance. Hopefully time will bring greater clarity, both to our specific issues and to the national and international outlook.
Please know that the program is working with the Graduate School, the Dean, and the Provost, to find strategies which will assist students to continue to make progress toward degrees during this difficult time. The economic shock waves of the health crisis are impacting the university, yet everyone involved would like to proceed in a manner with as little discomfort and disruption as possible. All throughout the university decision-makers are making a priority of ensuring that students can complete degrees.
During this unprecedented time, please be kind to yourselves. Allow yourself the time you need to maintain your mental health. Adjust your expectations to meet our altered environment. Allow yourself to grieve over what has been lost, while also looking towards the future and reaching out (figuratively) to those around you who may be struggling.
Historically, AMNESP has been characterized by our strong sense of community. Hopefully, this goodwill fostered by shared interests and goals will assist us in getting through the current challenges.
As always, I continue to be available to you, by email, by phone, or by Zoom. Stay well.
William D. Moore
Director, American & New England Studies Program and
Associate Professor of American Material Culture
Department of History of Art & Architecture