Message From the Chancellor (COVID-19 April 21, 2020 8:26 p.m.)

Fear is an incompetent teacher

Dear Texas Woman’s Community,

I hope this message finds you well as we continue to persevere in our “universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity.”

As mentioned yesterday, stories about overcoming challenges are tempered by ones that reflect some harsh realities of this pandemic. Just this morning, a student shared grief upon learning of a loved one’s passing due to complications caused by COVID-19. There are no resources that can replace that loss, and I know you join me in sending our condolences. We send our thanks, too, for the comforters, caregivers, and healthcare experts who are our strength and help. There are other losses, too. I have melded together a few in the following narrative from real email messages.

My family lives in a region that is being hit pretty hard right now with COVID-19. Many of them work in hospitals that are seeing the worst. My fiancé has been trying to file for unemployment for the past several weeks, unable to get through to anyone. Things are extremely stressful, not to mention this is my first year at university. My funds from food stamps expire this month. Reapplying along with the many others now seeking funds will be more challenging, likely impossible. My scholarships do not apply to the summer term and without the wages from my fiancé to support us through the summer months the reality of paying tuition is becoming bleak. Spending our money for tuition and fees will mean not having any money to live during the rest of the summer. I realized I have the privilege of being enrolled at university, but I think I speak for many of my peers in saying we will be working through some of our hardest times financially, negatively impacting our mental, physical, and financial well-being.

We want to connect students who have lost income due to COVID-19 with financial help. Combined with my seed money, we raised nearly $140,000 for students. Student applications have completely exhausted those funds already. Students who applied for those funds will not need to reapply for access to federal stimulus funds, whenever the federal government releases that money. If you are a student, not fully online, and your livelihood was interrupted due to this COVID-19 pandemic, then you are likely eligible to receive federal stimulus funds, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s guidelines.

Dr. Natalie Malin, Instructor of First Year Composition, Literature, and Multicultural Gender and Women's Studies, shared the following useful resource for addressing mental illness:

Our Student Health Services has a wonderful webpage, Online Health Hub, created by Assistant Director of Student Health Service / Health Promotion, Amy Allison.

...I want to highlight the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention links that are under the top ribbon "Health Topics" dropdown menu. As an instructor myself and mother of college-aged students, I know that many students are struggling with the loss of their normal routines and how such abrupt changes can affect their mental health. I don’t think there can ever be too many mental health resources to share, especially now.

...The Active Minds link can also be found on the top ribbon on the Online Health Hub webpage. After clicking that Active Minds link, one of the most helpful resources is the Active Minds Community Resources link shared by the national headquarters.

Our faculty and staff are working harder than ever before. While the demands of our work may be greater, I am grateful that we are able to keep everyone employed, even if working in new ways than before. Still, some faculty and staff have significant others and family who have not fared as well. For those who need it, we do have resources, including the Employee Emergency Assistance Fund, among others, on the HR resources and Coronavirus webpages. I hope there is something to help every need, even if that need is just a sympathetic ear.

As one of my favorite characters said in a recent episode of Star Trek: Picard, “Fear is an incompetent teacher… Life is a responsibility! ...We have powerful tools. Openness. Optimism. And the spirit of curiosity… The future is left for us to write.” I hope we use our tools to cope with grief and find answers to the hard questions rather than let fear drive our behavior.

With kind regards,

Carine M. Feyten, Ph.D.
Chancellor and President

P.S. For the latest information, check out the TWU COVID-19 webpage.

Page last updated 8:32 AM, April 22, 2020