COVID-19 Update to Campus: May 1, 2020

To the Eastern Michigan University community:

As we head into what appears to be a beautiful Michigan spring weekend, it is good to reflect back on the week and celebrate our raison d'être as students and employees of this great institution.

Last Saturday was Commencement Day, and while our graduates didn’t get to walk across the stage we created a memorable experience for them nonetheless. Through a creative process that included text messages, social media filters, a digital/virtual experience and selfie videos we were able to celebrate our graduates in TRU(EMU) Eagles fashion. By the looks of things, did they ever have a great time!

Hundreds of graduates participated. Scroll through the commencement virtual wall to experience their celebration.

The congratulations selfie video montage, which includes fellow students, faculty, staff, alumni and family members, received more than 21,000 views on Facebook alone!

A major part of our annual graduation celebrations is the Multicultural Graduation Celebration. This would have taken place last Friday. In recognition of that and to celebrate our graduating students of color, the Center of Race and Ethnicity (CORE) honored our graduates with a wonderful video that includes messages from faculty and others. It is sure to bring a smile to your face as it did mine.  

Budget challenges due to COVID-19 disruption

I wanted to follow up on my message earlier this week about the budget challenges the University is facing due to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and the initial steps we are taking to address those. These steps include a 7 percent pay reduction for me and the senior leadership team who report to me. I appreciate the understanding words I have heard from those who acknowledge how difficult the weeks ahead may be and the uncertainty that surrounds us. I was able to further discuss the current situation and our approach to future reductions this morning in an extended 12-minute interview on WEMU with Morning Edition host David Fair. It is a wide-ranging interview - you may find it helpful in understanding our priorities moving forward.

Staying secure while working remotely

Because of COVID-19, Eastern Michigan University employees find themselves working remotely, either for the first time or more than ever before. We want to provide some guidance to help stay cyber-safe during this time.

  • Be vigilant with emails you receive. Hackers and phishers are actively working to play on our emotions and take advantage of our collective COVID-19 anxieties.  Be skeptical of emails that you receive from unexpected sources. The sender that you see may not be the true sender of the message. Links may not go where they seem like they would go. For anything even a little unusual we recommend verifying by communicating through a different channel. Try to avoid clicking links directly in email. If possible, find the information by directly visiting the company's web site.

  • Working remotely means new consideration on data handling.  See our Sensitive Data Guide at to see where sensitive data can be stored.

  • If you must download EMU data to a personal owned device, create a dedicated folder (or folders) to store all EMU files so that you can easily remove them when the University transitions back to normal operations.

  • If you print any files that contain EMU data, printouts should not be left where others can view them.  Printouts should be disposed of by shredding or other fully destructive processes.

  • Make sure your computer’s operating system, web browser, and other software programs are up-to-date. Turn on automatic updates wherever possible. If you have Windows 10 or MacOS, visit to verify your computer meets these requirements.  If you try this tool and have trouble please reach out to [email protected] for help.  


This information also can be found on the IT website.

For those of you utilizing Zoom, IT has added a "Latest Updates" section to the IT support page for Zoom. The updates highlight new security features available in Zoom v 5.0.

Swoop’s Food Pantry hours next week

The John and Angie Sabo Swoop’s Food Pantry Room will be open next week on Tuesday (5/5) and Thursday (5/7), from noon – 3:30 p.m. Clients are requested to complete an Online Shopping Request Form before arriving. Items will be bagged by staff and brought out to clients when they arrive. Visitors to Swoop’s can enter through the main entrance on the north side of Pierce Hall near the elevator. Swoop’s requires any student who has not used the pantry this year to complete the Swoop's Food Pantry Intake Form.

If you wish to donate items – those most needed this week are cereal, large bags of snacks, dish soap, ready-to-eat meals, baby formula, gluten free pasta, chicken ramen, rice, milk and deodorant.

Items can be dropped off Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – noon at 104 Pierce Hall. Swoop’s can pick up items from your porch for those in the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti area. Send an email to [email protected] to arrange a donation pickup.

Please maintain social/physical distancing guidance when picking up or delivering items to the Pantry.

Financial contributions to support Swoop’s should be directed to Swoop's Food Pantry.

Good news to share

Today’s good news story comes to us from halfway around the world, from India to be precise. Ankit Soni is a 2009 graduate of the International Business/Entrepreneurship Program and is a third generation member of a family jewelry store ownership in India. The company is now making Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including intubation boxes and masks for health care workers to send to the United States. You can see photos of his company’s efforts in the Everyday Eastern Heroes photo gallery.

Please continue to let us know about positive initiatives among our students and faculty, and in the community. Send a message to [email protected].

Follow your University email, the University’s COVID-19 website and our Frequently Asked Questions for additional information and updates, as well as resources to help keep you safe. Continue to observe physical distancing guidance, as well as hand washing and other prevention measures.

I hope you are able to get outdoors to enjoy the beautiful weekend. Take care of yourselves, and continue to look out for and support others.

James Smith, Ph.D.

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