Letters from the University President
March 24, 2020
I have become aware that some of you have received messages causing you to worry that you were being evicted from campus housing, or that the campus was being closed, or that you had to leave immediately. The messages and the rumors they have spawned do not reflect what we have wanted to communicate as a President’s Council in substance or in tone. Let me remind you of what we have intended to communicate.
Yes, we are encouraging students to return home where and when possible. We recognize that this is not always possible. As I said in today’s devotional, circumstances differ greatly for individual students. There are so many individual variables, such as travel restrictions, marital status, health issues, etc. Hence, we encouraged you to discuss your individual circumstances with IWORK, ISS, or the Dean of Students. As a University, we think returning home is the right decision for most of you. We are providing support, including travel assistance, where needed. But in the end, each of you must decide if and when to return home.
I also want to reassure part-time student employees, including IWORK students, that we have committed to keep you whole through the semester. It will likely be harder to guarantee employment if the mandate to work from home continues. But we are particularly mindful of the needs of our neediest students and will do our best to help you manage.
Finally, I want to reassure you all that I love you. You are in my prayers day and night. I know that the Lord will help us get through this. I hope that many, if not most, of you can return to your families to be together in these uncertain times. But wherever you are, you are 'ohana! And we are in this together.
President John S. Tanner
March 17, 2020
March 16, 2020
Dear Campus Ohana:
On Friday I sent out a special bulletin to the students that I hoped might calm and reassure them. I hoped that it would help the rest of the campus too. Today let me speak specifically to the rest of the campus, including faculty, staff, admin, and missionaries. I hope it may help the students too.
First, let me announce until further notice, supervisors have the discretion on decisions about working from home for student, part-time, and full-time employees.
Also, all campus entities are also encouraged to meet virtually rather than face-to-face for group meetings. And please do not report to work if you feel sick.
And, it goes without saying by now, we encourage everyone to frequently wash their hands and practice social distancing.
More information for full-time and part-time BYUH employees will be forthcoming. Please watch for these announcements.
To all of our employees may I say “we love you!” We recognize your service, sacrifice, and love for the University. We are grateful for you more than ever as we face these challenging times together. Here is a message entitled " Crisis + Inspiration = Opportunity" intended to encourage all of us to find ways not just to survive this global pandemic, but to grow and learn and get better from this experience. I know that we can do this!
Mahalo Nui Loa,
President John S. Tanner
March 13, 2020
Good morning! I hope you have been sleeping better than I have. These have been a difficult few days, with lots of surprising and possibly alarming twists and turns as the whole world has begun to take more aggressive responses to the COVID-19 pandemic—including the University. The purpose of this brief morning message is to reassure you that things will be okay at BYU–Hawaii. They really will! And we love you!
We are working hard to deal with the myriad of questions you have. We will let you know more as we know more. We will soon be posting an FAQ with answers to some of your questions. We will communicate through the web site, bulletins, and other official University sources. Not through rumors.
Some of you may be worried if you will have a place to live or food to eat in the next few weeks. You will.
To those who worry that you won’t be able to enroll for classes in Spring Semester. You will.
To those who wonder if the world will end tomorrow or if you will get married. I don’t know. But I wouldn’t plan on the former and I’d work toward the latter if you are single.
So take heart. Remember the words of our old pioneer hymn: “All is well.” The pioneers sang these in the face of trials, not in their absence.
Just as did a medieval mystic named Julian of Norwich, who lived during the plague years. She wrote reassuringly: “but all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.”
I encourage you, too, to take heart and follow in the footsteps of our hardy pioneers, knowing all is and all shall be well.
And just think: We will get to participate in a General Conference where the speakers really will be preaching to the choir.
We love you!
President John S. Tanner
P.S. I suggest that you greet each other with the shaka rather than handshakes or hugs as a way of communicating the spirit of aloha while observing social distancing.