2020 has shown us that nothing is straightforward, everything can change instantly and there is only so much humans can control. Serving as a university administrator — let alone as the face of the first public university in the United States — amid a pandemic and social unrest must be one of the most stressful and draining jobs right now. But this is the exact job of Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz. I believe he has and still is striving to best serve all of the University's stakeholders, especially students.
When the pandemic first knocked on UNC’s doors back in March, Guskiewicz, under the orders of the UNC System, took swift, decisive action to close residence halls, clear campus and switch to remote learning. All of these steps were executed in a matter of weeks. There was very little data or research on COVID-19, and nobody knew how long or how serious this virus was going to be. Despite this, Guskiewicz remained determined to serve the UNC community.
He did not waver in his fortitude, nor was he derelict in his duties. He served as a source of level-headed guidance and worked to juggle all community concerns. From Orange County residents to faculty, workers and most of all, over 30,000 students from across the globe, Guskiewicz has listened, absorbed, and acted upon all the voices that make up the Carolina community. He was honest with all these voices that “more changes and more pivots” must be made throughout this pandemic due to the fluidity and constantly changing information around the virus.
This meant sacrifices had to be made, uncomfortable situations would inevitably arise and nothing would be normal. Guskiewicz was transparent about this back in March. As the months progressed and more research about COVID-19 was released, he began to look towards our fall semester. Heeding the cries of students for some form of on-campus engagement, Guskiewicz worked tirelessly with the same voices mentioned to fulfill our wishes. He collaborated to create the Roadmap For Fall 2020.
The rest is history. Here we are at the end of August, away from campus and in disarray from all the failed plans. Who is to blame? Who should we pinpoint as the reason for our anxiety, wasted money and desperate situations? Some may say Kevin Guskiewicz. I say COVID-19. I say, instead of casting disparaging prose at every move Guskiewicz makes, let us be outraged at the virus itself. For we are only humans, and Guskiewicz is only human.
Don’t get me wrong, I do not endorse every policy decision Chancellor Guskiewicz makes. The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of uncertainty, and UNC, especially Carolina Housing, has certainly not helped ease this whirlwind. Despite this, I recognize Guskiewicz is not the source of my anxiety. COVID-19 is.
Leaping into the coronavirus era with no clear precedent, Chancellor Guskiewicz has aimed to be transparent that nothing is straightforward, everything can change instantly and there is only so much humans can control. In my opinion, he’s doing all he can do. It may not be enough, but that just shows the limits of human willpower.
The way I see it, Kevin G is a G.
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