Dear Members of the City College Community,
I'm thrilled to be able to welcome our community back to the campus and excited every day to see all of you filtering through our gates and into our buildings, and down our hallways. It's been a long and difficult journey back to where we are now, and while we can't claim to have put the pandemic entirely in the rearview mirror, we now have better tools to cope with what it may still have in store for us.
Managing the campus over these past years has always been a balancing act, and I've tried to think of it that way. On the one hand, each of us labored under the weight of trying to keep one another safe, and especially in those early days when we understood so little about COVID, safety meant social isolation and a campus that was on an almost entirely remote footing. (I say almost because we should never forget or show gratitude for the sacrifice made, in those months, by our essential staff: men and women who traveled to campus to preserve sanitary conditions, keep the physical plant running, and protect the security of our college).
But we also knew that social isolation and remote work had their costs. While there is certainly a place for remote work and online education, we also acknowledge that a computer screen is a pale substitute for myriad tasks, and does not return many of the rich benefits of human contact.
Over these past months, the balance between the need to isolate and the benefits of contact have shifted, thankfully, towards the joyful interactions on campus today. We're still not fully safe, of course, and we must all protect and respect one another. Nor are we necessarily used to the negotiations and compromises that make a community whole, and so we'll need to approach these next few months with as much awareness of one another as we can muster. Let's be vigilant to identify and assuage the misgivings and anxieties of those around us, and generous when we encounter rust on the face of smooth social interaction. In short, let's work together to make the reconstruction of our community an intentional part of how we live and work together.
But, wow! What a pleasure it is to see you back on campus. May you rediscover the joy of teaching in a full classroom, of working in teams toward some collective goal, of planning a conversation session over coffee, or enjoying the beauty of our campus as summer inches toward fall. I wish you all a joyful and productive academic year, filled with the grace of learning, the grave import of our educational mission, and the pleasure of one another's company.
Welcome back, CCNY.