Dear Rackham Students,
The devastating effects of COVID-19 and the pervasive threat of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have touched each of our lives and the places we call home. While recent trends in the United States with regard to cases and vaccinations have been largely encouraging, people in other parts of the world—particularly in India, but also in Turkey, countries in South America, and elsewhere—are facing their most challenging moments of the pandemic. We know that our students who are living in these countries or have close connections to them through friends and family are directly experiencing the catastrophic impact that the surges in COVID-19 are inflicting on their communities. We have heard of students who have lost parents or other relatives, or who have become ill themselves.
I have deep empathy for those of you who are enduring feelings of grief, isolation, and anxiety during this moment. These increases in positivity rates and the limited ability to travel reinforce a painful reality of the pandemic, which is that we are so often unable to be with those closest to us just when we need each other the most.
To the whole Rackham community—faculty, staff, and students—I know how variable the impact of the virus has been and continues to be on our members. Even as we look to experience the new opportunities that increasing control of the pandemic brings in and around Ann Arbor, many among us can benefit from our understanding, kindness, and counsel as they endure their unique personal circumstances.
For those of you seeking support available through the university, I remind you that Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) offers several options, including crisis support and virtual outreach. CAPS also has a staff member embedded within Rackham, Dr. Laura Monschau, dedicated to working specifically with graduate students. For those facing impacts to your study and research, the Rackham Resolution Office provides a safe and confidential environment to discuss concerns. Students can request a meeting using this form.
As President Schlissel outlined in his message last week about the crisis in India, an array of efforts by those with ties to the U-M community are underway to provide relief. As students have inquired about additional avenues to help, I call your attention to this partial list of charities and aid organizations:
- World Health Organization COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
- Direct Relief
- India COVID SOS
- American India Foundation COVID-19 Response
- Breathe India
- Pan American Health Organization COVID-19 Response Fund
Rackham Graduate School, like the university as a whole, has long welcomed students from around the world, and we deeply value your many contributions through teaching, research, and scholarship. I recognize the incredible hardship that so many of you are experiencing at this time. On behalf of the graduate school, I offer this message in a spirit of compassion for what you are going through, and of profound hope for the health and safety of you and those you hold dear.