August 27, 2021 - Uniting to build a safe and lasting semester.

The following message was sent to the University of Portland community from Acting President & Provost, Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D. on August 27, 2021.

Dear Students, Staff, and Faculty, 

Congratulations on completing the first week of our Fall Semester! 

What a joy it is to see students, staff, and faculty back on The Bluff. We are reconnecting with friends and colleagues, engaging in a fresh slate of classes and research initiatives, and taking on new and exciting projects in our work. Most importantly, simply by being present on campus, we are renewing our sacred community here at UP. 

As we enjoy this successful start to our academic year, we are mindful that COVID-19 is still a real presence in the life of UP. We are resolute in our commitment to an in-person Fall Semester, while taking appropriate steps to keep our community members safe so that we can accomplish this goal. As you know, we have required COVID-19 vaccinations for all students, staff, and faculty, subject to limited exemptions. As seen in our Vaccination Dashboard, almost 98% of employees and over 91% of students are fully vaccinated. We are working diligently to achieve full compliance with our vaccination policy in the days ahead.  We have implemented masking policies on The Bluff to comply with the State of Oregon’s requirements. Further, starting on September 6, we will be implementing a proof-of-vaccination requirement for off-campus attendees at sporting events. (We also are looking to implement such a requirement for other on-campus events with significant off-campus attendance.) I am immensely proud of our University for taking such strong steps to keep us safe, and for community members being so vigilant in following our policies. 

Given the size of our community, cases of COVID-19 will occur. However, thanks to our contact tracing protocols, case counts are currently exceptionally low (fewer than 10), we are providing necessary care to community members, and we are preventing the spread of COVID-19. Soon, we will launch a COVID-19 case dashboard to supplement our vaccination dashboard on the Pilots Prevent website so that community members can monitor our progress. 

As we embark on this new semester together and navigate the challenges of COVID-19, I hope that you will remember a sentiment that many Pilots express frequently: the University of Portland is our University. It belongs to each and every one of us and we all play a role in shaping its success. Whether we are students, staff, or faculty, UP is ours to share, to love, and to lead. 

We will make a success of this semester as we work collectively. Let’s adhere to our masking policy, always wearing masks indoors and outdoors in public, crowded spaces. Let’s stay home if we’re feeling sick. Let’s heed the instructions of our on-campus contact tracing team. At the same time, let’s find ways to engage deeply with our in-person community and enjoy the many blessings that come with living, working, and studying on The Bluff. Let’s remember that this is our University, and with resolve, faithfulness, and God’s blessings, we can do so much to ensure its success. 

I am blessed to lead and to serve this community alongside you, and I wish you a successful semester. Thank you, God bless you, and Go Pilots!

Herbert A. Medina, Ph.D.
Acting President