Letter to the Editor: Delaware State University president urges students to remain focused

Since the beginning of the fall semester, the vast majority of you have been following the guidelines necessary to keep all of us safe. You are wearing masks, practicing social distancing, being tested regularly and holding each other accountable.

The result is clear. In over 15,000 tests that have been conducted, the rate of positive cases on our campus is less than 0.5%, significantly lower than the rate of infection in almost any area of the country.

This has allowed you to remain on campus, work toward your academic goals and continue to build toward your dreams — dreams that I know matter to you and to your family.

Do not lose focus now.

I know you are all aware of the gathering that took place over the weekend in Schutte Park in Dover. I know that some of you were there. And we all know what tragically happened to a member of our university family, Devin Wright, the victim of a heinous crime the university and the Dover police are still investigating.

As we mourn Devin’s senseless loss, I am asking you all to not only be careful but to also be accountable. In addition to our COVID-19 policy, which prohibits large gatherings on campus, the governor has issued several emergency declarations that effectively make such gatherings illegal and subject to criminal penalty.

It is important that you remember that our actions have consequences. At the university, we have a three-level system for enforcing the COVID-19 policy and the governor’s state of emergency declarations: Minor student violations may be addressed with a warning; continued or more serious violations lead to potential eviction from university housing and removal from campus; and egregious violations can lead to suspension or expulsion. No one wants these things for you.

As I noted just a few short days ago, “Devin’s life was cut short through no fault of his own — a son, a brother, a student, who will never have the opportunity to graduate college, find a good job, raise a family or give back to his community.”

Your opportunities are still in front of you. And we are behind you every step of the way.

It all matters.

Dr. Tony Allen
President, Delaware State University