Student Open Letter

Milo Morris, a junior Psychology major at Georgia College, submitted the following open letter to GC360. What follows is a shortened version of a letter Morris submitted to the Dean of Students:


Milo Morris

Hello, my name is Milo Morris and I am a community advisor at Georgia College. I am struggling with some concerns surrounding how the university has been operating so far this semester, as well as some frustrations with some university policies and procedures in general. I am feeling very impassioned about this, but I do not intend for it to come across as disrespectful; however, that will not stop me from stating my true thoughts.


My primary, overarching issue is the university’s handling of the pandemic, and certain tasks we as staff are expected to complete without regard for our health and safety. The fact that we are required to orchestrate and conduct programs that are quite literally DESIGNED to attract crowds during a massively contagious global pandemic is mind boggling to me. I cannot fathom this decision by those in leadership (be they Georgia College or USG). I believe it is beyond unethical to place students, staff, and faculty essentially on the front lines of a potentially lethal phenomenon, and it shocks me how casually and cavalierly these procedures have been explained to us. There has been no recognition of the fact that we are jeopardizing our safety because of our dedication to these students, these residents, and this university.


The higher-ups of the school emphasize consistently that the priority is our education (even housing states that our educations take priority over our jobs), but then knowingly send us into the line of fire, without care that we could easily contract COVID and be sent home. I’ve also been told by a faculty member who I consider a friend that they as faculty have been instructed NOT to have measures in place for students who get COVID to keep up with lectures and classwork, NOT to instruct students to wear masks or get vaccinated, and essentially to pretend that all is well. This makes going home with a deadly illness AND being entirely unable to maintain grades a very real possibility. At a week into the semester, we already have over a hundred cases, which is increasing by the day, and that number should be ALARMING to everyone because this is not a large university. Also, CAs helped to officiate move-in—huge, high-contact procedures that involve large crowds, lack of distancing, and of course almost no mask. Some of these CAs, I know for a fact, were diagnosed with COVID less than two days after move-in, so potentially could have acted as super-spreaders, exposing huge numbers of residents to the virus.


The fact that leadership doesn’t even require masks, truly the bare minimum of safety measures, has me, my friends, and professors that I am close with genuinely terrified. One of my professors spoke at the beginning of class and told us that one of her coworkers has a twelve year old son in the hospital with COVID; she said, “if this career could mean having to bury a child, I don’t know what to do.” I had a frustrated and tearful conversation with another professor who I love like a family member about our fears for the semester, and the feelings of helplessness we share. She and I are both immunocompromised by chronic conditions, and even though we are both vaccinated, we also know several vaccinated people around us who have already gotten COVID and had to quarantine from the university. We are simply not paid enough to be recklessly endangered by university policy.