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by Tony Moore
In a recent episode titled “Reversing Course on the Fall,” President Margee Ensign and Brontè Burleigh-Jones, vice president for finance and administration, appeared on the podcast Future U, a program dedicated to exploring facets of higher education. There they discussed the state of higher education in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and how Dickinson’s early decision to hold classes exclusively online was ethically imperative and financially sound.
“When the pandemic began … we had hundreds of students around the world, but we had a sense of what was coming, and so we brought them home early,” explained Ensign. “So from the very beginning, the health and safety of our entire Dickinson community has been our priority and has guided all of our decisions.”
In addressing the risks of being an outlier in not having students back to campus, Burleigh-Jones explained that Dickinson’s sound financial footing made the decision one the college could afford to take.
“In our case, we were operating from a place of financial security,” she said. “We had aligned our resources with our priorities, and so we were confident that we were in a position to act in accord with what our priorities are: the health and safety of our community.”
Ensign spoke to the financial issue as well, but the implication goes beyond dollars and cents.
“For some [colleges], this is existential, this moment,” she said. “It is not, for us. We came into this strong; we will remain strong.”
Published August 25, 2020