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Pandemic Will Likely Have A Lasting Impact On How UCF Operates

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UCF President Alexander Cartwright. Photo courtesy of UCF

UCF President Dr. Alexander Cartwright says the coronavirus pandemic is likely to have a lasting impact on the way the university operates. 

UCF’s plan to ‘repopulate’ the campus includes mandatory facemasks in university buildings and a mix of online and in-person classes, with reduced capacity in classrooms and student housing. 

Cartwright, who started at UCF in April, tells Intersection there’s likely to be more online classes and remote work beyond the pandemic. 

“It’s unclear to me at this stage, what is the steady state going to be for the needs of offices and other things on the physical campus, long term, right? And I think that we need a little bit of a time period where we can understand what does that next phase looks like.”

Cartwright said a recent COVID-19 outbreak linked to a pub near campus reinforces the need for more education about coronavirus. 

“You know our football team has talked about, I think the phrase is, ‘Help us to go 1 and 0- wear a mask’. There’s a lot of us starting to realize the importance of us continuing to send that message to as many people as we can.”

Cartwright also talked about UCF’s approach to addressing systemic racism. He said he wants the university to do more to promote diversity and inclusion. 

UCF hosted a virtual forum on race and unity earlier this month in response to nationwide protests over the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. The university has also come under pressure with calls to fire a professor for tweets that students, alumni and faculty have called racist.  

Cartwright says UCF is taking steps to be more inclusive- including elevating the chief diversity officer to a Vice-President level position. 

“We need to ensure that people don’t feel like there’s someone not being supportive or in fact being discriminatory because of who they are. We can’t have that.”

Cartwright says the tweets- by psychology professor Charles Negy – were disturbing and aberrant, but they were personal tweets and therefore protected by the first amendment. 

He said comments made in a classroom are a different issue, and the university is investigating. 

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Matt Peddie