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Message of Support During COVID-19

March 19, 2020

Dear Seattle University Staff and Campus Community,

Our lives, both at home and at Seattle University, are rapidly changing due to the evolving public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 virus. We, the members of Seattle University Staff Council, want you to know that we are with you in this challenging time. We are keeping this entire community in mind as we, like you, discern how best to navigate this quickly shifting landscape. Please know how grateful we are for the tireless and dedicated work of all staff on this campus as we continue to house, feed, and provide for other critical needs for our students, all while many staff are continuing to manage basic university operations. For all of the ways you continue to live out Seattle University’s mission in this difficult time, thank you.

We also want you to know that we have heard you and your concerns. We understand your varied experiences with the responses to this crisis and we know that many different challenges have arisen across campus. The Seattle University Staff Council would like you to know that we have reached out to Human Resources and university leadership regarding the following issues:

  • The need for more explicit and proactive conversations about “critical,” “essential,” and “non-essential” staff and what that means in the context of staff health concerns;
  • Difficulty for staff who are not already set up or who are unable to work from remotely;
  • Challenges and confusion for stakeholders, including students and their families, due to lack of advance communication about decisions that impact multiple departments;
  • Extreme vulnerability of our non-exempt staff and employees of Seattle University vendors as we scale back university services

We are grateful to university leadership for addressing the concerns we previously raised about the original sick leave policy related to COVID-19 work absences and for the remote work and sick-leave policy adjustments that were communicated on March 17 by VP of Human Resources, Michelle Clements.

All of us on the SU Staff Council extend our thanks to those in university leadership who continue this challenging work. We are aware that the issues related to this crisis are numerous and complex. This is a time for compassion, dedication, and creativity. We want all staff to know that Seattle University Staff Council is working with you and for you in this unprecedented time. We ask that you stand with us as we will be stronger together in this caring community of students, staff, and faculty.


Seattle University Staff Council