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September 16, 2021

Dear Fredonia community:

Happy Thursday! I hope this update finds you all doing great. 

Students, as you complete your fourth week of classes, I hope you are also expanding your social connections. I hope you had the chance to attend Activities Night on Sept. 1 and that you've joined one or more of the 170+ clubs or organizations offered here at Fredonia. You can find out more about all of Fredonia’s clubs and organizations through FREDconnect. Of course, I trust you will always maintain a good balance between fulfilling your academic requirements and engaging in extracurricular activities. Both are essential to your overall growth as a student.  

Great news
Typically, I have started these updates by sharing COVID-19 news right after some introductory comments. This week will be different as I have some very exciting news to share concerning the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings of colleges and universities.

I am extremely pleased to report that SUNY Fredonia is now ranked 14th (out of 61 universities) in the category of “Top Public Universities in the North” for 2022. Relative to the 13 SUNY comprehensive institutions, we have moved up two places since last year, and we are the third highest ranked. Here are additional distinctions that you may find as exciting as I do:

  • Fredonia is tied for 62nd in “Top Regional Universities, North,” which includes both public and private universities in the northeast - that is 62nd out of 171 universities, and an improvement of seven places from last year; 

  • Fredonia is one of five (out of 13) SUNY comprehensive universities ranked as a “Top Performer on Social Mobility,” and 

  • Fredonia is one of seven (out of 13) SUNY comprehensive universities listed as a “Best Value.”

These 2022 rankings are all manifestations of the hard work and dedication of our faculty, staff, and students. My highlighting of these distinctions is less about bragging about SUNY Fredonia, and more about acknowledging these achievements by our faculty, staff, and students.  Congratulations and thank you for all you do to make our institution the wonderful place it is to learn and grow.

9/11 Ceremony of Remembrance
Last week we were able to come together as a campus community to remember and honor the lives that were lost and those whose lives were forever changed two decades ago. I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Fredonia staff who helped with the setup, the dignitaries who shared their personal stories, senior Gavin Card who sang the National Anthem, members of the College Council who were able to attend, and all those who attended the 9/11 ceremony of remembrance.

Students gather at the Clock Tower for 9/11 Ceremony

COVID-19 on campus
As of this morning, we have had 69 positive COVID-19 cases among students since the start of the semester. Of the 69 cases, 32 are considered active cases, while 39 have recovered and been cleared to return to on-campus classes and activities.

Surveillance testing
The campus this week started mandatory monthly testing of all faculty, staff, and students on campus, regardless of vaccination status. We are taking this action because we know that even with vaccinations, some breakthrough cases of COVID-19 are possible. 

Vaccine mandate
We are approaching the SUNY-mandated deadline for all students to submit proof of vaccination or be approved for an exemption. I am very happy to say the number of students who have not yet complied with one of these options has dwindled rapidly over the last few weeks. For those few students who have not yet done so, please understand you need to submit proof of vaccination or be approved for an exemption by September 27, 2021. If you are not vaccinated or have not been approved for an exemption by that date, you will be dropped from your classes and de-registered. More information about how to submit proof of vaccination or request an exemption is available on the Fall 2021 COVID-19 Guidelines web page.

Will we “pause”?
People are asking me about the threshold of infections that will trigger a pause from in-person instruction and activities. At the beginning of last fall, with limited testing, and no vaccine yet available, the pause number was set at 100 infections within a two-week period. Then during the spring of 2021, with a robust testing program in place, the trigger for a pause was set at 5% of the campus population. Unlike last year, SUNY has not set a number. Also, unlike the last two semesters, we have a significant number of persons on campus that are vaccinated. I expect that vaccination rates and other evolving factors will be studied before a threshold for pausing is established. In any case, it is logical to expect that an out-of-control infection rate caused by COVID-19 variants and /or risky conduct may trigger a pause. In the meantime, let’s remain highly vigilant and do everything reasonable and possible to avoid infections. Last year, we succeeded at keeping the campus open without the need for a pause. I believe we can achieve that this year too. Let’s make it happen.

Thank you for reading this update. I will have another update for you next week. Until then, please continue to protect yourself from COVID-19: be diligent in always wearing your masks indoors or in large gatherings, get vaccinated if you are not, and take part in the campus surveillance testing. 

Very truly yours,

Dr. K
Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., Ph.D.
President and Professor

Dr. Stephen H. Kolison, Jr., President

  • 138 Fenton Hall State University of New York at Fredonia Fredonia, NY 14063

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