Dear Campus Community:
I am writing with an update on the water emergency. Some of this information is new and some has been included in our prior messages to campus, but the increased media attention has generated more questions so I thought it would be helpful to share some additional resources.
First, let me reinforce that the University of Michigan-Flint has taken all necessary measures to ensure drinking water on campus—in all facilities including classrooms, residence halls, childcare, and cooking facilities—is safe, filtered, and regularly tested.
We responded proactively as a campus starting in fall 2014 when the city issued a “boil water” advisory, and we have continued to quickly and thoroughly address water quality issues. Water filters have been installed across campus and the University continues quarterly water testing. The most recent tests were in October 2015, which found the water filters installed across campus are working and that campus water is safe.
It is clear that our water emergency is going to go on for some time. This is a tragedy that should not have happened. Although resources are now being committed to the community, we know it is going to take time to address the infrastructure issues, to set up care for the children who ingested lead, and to determine how to prevent this from ever happening again. The University will continue to work in partnership to identify needs and contribute our faculty expertise and our service in support of our community. This week Provost Doug Knerr and I will convene U-M faculty from across all three of our campuses here in Flint to help identify needs and areas where we might contribute expertise and service. President Mark Schlissel has committed $100,000 in seed funding for U-M research projects addressing the water crisis.
A secondary concern for the campus and the community is related to the impact this situation will have on our already fragile economy. Remember it was just a decade ago that area leaders pooled their money to begin rebuilding downtown, which now is frequented with Art Walks, Jazz nights, fine dining and a hopping social scene. I plan to redouble my efforts to support local businesses and restaurants, and I hope you will, too. Our support will make a positive difference.
Flint is a community of amazing and resilient people, and the University of Michigan-Flint has the good fortune of being located right downtown in a way that enhances our education. But the attention we are receiving has raised concerns and questions about our campus and our city. It is important for parents and prospective students to know that the University of Michigan-Flint is a great and safe place to be. For the past year and a half, I have heard enthusiastic support from both current students and alums. I have heard your love for this University, praising faculty support, and heartily endorsing your experience here. We need you as ambassadors.
Attached to this email you will find a fact sheet that answers the most frequently asked questions about campus water and our involvement. I want our entire campus community knowledgeable and able to answer these questions from anyone in our community. I also invite you to continue to check the website for additional information. Our Campus Water Information page (http://umflint.edu/campus-water) now includes a frequently asked questions section and full list of filtered water locations on campus. It also is being updated regularly with additional information and resources.
As you continue to have ideas for how to help, please work with your deans so that we can incorporate your thoughts into our ongoing University response. If you are interested in participating in the community volunteer effort, please contact University Outreach at 810-424-5486 or email@example.com. Outreach will work directly with the Red Cross to help coordinate our support.
It is a critical moment in the life of Flint and the University. Thank you for your willingness to step up and to lead in this time of crisis. As we work toward the future, we can all contribute to Flint’s strength and vibrancy. Thank you for supporting the university and our community.
Susan Borrego, Ph.D.