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MWSU student complains administration isn't being transparent with COVID-19 on campus

“This can’t be a situation where the only way you find something out is by personally meeting with the Dean of Students and the President," said Sarna.

Posted: Aug 28, 2020 7:36 AM
Updated: Aug 28, 2020 8:31 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) While the COVID-19 case numbers are still relatively low at Missouri Western State University, one student said the university isn't doing enough. 

“I have had to move mountains this past week in order to find the most minute elements of a plan,” said Christian Sarna, MWSU senior. 

Christian Sarna, a senior at Missouri Western said administration isn't being transparent with students about COVID-19 on campus. 

“On Sunday night, an article came out that reported there were at least 8 known cases on campus. It’s Tuesday afternoon and we still haven’t gotten any official word from the university,” said Sarna. 

University staff said they take full responsibility for that unsent email.

"To be totally transparent, there was an email that was sent Friday evening that mentioned the 8 positive cases among staff and students. Because of some human error and system error, that message did not get emailed to students. It was a failure on our part,” said Kent Heier, MWSU Assistant Director of Marketing & Communications. 

Sarna said that isn't the only email that hasn't been sent out. During Missouri Western's first week of school, police broke up 50-70 unmasked students gathered at the basketball courts.

“Nothing’s been said about this. I have no idea what if any consequences for the people involved in this,” said Sarna. 

Heier confirmed this incident and said the university is, "trying to educate our students that you cannot do that. It’s not even a matter of what consequences you might face in terms of student conduct. You can’t take the risk of spreading the disease that way."

Sarna said there's also no official mandate that student organizations must have a remote option for meetings. The lack of accomodation during a pandemic is leaving many students having to drop out of their organizations and clubs. 

“People contact me and say, ‘Hey, my student organization is saying they’re going to kick me out if I don’t go to this meeting and I’m begging to have a zoom meeting. I’m having to advance this all the way up to the Dean of Students before anything happens,” said Sarna. 

Administrators said there will be an upcoming conversation with student leaders about their unwillingness to accommodate students during a health crisis and an understanding will be met. 

While campus staff said they are working to better communicate with students, “I can certainly understand some frustration on the part of students. We'll take steps to do better in terms of sending out active information," said Heier. 

Sarna said it needs to be done faster. 

“This can’t be a situation where the only way you find something out is by personally meeting with the Dean of Students and the President. If information is acceptable to share with me, a random student who happens to be an extremely squeaky wheel, I don’t understand why it’s not being made public knowledge,” said Sarna. 

MWSU doesn't currently have a COVID-19 dashboard entailing the makeup of the coronavirus on campus, but administration said the university is working to release one soon. 

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