Opinion: Student voices his concerns on Lindenwood COVID-19 response

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A Lindenwood student voices his concerns on how Lindenwood is handling the pandemic.

Joseph Schnapp, Contributing writer

Editor’s note: Lindenlink welcomes opinions from all members of the Lindenwood community regarding issues of public interest.

Joseph Schnapp is a Lindenwood student and submitted his letter to Lindenlink.


Open Letter From: Joseph Schnapp, a Lindenwood University student

To Terry Whittum: Senior VP of Enrollment Management and Student Engagement

Dear Mr. Whittum,

On Monday, September 14, you sent an E-Mail to Lindenwood University students regarding new changes in the consequences of housing violations involving visitation and alcohol. This email was hypocritical and the new consequences are unfair to students.

I don’t understand how you can blame just students for the rise of COVID-19 cases at Lindenwood. Just two days before you sent the e-mail, the school hosted a memorial for Lou Brock. From what I saw, there was at least 20 people standing in front of the Lou Brock Statue by the baseball field. None of these people were socially distanced (just take a look at some of the pictures Lindenwood posted to its Instagram after the event) and the group was bigger than ten, the maximum group size the school recommends to students. In fact, there was a sign saying as much only a few yards away. In addition, there were a bunch of police cars there, so many that the school had to close Tompkins Street from the Scheidegger intersection to the Karen Street/John Weber Drive intersection . These police included St. Charles police, St. Louis County police, and St. Louis City police. I am confused as to why, in the middle of a pandemic, at a University that allegedly takes the pandemic serious, the University is inviting people from out of town to events. That seems like a really good way to spread the virus. This is reckless behavior and this puts students, faculty, staff, and families at risk.

Everyday Lindenlink puts out a diagram showing the COVID-19 data for the school. This data includes confirmed cases as well as potential cases awaiting test results. On September 14, the same day that you sent your e-mail, Lindenlink reported a new confirmed case amongst the employees. Unless the employee was committing visitation and alcohol violations with students, I don’t think you can place the blame entirely on the student body the way your email insinuates. It is also impossible to tell for certain that partying is the reason COVID-19 confirmations have risen on campus. Students have off campus jobs, off campus hobbies, and other reasons to be off campus. All of these times off campus could result in COVID exposures. It is unfair to place blame and therefore stronger consequences on all students when this virus is so contagious and so hard to contact trace.

The consequences you put forth in your email, “ALL students involved in an infraction involving visitation and alcohol will be suspended…students will not be eligible for a refund of the room and board charges.” This is unfair because these rules were published after the period for students to appeal their housing contracts and get a refund. This essentially traps us into the housing contract even if we disagree with the terms of the contract. If this rule is enforced the way you say it will be, that would be like stealing from the student body.

Going to a university is about more than just learning from books and classrooms. Going to a university means learning how to be a responsible, self-supportive, member of society. How can students be expected to become responsible members of society when the school is telling them how to think? These rules take away the chance for students to develop this responsibility. Rather than taking the risk, getting sick, and figuring out partying was a bad choice, you are teaching that someone will always be there to tell us right from wrong which is not the reality of life outside of school.

I feel, for this reason and others, that the school’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been less than satisfactory and detrimental to the education and college experience of students. I think Lindenwood has done a great job of teaching academics wise. My professors here have taught me how to write something like this and distribute it with confidence. I think the Lindenwood administration needs to step up and deliver a fully rounded education to its students. I would like to continue this conversation with you and potentially other members of the school’s administration and representatives from the Lindenwood Student Government.

Thank You,

Joseph Schnapp


Correction: Lindenlink posts COVID-19 data diagrams every weekday, not every day.