Letter to Campus Community

July 8, 2008

Dear Whitman Faculty, Staff and Students,

The summer break provides an opportunity for many of us to catch up on projects and make plans and preparations for next year.  With that in mind, I have asked a group of key Whitman leaders to work on a plan for the college to respond to the realistic threat of pandemic flu as a part of our overall Emergency Management Plan. 

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization and leading health experts agree that the threat of a flu pandemic is real and urge all levels of society to prepare.  Collectively, they say “when,” not “if.” Pandemics have occurred repeatedly throughout history. Currently experts are concerned about the H5N1 virus (bird or avian flu), which is increasing in virulency and geographical scope.

The difficult part of raising this topic is that it seems alarmist.  Please do not interpret it that way – our community is not in immediate danger.  Yet it is important that we all take precautionary steps.   Individual and family emergency preparedness are critically important to Whitman’s ability to care for students.  I urge you to learn more about pandemics and prepare in your own homes for this event.  The best, most comprehensive source of information at this time is:

www.pandemicflu.gov

Whitman’s Pandemic Planning Team is in the process of creating a preparation and response plan for the college.  A list of team members, helpful resources and more information about the plan are available at:

http://www.whitman.edu/content/president/strategic-initiatives/pandemic

Although the reality of a pandemic occurring may seem remote to us, the Pandemic Planning Team and I believe it is our responsibility to become prepared for potential crises.  The safety and wellness of our community is vital. Your knowledge and understanding will contribute to the college being prepared to do everything in our power to respond with the best possible outcomes.

Thank you for your attention. Communication about pandemic planning will be ongoing, including information about resources you can access to help answer your questions.

George Bridges and the Pandemic Planning Team

  

PANDEMIC PLANNING TEAM:

  • Tracee Anderson, Chair — Counseling Center
  • Susan Holme Brick — Director of International Programs
  • Tony Cabasco — Dean of Admission and Financial Aid
  • Tom Callister — Associate Dean of the Faculty
  • Charles Cleveland  — Dean of Students
  • Ellen Collette — Director of Welty Health Center
  • Roger Edens — General Manager of Bon Appetit – Dining Services
  • Peter Harvey — Treasurer, Secretary to the Board of Trustees
  • Cindy Matern — Director of Administrative Services
  • Mukulu Mweu — Associate Dean of Students: Intercultural Programs and Services
  • Dan Park — Director of Physical Plant
  • Keiko Pitter — Chief Technology Officer
  • Kathy Rogers — Safety Coordinator
  • Nancy Tavelli — Associate Dean of Students: Campus Life and Director of Residence Life
  • Terry Thompson — Director of Security
  • Ruth Wardwell — Director of Communications