Letter to the Editor | UI freshman orientation was irresponsible

A UI alumni writes how they are embarrassed that the university held freshmen orientation at Kinnick Stadium without COVID-19 precautions.

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Jerod Ringwald

Iowa freshman students wave to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital during Kick Off at Kinnick at Kinnick Stadium on Friday, Aug. 19. (Jerod Ringwald/The Daily Iowan)


As a second-generation alum of the University of Iowa (Class of 1981), I was embarrassed by my university and the callous and unthinking “freshman” orientation event held at Kinnick Stadium on Aug. 20. The tradition of saluting the children’s hospital during home football games is a good and honorable tradition, but what happened on Friday was not.

Friday was a large gathering of many unmasked students standing in close proximity with each other (with uncertain vaccination status). They then gathered into a non-social distanced “I” and waved at the immunocompromised, unable to be vaccinated patients in the children’s hospital. Think about that for a second.

Critically, the university missed a chance to turn this into something that could have been effective. Hand out to each student a Herky the Hawkeye mask. Insist that they wear the mask.  For the “I,” use the entire field to ensure social distancing. Send the message that a smart Hawkeye knows the danger of COVID-19 and the proper steps to mitigate the virus. Instead of a proverbial middle finger to the children’s hospital, this could have been a great chance to show care.    

— David Craven, Chicago resident

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