Students are key to reopening, Warmack says

By: Panther staff report
Sep 15, 2020

President Dwaun J. Warmack speaks at the virtual matriculation day ceremony.


Students hold the key to Claflin University successfully reopening the campus in September, President Dwaun J. Warmack said Sept. 10 during the annual matriculation day ceremony.

His speech followed a Sept. 4 letter to Claflin students, faculty and administration announcing that the campus would reopen on Sept. 19 and 20. Students will have to show in advance that they have tested negative for COVID-19.

“How long our campus will remain open will largely depend on the students’ behavior,” Warmack said. Students must follow all recommended protocols, including wearing masks and practicing social distancing.

“The campus must remain a safe and healthy environment for everyone,” Warmack said.

“We can do this together,” he said, expressing confidence that the campus can safely reopen and remain open.

Warmack said the campus has been prepared for the return of students. As cited in his Sept. 4 letter, those preparations include sanitizing classrooms and desks, spacing to promote at least six feet of distance, and installing sneeze guards, Plexiglass and other safety measures to ensure safe use of classrooms and other facilities.

Amid the continuing coronavirus pandemic, the matriculation event opening the academic year was held for the first time online via Claflin’s YouTube channel. It also featured the freshman confirmation ceremony and swearing in of Student Government Association officers.

Warmack welcomed more than 500 freshmen as well as other classes.

He said Claflin is facing “a challenging and unprecedented academic year” amid the coronoavirus pandemic that forced moving to online learning in the spring of 2020. The fall semester to date has been exclusively online.

“These are tough times, but tough times don’t last forever. But tough people do,” Warmack said.

Students are facing difficult financial times, Warmack said. Claflin officials are “doubling down” in efforts to find funds for student scholarships.

Claflin itself is fiscally sound, Warmack said. A fiscally responsible approach must continue.

Warmack said Claflin is buidling on the history of the university as a pioneering institution for inclusiveness and higher learning in South Carolina. “Claflin University is on the edge of greatness.”

He urged all people to vote in the 2020 election, saying doing so is consistent with the Claflin creed.

SGA officers installed at the ceremony for 2020-21 are: President Marquel Sanders, Vice President Isaiah Griffin, Corresponding Secretary MiKenna Toney, Recording Secretary Rachel Cooper, Treasurer Tre’ Jeter, Student Activity Board President Madison Whetstone, Chaplain Majayla Page.

The confirmation ceremony for freshman class was led by Mr. Claflin Jalen Canty and included freshmen reciting the Claflin creed.

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