Mayor Aspacher Statement: BGSU Students Returning

As we near the time when BGSU students will return to our community, it is important that our entire community consider how we can work cooperatively to optimize the health and safety of all those living, working, studying, and visiting Bowling Green.  To that end, citizens have reached out to me to ask about community plans for the increasing population associated with the BGSU return to campus.    Communicating about the start of fall semester is a regular activity for the City and the University and, in any other year, we would be having conversations about traffic flow during move-in, off-campus student conduct, how to educate students about their responsibilities while living within the community, and other routine items. As we are all aware, though, 2020 is anything but routine.  As we face the fall of 2020, it is more important than ever that we take a community approach to the months ahead and recognize each of our roles and responsibilities as members of the Bowling Green Community.

Working directly with President Rogers and other BGSU administrators, our conversations about the fall have mostly centered on the coronavirus and how we, as a combined university-city community, can help educate returning students of their responsibilities in helping to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.  President Rogers and I have also met with landlords and downtown bar/restaurant owners about this important topic and discussed their roles and responsibilities to the community.

The City will approach this issue in two significant ways: we will communicate and educate returning students and we will enforce the health orders directed by the State of Ohio.  The communication and educational aspect of this has already begun with a joint letter from President Rogers and myself going out to off-campus tenants.  In this letter, we spelled out that students have both the power and the responsibility to adhere to the health orders and provisions within their leases that limit the size of any gathering.  Students were also reminded that enforcement of applicable laws and the health orders will occur through law enforcement means as well as the BGSU student code of conduct.  BGSU has employed a Chief Health Officer and is working on ways to reinforce and educate health guidelines through the semester.

While communicating, educating, and enforcing health and safety with students both on and off campus is an important focus right now, we also ask that all members of the Bowling Green community prioritize and adhere to health orders. In essence, we are entering into a social contract as a community.  The actions of one can impact the health of others.  We must hold ourselves and our community to the highest of standards and be actively aware and practice the health guidelines within the community.

The City of Bowling Green is proud to be the home of Bowling Green State University.  There is great importance to all of us in approaching the coming months with common goals.  There is a weighty responsibility for all of us in the times ahead and I implore each of us to take seriously the challenges and opportunities to make health-minded decisions.  As Mayor, I will continue to work cooperatively with BGSU as we traverse these ever-changing and difficult times.

 

Mayor Aspacher and President Rogers Joint Letter