Virtual Town Hall: COVID-19, Systemic Racism, and the Responses of Colleges and Universities

Colleges and universities across the United States serve the educational needs of millions of students, advancing the full spectrum of human knowledge while invigorating the cultural, social, and economic horizons of the regions they serve. And today, these institutions are at the forefront of the fight against COVID-19, researching treatments, keeping their states and communities informed, and treating patients at academic medical centers. This fall they will also become a center of gravity for public debates and demonstrations aimed at raising awareness of systemic racism and the need for a deeper national commitment to social justice.

As college and university presidents look toward the fall, what have they learned from the COVID-19 crisis, how will their institutions evolve as a result, and what might that mean for the future of higher education in America? How will public universities adapt to the serious financial challenges likely to arise in states and the nation in the months ahead? And how are institutional leaders preparing to support students from around the world, provide a vibrant public forum for campus and community debates, and explore their commitments to social justice and anti-racism?

Please join the presidents of three of the nation’s premier colleges and universities on July 13 as they discuss these and other timely and vital issues. This event is the fifth in a series is hosted by the National Academies’ Board on Higher Education and Workforce and Issues in Science and Technology and sponsored by the Kresge Foundation.


  • Chancellor Michael Alexander, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay (bio)
  • President Carrie Besnette Hauser, Colorado Mountain College (bio)
  • President M. Roy Wilson, Wayne State University (bio)

Moderated by Kumble R. Subbaswamy, Chancellor of the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Chair, Board on Higher Education and Workforce

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