Leavitt discusses Chauvin verdict, graduation

Carter Uslabar, Editor in Chief

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Andrew Leavitt joined the Oshkosh Student Association (OSA) assembly meeting to discuss the implications of the conviction of Derek Chauvin in the trial for George Floyd’s murder, what classes will look like in the fall and the upcoming graduation ceremonies.

Shortly after the verdict was announced in the Chauvin trial, Leavitt’s office sent out an email encouraging students and the campus community to continue examining the culture that has perpetuated systems of injustice for so long. He echoed these sentiments in the OSA assembly.

“What we need to emphasize is that this is justice for a single day, but it doesn’t begin to make up for or address the systemic racism that we still have within our institutions such as higher ed, medicine, law, leasing, you name it,” Leavitt said.

“I would not call today’s verdict justice, however, because justice implies true restoration,” Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said of the verdict. “But it is accountability, which is the first step towards justice, and now the cause of justice is in your hands.”

Riffing off Ellison’s statement, Leavitt said today hopefully has broken a wall in terms of the infallibility of the police.

Leavitt went on to say the events surrounding George Floyd’s murder informed his decision to rename UWO’s theatre, which was previously named after Fredric March, a University of Wisconsin Madison alumni who was once a member of the Ku Klux Klan.


Leavitt said the university is working hard towards having in-person graduation ceremonies at the Kolf Sports Center. Currently there are four ceremonies slated for Saturday, May 15: one at 8 a.m., one at 11 a.m., one at 2 p.m. and one at 5 p.m.

In addition to offering an in-person graduation ceremony, the ceremonies will all be live-streamed, as attendance will be limited to maintain safety protocols.

Class come fall 2021

For the most part, according to Leavitt, classes in fall 2021 will work like they did prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 80% of instruction will take place in person, with the remaining percentage being held online normally regardless of the pandemic.

Leavitt said online class will continue to be a viable option for students, which the university hopes to expand.

What will change in fall 2021 is a reduction in classes delivered via the ‘hyflex’ method, wherein professors teach a class both online and in-person simultaneously.

“Our faculty and staff did a marvelous job preparing for [the hyflex delivery] during this year of COVID-19, but it’s not sustainable,” Leavitt said. “It’s killing them. The amount of work they have to put in to teach two modalities simultaneously is considerable.”

Leavitt said the most noticeable difference between fall 2021 and a regular year is that students will still be expected to wear face masks until a large-enough percentage of the population is vaccinated.

Marching Band

UWO has announced its plans to have a marching band established by the fall of 2022. Leavitt said it was one of his goals since he arrived at UWO in 2014.

“It’s the number-one activity incoming students request that we don’t offer,” Leavitt said Tuesday. “I was in high-school marching band; I did marching band in college for two years—really loved it, had a great time—and this is something that I think will bring a lot of new students to the institution and a lot of school spirit.”

The UWO marching band’s proposed name is the Titan Thunder.