Wente, Kopstain to host virtual town hall May 13 to discuss reopening of campus


Interim Chancellor and Provost Susan R. Wente and Vice Chancellor for Administration Eric Kopstain will host a virtual town hall meeting on Wednesday, May 13, to discuss the phased reopening of Vanderbilt’s campus. The online meeting via Zoom will begin at noon CT, and registration is required to attend.

Register for the May 13 virtual town hall. >>

The Zoom meeting has a capacity of 3,000 participants, and the first 3,000 people to register will be able to join. The May 13 event is the first of several opportunities for Vanderbilt community members to hear from university leaders about the gradual ramp-up of campus activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Those who register by 3 p.m. on Tuesday, May 12, may submit questions ahead of the town hall within the registration form. Those who are unable to attend the virtual meeting and have questions or would like further information should contact

In a message last week to the university community, Wente announced that specific, limited on-campus operations and activities will resume May 18 and be tailored to Vanderbilt’s unique density, operations and other considerations as a residential education institution. This gradual reopening of campus follows the start of Phase 1 of Mayor John Cooper’s Roadmap for Reopening Nashville on May 11.

“Vanderbilt University is charting our own specific plan, one that recognizes the distinct needs of our community and the many ways that our physical campus serves our students, faculty and staff,” Wente wrote in her “Open Mind” column on Monday. “The people of Vanderbilt, and particularly our students, are our reason for having a beautiful and interconnected campus in the first place. Together, you are the fuel behind our mission and our motivation for coming back together as soon as we safely can.”

Over the past weeks—as a large majority of faculty, staff and students have been working and learning remotely—multiple committees, working groups and task forces have developed the university’s Return to Campus plan. The plan is guided by Vanderbilt’s unique circumstances and considers public health status and operating guidance from the federal government, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Tennessee Department of Public Health and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The first operations to begin ramping up during the university’s Phase 1 will be on-campus research activities that cannot be conducted remotely.

Vanderbilt also has developed detailed, rigorous sets of campus-wide operating protocols. The Phase 1 protocols will include physical distancing, density limits in all workspaces and building areas, wearing face masks, monitoring and reporting symptoms of illness, event and gathering limitations and other safety precautions.

Wente and Kopstain will share more about the Return to Campus plan, operating protocols, and the current, expected phases for Vanderbilt’s continued ramp-up of activities at the May 13 meeting, as well as address questions submitted by the Vanderbilt community.

Register for the May 13 virtual town hall here.