President’s Update: In-person fall classes end next week; reasons to be thankful

November 20, 2020

Dear Clemson Family:

Today marks the end of our final full week of in-person classes for the fall semester. After next Tuesday, all classes will revert to online instruction, and we are strongly encouraging our students to not return to the Clemson area following the Thanksgiving holiday.

These steps are consistent with our ongoing commitment to keeping students, employees and the community safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of that commitment, I urge any students who haven’t received a COVID-19 test recently to take advantage of our free testing at Littlejohn Coliseum next Monday and Tuesday before heading home for the holiday. The testing site will be open from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day and students can reserve a time slot here.

As we wrap up on-campus instruction and activities for the fall, I want to thank our faculty and staff for their continued great work this semester. Our testing and quarantine strategy allowed us to handle the expected short-term spike in cases when our students returned to campus in September, and for the past several weeks our rate of positive cases has been between 1-2 percent, much lower than the state and national averages.

Our preparations for the spring semester, and beyond, are well underway. We have heard the desire of some students and their parents for more in-person classes next semester and we are working to meet that need. More than half of our classes next semester will be offered with at least some in-person component, and the number of classes scheduled to be conducted completely in the traditional mode also will be greater.

All in-person classes will be conducted under the current COVID-19 safety protocols, which have proven effective. While our ability to offer large classes completely in-person is somewhat limited by classroom space constraints, our team has done a terrific job maximizing the available space, and we’re looking forward to more face-to-face instruction in the spring.

Looking even farther ahead, we’re already planning for our on-campus students who will be with us next fall. In fact, current students will be receiving information next week on how they can sign-up for on-campus housing for next fall. Housing applications for returning campus residents will be accepted beginning January 10, 2021 and students should look for application instructions in their e-mail next week.

Board adopts new Standards of Ethical Conduct policy

Clemson University’s Board of Trustees recently adopted a new policy to protect the University’s reputation for excellence and integrity. The Standards of Ethical Conduct, available here, sets forth the general principles to which the Board subscribes and expects every member of the University community to adhere.

The policy covers ethical standards, compliance with law, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, and academic and research integrity, and more. The policy sets forth both the expectations for the entire University and its members, and outlines reporting and enforcement guidance to ensure compliance. This is just another way Clemson strives to lives its values every day. 

Commencement a big success

I was thrilled to be able to spend much of last weekend in Greenville celebrating our May and August graduates. Altogether, more than 2,200 graduates and their families joined us for one of seven ceremonies at Bon Secours Wellness Arena and it was great to see so many smiling faces.

We are scheduled to hold commencement for our December graduates at Bon Secours December 16 and 17, and I am looking forward to both days already. Our Class of 2020 graduates deserve all the praise we can give them for completing their degree requirements under very challenging circumstances. I know they will make the world a better place, just as Clemson graduates have been doing for nearly 130 years.

Taking a moment to be thankful

This year has been extraordinarily challenging for many of us. Virtually all of us have been directly impacted, or knows of someone who has been impacted, by the ongoing pandemic.

Still, there is much about which to be thankful. I am especially thankful to be part of the Clemson Family and for the opportunity to work alongside thousands of amazing and dedicated people who want nothing more than to serve our great state and provide the life-changing opportunity of a college education to our students. I also firmly believe that what unites us is greater than what divides us, and that by working through our differences with respect and civility, we can meet the challenges we face. In fact, the values of honesty, respect and integrity drive everything we do at Clemson.

I want to wish everyone in the Clemson Family a wonderful Thanksgiving. Please do what you can to stay safe and keep those around you heathy. To our students, good luck on final exams and happy holidays – I already miss you and look forward to seeing you back on campus in January.

Go Tigers!


Clemson University's 15th president, James P. Clements