As the global economic toll of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic mounts, governments and businesses face stark choices choosing between the economy and public health. For example, the return of the Dow Jones Industrial Average in 2019 averaged 23.7 percent, but the Dow has amounted to 21,917 points at the end of March, down from 25,409 (13.7 percent) at the end of February. The American economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first quarter, the biggest contraction since the 2008 financial crisis. The rapid spread of the coronavirus has prompted governments to quarantine people locally and curtail cross-border travel. But public health and social well-being rely upon continued economic activity, especially the international provision of goods and services.
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To help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), many colleges and universities across the United States, including the University of Wisconsin–Madison, have closed their campuses and student housing. Schools have announced it would provide classes through alternative delivery, so as to avoid the heightened risk of community transmission. Like businesses and organizations, universities have canceled upcoming events and asked students, faculty, and staff to remain at home and reconsider all non-essential travel.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the University of Wisconsin–Madison was shaken by a series of student protests against the Vietnam War and the use of force by responding authorities. In 1967, students amassed to protest the recruiting efforts on campus of the Dow Chemical Company, which made napalm that the United States used on the battlefield. What began as peaceful civil disobedience turned violent as city police officers with riot sticks forcibly removed students from today’s Ingraham Hall. The clash involved thousands and injured dozens. And in 1970, a bomb exploded next to Sterling Hall aimed at destroying the Army Math Research Center, killing a university physics researcher. These events hardened campus relationships and emboldened a new generation of steadfast pacifists.
A blog post by the Office of the Chancellor dated August 22 entitled "UW's relationship with China," which originally mentioned Taiwan in the student statistics, sparked a degree of controversy among Taiwanese students. Many Taiwanese students sent e-mails to protest, arguing that China is not Taiwan and that Taiwan is a sovereign and independent country. The Office of the Chancellor responded by revising the data to be more specific to mainland China.