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Office of The President California State University, Sacramento

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Presidential Communications

President Robert S. Nelsen’s messages to students, faculty, and staff.

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Convocation Postponed

Sept. 21, 2021 - Sacramento State is committed to doing the work necessary to create an antiracist and inclusive campus culture. This work is our work. It is individual, and it is collective. It falls on University leadership, and it falls on each unit within the University. This is the work of the entire Hornet Family, not just the Division of Inclusive Excellence. However, the work is and will be led by the Division of Inclusive Excellence.

With this caveat in mind, and with the current hiring process underway for vice president for Inclusive Excellence, we have made the decision to postpone Convocation, which was scheduled for Sept. 29, to Feb. 25. Though this decision was difficult, I believe it is the right choice. Postponing Convocation will allow the new VP for IE and her staff to get to know each other and to spend time learning about the needs of our Hornet Family. Convocation is a time to celebrate what we are doing, acknowledge where we need improvement, and affirm our collective commitment. The new VP for Inclusive Excellence needs to be given the time to be a part of that process and imprint her vision for the role of IE in this important convening.

I do not mean to imply that we have to wait for a new VP to be in place before we can do this work together. We are already engaged in antiracism work. From implementing the Bias Incident Reporting system, to requiring departments to consult with Inclusive Excellence in all faculty searches, to listening to the voices in the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan, we are making forward progress. This semester, we will also offer opportunities for facilitated conversations to share and listen.

I would be remiss not to acknowledge the tremendous turnover that took place in the Division of Inclusive Excellence over the past several months. I am grateful for the work that interim VP Melinda Wilson Ramey and interim VP William “Skip” Bishop have done this summer to move us forward in the important, and often painful, work of understanding where we are and where we need to go as a Hornet Family. With the addition of Katherine Betts as our Bias Response director, Dr. Lina Rincon as our new director of Faculty Diversity and Inclusion, Robert Reyes as director of Inclusive Excellence Learning, along with a new vice president starting soon, I am extremely optimistic about the future of the Division of Inclusive Excellence and the impact the team’s work will have on our campus community.

The improvements in the number of our students graduating over the past several years are proof that we can do the work to change the culture on our campus. Though this is much harder than adding sections, improving advising, and removing administrative barriers, I believe that we are capable of doing everything that is necessary to fulfill our potential to be an antiracist, inclusive campus where everyone knows that they matter.

I want to express my gratitude to all seven planning groups and the Planning Fellows who helped write the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan. We as a Cabinet and we as a University hear you and are learning from you. Your work will guide us and will make us a stronger, even more resilient and caring Hornet Family.

Honorary Doctorate Nominations Now Being Accepted

Sept. 20, 2021 - Sacramento State’s honorary degrees selection committee invites nominations for honorary doctorates to be conferred during 2022 Commencement.

The California State University (CSU) awards honorary doctorates to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, the nation, and/or the world. Recipients serve as examples to be recognized and honored for their exemplary contributions. More information about honorary doctorates, including past recipients, can be found on our Honorary Degrees page.

To learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination, please review the nomination form. The submission deadline is Oct. 22, 2021. If you have questions about the nomination process, please contact Gladys Glaude at (916) 278-4952 or gladysg@csus.edu.

President's Update

Sept. 17, 2021 - Hiring a new vice president for Inclusive Excellence comes at a critical time for the Hornet Family as we continue the difficult but important work of becoming an antiracist and inclusive campus. After a nationwide search, we are pleased to welcome to campus next week three outstanding finalists for that position.

Finalist interviews will begin Tuesday, Sept. 21.

We encourage you to participate in open forums with each of the finalists. The open forum sessions with the campus community are noted below. All sessions will be in the Welcome Center and available via livestream. Resumes/CVs for the candidates are available by clicking on their names. A link to rsvp for the livestream or to attend in-person is included for each candidate. In-person attendance is limited to 30. ASL interpretation and live captioning will be provided. Please indicate if you require additional accommodations when you register.

Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Stephany Rose Spaulding, Ph.D.
Interim Associate Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
University of Colorado
Colorado Springs, CO
RSVP for the livestream
RSVP to attend in-person

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Mia Settles-Tidwell, Ed.D.
Assistant Vice Chancellor/Chief of Staff Equity & Inclusion
University of California, Berkeley
Berkeley, CA
RSVP for the livestream
RSVP to attend in-person

Thursday, Sept. 23, 2:30-3:30 p.m.
Josephine M. Moreno, Ph.D.
Graduate Diversity Officer
University of California, Davis
Davis, CA
RSVP for the livestream
RSVP to attend in-person

I commend the search committee for the care its members took in identifying high-quality candidates for this critical position. I want to extend my thanks to the committee members for their diligence and time during this process. We had an impressive pool and an outstanding initial round of interviews. I hope you will attend the open forums next week.
Please use this survey to provide comments and feedback about each of the candidates. The survey will open Tuesday, Sept. 21, and close at 1 p.m. Friday, Sept. 24.

Invitation to Volunteer for a Strategic Plan Focus Group

Sept. 13, 2021 - As you may know, Sacramento State is working on a new strategic plan. We have partnered with MGT Consulting, a firm with extensive experience in higher education strategic planning, to facilitate this process. An important step in creating a new strategic plan is gathering perspectives, experiences, and feedback from the various stakeholder groups that make up our campus community.

As part of this process, MGT will conduct focus groups with students, faculty, staff and administrators, and alumni the week of Sept. 20-24. If you are willing to participate in a focus group, please complete this form to share your contact information. Fifteen participants for each focus group will be randomly chosen from the lists of those who complete the form by 9 p.m. Sept. 15.

Participation in the focus groups is voluntary. If you are randomly selected to participate, a representative from MGT will contact you with the date and time for your focus group. Focus groups will take approximately one hour and will be conducted via Zoom.

You have valuable experiences and perspectives to share, and I hope you agree to participate. I value your insights and appreciate your contributions to the new Sacramento State strategic plan. Stingers Up!

Vaccination Policy Updates

Sept. 9, 2021 - I am pleased to share that the CSU and the CFA and UAW have completed the meet-and-confer process regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy. The CFA has agreed to the policy in its entirely and UAW has agreed via Memorandum of Understanding.

I want to thank everyone in the Hornet Family – faculty, staff, students, and administrators – who has been vaccinated and certified to being vaccinated. I respect all faculty, staff, and students who have opted into religious and medical exemptions, but it is time to admit and embrace that we are at a critical juncture where we must protect one another. Individuals who obtain an exemption are obligated to protect the Hornet Family. No member of the Hornet Family is permitted simply to object to vaccinations and still have access to the campus.

Let me be clear. All students who have opted for a medical or religious exemption will be required to test in Parking Structure 3 twice a week starting Sept. 13. Those who fail to complete their twice-weekly mandatory testing may be subject to disciplinary action and denied access to campus. Beginning Sept. 27, students who have not certified their status or who have exemptions but miss their weekly testing will be disenrolled from face-to-face courses or academic programs. After that date, faculty teaching face-to-face classes with students who have not certified their status or have missed their mandatory testing will receive notice that the students do not have the privilege to be on campus or in the class.

As you know, last week CSUEU also agreed to the systemwide COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy. CFA, CSUEU, UAPD, and UAW employees join our non-represented staff, MPPs, and students as active participants in this critically important policy. CFA and CSUEU employees who are working on campus have until Oct. 27, 2021 to be vaccinated or to certify a religious or medical exemption. If these employees are not vaccinated by that date, and do not have authorized permission to work off campus or have not attested to a medical or religious exception, they will be in violation of the policy and may be subject to disciplinary action.

Students seeking more information regarding COVID-19 policies and procedures should visit the COVID-19 Information for Students page. Faculty and staff can find answers to frequently asked questions on our Human Resources COVID-19 page.

We are awaiting results of the meet-and-confer process with three other unions on the systemwide Vaccination Interim Policy. No disciplinary action will be initiated for any member of any of these other unions regarding that policy until the meet-and-confer process has been successfully completed. Members of these unions must be prepared to follow through with the guidelines negotiated in the meet-and-confer process, and all members of the campus community must continue to follow all required safety guidelines.

The only – and I emphasize only – safe pathway forward is for all faculty, staff, and students who are able to be vaccinated to get vaccinated. Please don’t put your fellow Hornets’ lives in danger. Please get vaccinated. Please remember that we truly are a Hornet Family. And please remember that regardless of vaccination status, we must all continue to wear a mask when indoors. We will beat this pandemic together. Stingers Up.

CSU and CSUEU Agreement on Vaccination Policy

Sept. 3, 2021 - I am pleased to share that the CSU system has reached agreement via a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with CSUEU regarding the COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy. In non-technical terms, the meet-and-confer process with CSUEU has ended successfully, and the vaccination policy now can be implemented for all employees represented by CSUEU as outlined in the MOU. The Chancellor’s Office is working closely with our other labor unions to finalize similar MOUs soon.This agreement requires CSUEU-represented employees to comply with the vaccination policy by certifying their vaccination status and providing proof of vaccination or eligibility for exemption. All employees are encouraged to self-certify by the Sept. 13 deadline, although this agreement provides up to eight weeks for CSUEU-represented employees who still need to obtain full vaccination status. This eight-week period applies only to CSUEU-represented employees, who are required by this agreement to self-certify by Oct. 27. GETTING THE VACCINE IS EASY, FREE, AND ON CAMPUS

  • Sacramento State’s vaccination site at The WELL provides vaccines at no charge to all students and employees, as well as for individuals 16 years of age or older. The one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and, upon request, the two-dose Pfizer vaccine both are available free to all employees and students.
  • Vaccinations are being given by appointment at the Terrace Suite of The WELL between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays. You can make an appointment at Sacramento State, or at many other locations throughout the state.
Thank you to all who have already certified. CSUEU employees who have not yet certified their status are encouraged to visit their Employee Center within CMS to certify their status as soon as possible, preferably by Sept. 13, but no later than Oct. 27.I absolutely agree with CSUEU’s message regarding this MOU: “The Union considers testing to be the first line of defense for outbreaks. Screening for symptoms is required for campus access and employees with symptoms are still eligible for exclusion pay. The vaccine mandate is simply one more level of protection for the campus community.” We are truly here for each other and for our students, and as a Hornet Family, we will continue to work to keep our campus safe. Stingers Up!

Update on Status of Negotiations with CFA

Sep. 1, 2021 - The CSU system has asked me to share with the campus community the current state of the bargaining negotiations with the CFA for a successor agreement—please see the communiqué from the CSU dated Aug. 31. I am pleased that the negotiations are making progress on many fronts. Like many of you, I am certain, I can’t wait to have a finalized contract. I hope that both sides can soon reach a resolution to increase compensation for faculty.

Support for Afghan Students

Aug. 30, 2021 - As have so many of you, I have watched the events unfolding in Afghanistan with a heavy heart, and I was deeply saddened by the attack outside the Kabul airport that killed 13 U.S. servicemembers and more than 150 Afghan men, women, and children. Sacramento State mourns the loss of these lives and denounces the senseless acts of terrorism responsible for the devastation and grief that too many families must now endure. We also lost one of our hometown heroes, Marine Corps Sgt. Nicole Gee of the Sacramento region. We deeply fear for our students whom we have not been able to rescue from inside Afghanistan.

The events in Afghanistan during the past week have directly impacted the Hornet Family. Newly admitted and continuing students alike have experienced firsthand the effects of the Afghan government’s fall. Some have reported difficulty exiting the country and face an uncertain future. Times such as these remind us that Sac State is a global community of learners.

I am gravely concerned about those students and their families who are still trying to evacuate from Afghanistan. Sacramento State’s Associate Vice President for International Programs and Global Engagement, Dr. Paul Hofmann, is coordinating with stakeholders across campus, the local community, and government agencies to help all members of the Hornet Family who have experienced hardships related to the events in Afghanistan. Impacted students, staff, or faculty who need assistance can reach out to Dr. Hofmann at paul.hofmann@csus.edu.

The State of California, City of Sacramento, and Sacramento State will continue to welcome Afghan refugees and assist them with their transition to the United States. There will be a great need for housing, language training, and job placement. To meet these needs, we will be called upon to demonstrate the compassionate caring that defines our Hornet Family, an international family dedicated to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones or to those still waiting to hear the fates of loved ones still in Afghanistan. To our Afghan students, faculty, and staff, you are important members of the Hornet Family, and we will continue to use our resources to assist in every way we can.

If you would like to help impacted Sacramento State students, consider giving to Sacramento State. Please be sure to include “Afghan relief” in the notes portion of the donation form.

If you would like to support efforts to assist Afghan refugees resettling in the area, you can donate or volunteer at these organizations:

President's Update

Aug. 26, 2021 - Sacramento State is undertaking a Feasibility Study to better understand the University’s needs and capacity to create a sustainable partnership with the California Mobility Center (CMC). The CMC is a Sacramento-based public-private partnership of governmental and non-governmental entities, leading universities and colleges, electric utilities, technology and automotive companies, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists whose work focuses on accelerating the commercialization of clean technology innovations. Sacramento State’s partnership with CMC will promote our shared goals of fostering innovation, research, and workforce development on key transportation, energy, and environmental issues.

As part of the Feasibility Study, a University-wide survey has been developed to solicit input from Sacramento State administrators, faculty, and staff. Your responses to the survey will provide valuable insights about the University’s capacity to adapt to new trends in green and clean technologies. I hope you will take a few minutes to share your insights by completing the survey.

The deadline to complete the survey has been extended to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021. If you have questions about the survey, please reach out to Coleen Morehead of Clear Strategies at cmorehead@clear-strategies.com.

Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts and experiences. I look forward to learning more about how we can maximize our partnership with CMC. Stingers Up!

Reminder: President's Fall Address is Tomorrow

Aug. 24, 2021 - Tomorrow morning I will deliver my Fall Address, which I hope will answer many of your questions about how we will move forward as a Hornet Family this year. Immediately following the speech, several campus leaders will join me on stage for an hour-long Q&A session. We will take questions live from the in-person audience and from those joining us virtually via Zoom webinar. The Address will take place in the University Ballroom at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Aug. 25. If you have not yet, please RSVP if you plan to attend.

I am eager to see you in person as I deliver the address, but those who cannot be with us on campus can participate via the Zoom webinar. The event will be recorded and posted on the University website for those unable to attend tomorrow morning. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations to view the Fall Address, please contact events@csus.edu.

I look forward to sharing all that we have accomplished while we were apart, and to doing my best to answer all of your questions. Stingers Up!

Voter Information for Recall Election

Aug. 23, 2021 - Sacramento State is devoted to the civic engagement of our students, and I am pleased that once again Associated Students Inc. (ASI) has made participation in our local, state, and national elections a priority. The simple act of voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and has never been more important.
As you likely know, a statewide gubernatorial recall election is underway. The recall ballot will ask two questions. First, should Gov. Newsom be recalled? Second, if he is recalled, who should replace him?

  • If 50% or more vote NO on the first question, the governor would remain in office.
  • If more than 50% vote YES on the first question, the governor would be removed from office and the person with the most votes on the second question would win the election with no majority required.

All active, registered California voters will receive a vote-by-mail ballot for the Sept. 14, 2021, recall election. County elections offices began mailing ballots in mid-August. The deadline to register to vote is midnight Aug. 30, but eligible voters are encouraged to do so well in advance. You can register to vote and check your existing registration status online.

Voters must return their vote-by-mail ballot by Sept. 14, 2021. Ballots can be mailed, or dropped off in person to a secure ballot drop box. While each county in California conducts its own election, we are excited that Sacramento County voters who choose not to mail their ballots can use a ballot drop box at Sacramento State’s Welcome Center, which is adjacent to Parking Structure V. The drop box is available during normal business hours from now through Sept. 14.

In-person voting will be available in Sacramento County starting Sept. 4 at select Vote Centers, with additional centers open Sept. 11 - 14. Sacramento State again will host a Vote Center on campus at Modoc Hall. The Vote Center, operated by Sacramento County’s Department of Voter Registration and Elections, replaces the traditional Election Day-only polling places. The Vote Center will be open for the three days prior to the election and on Election Day, and is available to all registered voters in Sacramento County for in-person voting or ballot drop-off. Physical distancing and safety precautions will be in place at the Vote Center. Additionally, Sacramento County voters can pick up a replacement ballot at the Vote Center.

The Vote Center’s schedule is:

  • 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 11 - Monday, Sept. 13
  • 7 a.m.- 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 14 (Election Day)

Same-day voter registration and voting also are available at the Vote Center for Sacramento County residents. Same-day ballots will not be counted until after the county elections office has verified registration, so it is best to register before Aug. 30.

I sincerely hope that each eligible member of the Hornet Family will register to vote and take part in this year’s election.

Save the Date: Fall 2021 Presidential Convocation

Aug. 18, 2021 - Sacramento State remains committed to fighting racism, bias, and social injustice on our campus. This past year, approximately 80 students, faculty, staff came together to collectively develop the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan. Now, it is time for Sacramento State to begin the important work of implementing the plan, of actually healing our campus.

To that end, we invite every member of the Hornet Family to participate in our second annual diversity convocation, “ELEVATE and ACTIVATE! The Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan,” which will take place virtually 8 a.m. - noon Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021. This convocation is our first opportunity to learn more about the plan and share preliminary steps for implementing it. There also will be an opportunity to hear directly from the President, Cabinet members, and those whose work resulted in the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan.

We all need to come together. We all play an important role in creating an antiracist campus. Therefore, I encourage all students, faculty, and staff to participate in the convocation. In accordance with University Policy, classes may be dismissed during a convocation, and students should not be penalized for attending it if their classes are not dismissed.

Please mark your calendar and join us on Sept. 29 as we gather – virtually – to advance our commitment to antiracism. More details and registration information will be shared in the coming weeks.

Guidance for Poor Air Quality Due to Wildfires

Aug. 18, 2021 - Due to numerous fires burning in our region, Sacramento is once again experiencing poor air quality. Currently, our air contains higher-than-average levels of wildfire particulate. The Air Quality Index (AQI) level on campus as I write this message Wednesday afternoon is between 150-200, according to AirNow.gov, the official air quality monitoring source for both the CSU Chancellor’s Office and Cal/OSHA. AirNow provides a rolling average of air quality that is updated every hour.

Employees and students should not be working, practicing, recreating, or exercising outside if the AQI goes above 200 according to AirNow. If the AQI moves above 300, all employees should work remotely. We will continue to carefully monitor both indoor and outdoor air quality, and will notify the campus community of any changes to operations via a campuswide message and our campus Emergency Notification System.

Sensitive individuals may also choose to use an N-95 mask that covers their nose and mouth. A mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. N-95 masks are available to employees and students at the following campus locations: the Information Desk at the University Union, the Welcome Center, the front desk of the Library, and the Sacramento State Police Department. If you are on campus, you can also call Risk Management at 8-2020 to request that an N-95 be brought to your office.

For more information about air pollution management at Sacramento State, or for additional resources about air quality safety, please visit our Environmental Health and Safety page or call Risk Management at (916) 278-2020.

The smoke and ash filling the air offer a stark reminder of the danger and loss facing so many, including members of our Hornet Family. Our thoughts are with you – please stay safe.

Q&A Session to Follow President's Fall Address

Aug. 17, 2021 - As you know, I will be delivering my annual President’s Fall Address at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 25. If you have not yet, please RSVP here. I look forward to seeing you in person in the University Union Ballroom or virtually via the livestream.

I hope that my Fall Address will answer your questions about how we will move forward as a Hornet Family this year. However, as I said in my message on Sunday evening, I know that I do not have all the answers.

Therefore, in lieu of our traditional networking following the address, we have decided to offer an hour-long Q&A session. I have invited members of our campus leadership to join me to answer, as best as we can, your questions. The entire President’s Cabinet also will be available. You will be able to ask questions in person or virtually via this link, which will be open at the end of the address.

As always, Sacramento State seeks to ensure that our events are inclusive and that all attendees are able to participate fully. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations for this event, please contact events@csus.edu. Stingers Up!

Welcome back

Aug. 16, 2021 - For many of you, today is your first day back on campus in over 17 months. Welcome back. Thank you for being here. We have all missed each other, and it is good to know that our Hornet Family is getting back together again. But I know this is a stressful time, and I am sure some of you are experiencing anxiety and maybe even fear. The pandemic is not over – we have not returned to normal. Not everyone is back; some of our meetings are on Zoom or Teams; and we are wearing masks. I expect that we will hit some bumps in the next few weeks, and we definitely will need to support one another. Please be kind to each other, and to yourselves, as we navigate returning to campus.

For those who need support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. Sacramento State has counselors ready to support faculty and staff through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474.

Please join me for the President's Fall Address

Aug. 15, 2021 - Please join me and your colleagues and the Hornet Family at the President’s Fall Address on Wednesday, Aug. 25 at 9 a.m.

You can attend live in the University Union Ballroom, or you can watch the livestream at home—wherever you are more comfortable as we transition to being on campus. Please RSVP here.

We have been through a lot since we were on campus together. There is a lot before us. But we are stronger together. We have accomplished so much while we were alone. We will accomplish even more in the coming year together.

Sacramento State seeks to ensure that our events are inclusive and that all attendees are able to participate fully. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations for this event, please contact events@csus.edu.

I acknowledge that we will not have all the answers, but I look forward to being a Family again. Stingers Up!

Clarification of Vaccine Policy Implementation for Employees

Aug. 11, 2021 - This letter provides clarification of Sacramento State’s implementation of California State University’s COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Policy. As you know, CSU announced on July 27 that all students and employees who access campus facilities at any location will be required to certify that they have received an approved COVID-19 vaccine or have declared an appropriate medical or religious exemption. The systemwide policy allows for a certification deadline of as soon as possible, but no later than Sept. 30. At Sacramento State, all employees must complete their certification by Sept. 13.

This policy immediately applies in its entirety to non-represented employees; however, meet-and-confer sessions over policy impacts continue for represented employees. As such, there shall be no disciplinary consequence for represented employees at this time who do not comply, although for the safety of our campus community, their voluntary participation is welcomed and encouraged.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED:

Sacramento State offers the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines on campus at no charge to all employees. Vaccines are also available in the community. To meet the Sept. 13 deadline for certification, you must have received your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Aug. 9, or the single-dose J&J vaccine by Aug. 30. For more information about the vaccine and to schedule an on-campus appointment, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page. You can also visit My Turn California to schedule a free vaccination near you.

CERTIFICATION:

As the policy is effective immediately, all employees must declare one of the following by Sept. 13:

  1. They have received an approved COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose administered at least 14 days before certification.
  2. They qualify for a medical exemption (more details below).
  3. They qualify for a religious exemption (more details below).
  4. They do not plan to access campus or any campus programs (including field placements, internships, and athletics), and that if their plans change, they will revise their certification before accessing campus or a campus program.

HOW TO CERTIFY YOUR STATUS:

  • Employees will find the CSU COVID-19 Self Certification form in their Employee Center. Please note that even if you previously self-attested through Adobe Sign, you will still need to complete this form, which has been provided by the Chancellor’s Office.
  • There will be frequent, random checks to verify vaccination status of employees. If you are chosen for a random check, you will be asked for proof of vaccination or documentation that you qualify for an exemption.
  • The University also may ask for any employee’s proof of vaccination at any time.

MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS:

The policy allows employees to be exempted from the vaccination requirement if they qualify for a medical or religious exemption.

  • Employees declaring that they qualify for a medical exemption may be asked by the campus to provide supporting documentation from a licensed health care professional.
  • Employees declaring that they qualify for a religious exemption may be asked by the campus to provide a statement about their sincerely held religious belief, observance, or practice that precludes them from receiving the vaccine.

MANDATORY TESTING:

Individuals who claim an exemption will be subject to other safety measures, including but not limited to: asymptomatic and symptomatic testing, physical distancing, wearing face coverings or other personal protective equipment, and isolation or quarantine when warranted. If they fail to comply with mandatory testing, they may be denied access to campus.

  • Employees who declare an exemption will be subject to twice-weekly COVID-19 testing.
  • Testing will be conducted on campus at no charge to the employee. More information will be forthcoming about this process.
  • Non-represented employees (i.e., administrators, confidential employees, student assistants) who fail to certify their vaccination status by Sept. 13 will be subject to mandatory testing, and may be denied access to campus or subject to further disciplinary action.

VISITORS:

All visitors to the campus will be required to wear face coverings when indoors. Event capacity, including performances and sporting events, will follow Sacramento County Public Health Guidelines.

For more information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy and Sac State’s COVID-19 FAQ page.

As the situation continues to evolve, these requirements may change. We will continue to follow the guidance of local and state public health officials and the Chancellor’s Office. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. I look forward to being safely together again. Stingers Up!

Campus offices will reopen Aug. 16

August 10, 2021 - I am sending this message to confirm that all campus offices should proceed with planned reopening on Monday, Aug. 16. Starting that day, all offices should be open and ready to provide services from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., including during the lunch hour. Managers are expected to develop and implement plans to ensure that their areas are ready to meet this operational expectation.

As a reminder, the Sacramento County Department of Public Health policy released on July 29 requires face coverings to be worn in any indoor public setting, including in public or shared offices, regardless of vaccination status. To remain in compliance with this directive, all faculty, staff, and students must wear face coverings when indoors, unless alone in their office.

Reopening our offices is important for our students and the University, and I appreciate your flexibility as we implement plans for a safe return to campus. Stingers Up!

All employees and students must be vaccinated, per the CSU

Aug. 3, 2021 - As you know, the California State University system announced last week that all students and employees who access campus facilities at any location will be required to certify that they have received an approved COVID-19 vaccine or have been granted an appropriate medical or religious exemption before accessing campus this fall. After consulting with our COVID-19 Task Force and receiving the full policy from the Chancellor’s Office, I can now provide more information about specific steps that all students and employees must take in order certify immunization status or request a medical or religious exemption by the Sept. 13 deadline.

HOW TO GET VACCINATED:

Sacramento State offers the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines at no charge to all employees and students. To meet the Sept. 13 deadline for certification of vaccination status, you must receive your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Aug. 9, or the single-dose J&J vaccine by Aug. 30. For more information about the vaccine and to schedule an on-campus appointment, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page. You can also visit My Turn California to schedule a free vaccination near you.

CERTIFICATION:
Effective immediately, as directed by the COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy, all students and employees must declare one of the following:

1. they have received an approved COVID-19 vaccination, with the final dose administered at least 14 days before certification;

2. they qualify for a medical exemption (more details below);

3. they qualify for a religious exemption (more details below); or

4. they do not plan to access campus or any campus programs (including field placements or internships and athletics), and that if their plans change, they will revise their certification prior to accessing campus or a campus program.

Employees or students who do not provide certification may be denied access to campus and in-person campus programs and may be subject to disciplinary actions.

HOW TO CERTIFY YOUR STATUS:

  • Students will find the vaccination self-certification page in their Student Center. We have created a how-to video with detailed instructions. Students will be required to include the manufacturer of their vaccine and dates they were administered each dose.
  • Employees will find the CSU COVID-19 Self Certification form in their Employee Center. Please note that even if you previously self-attested through Adobe Sign, employees will still need to complete this form, which has been provided by the Chancellor’s Office.
  • There will be frequent, random checks to verify vaccination status of employees and students. If you are chosen for a random check, you will be asked for proof of vaccination or documentation that you qualify for and have been granted an exemption.
  • The University may also ask for any student or employee’s proof of vaccination at any time.

MEDICAL AND RELIGIOUS EXEMPTIONS:
The policy allows students and employees to be excused from the vaccination requirement if they qualify for an approved medical or religious exemption.

  • Medical exemptions must be consistent with CDC guidance and manufacturer labeling on contraindications and precautions. Deferrals are available for some medical conditions. Students and employees will be required to submit documentation from a licensed health care professional. Medical exemption requests can be obtained through the student and employee vaccination certification forms.
    • Students requesting a medical exemption will be directed to Student Health and Counseling Services.
    • Employees requesting a medical exemption will be directed to the Office of Human Resources.
  • Religious exemptions may be granted if a sincerely-held religious belief, observance, or practice precludes you from receiving the COVID-19 vaccination.
    • Students and employees will be required to submit a written statement that describes the basis for requesting a religious exemption.
    • Religious exemption requests will be reviewed by the Office of Equal Opportunity.
  • Beginning Aug. 9, students will be directed to submit supporting documentation via “To Do” items within their Student Center. Students who have already submitted their exemption request will not need to resubmit – they will be contacted by Student Affairs.
  • Submitting the required documentation does not guarantee that your request will be granted.

MANDATORY TESTING:

Individuals who are granted exemptions will be subject to other safety measures, including but not limited to: asymptomatic and symptomatic testing, physical distancing, wearing face coverings or other personal protective equipment, and isolation or quarantine when warranted. If they fail to comply with mandatory testing, they may be denied access to campus.

  • Employees and students who are granted exemptions will be subject to twice-weekly COVID-19 testing.
  • Testing will be conducted on campus at no charge to the student or employee. More information will be forthcoming about this process.
  • Non-represented employees and students who fail to certify their vaccination status by Sept. 13 will also subject to mandatory testing, may be denied access to campus, and may be subject to further disciplinary action.

VISITORS:

All visitors to the campus will be required to wear face coverings when indoors. Event capacity, including performances and sporting events, will follow Sacramento County Public Health Guidelines.

For more information, please consult the Frequently Asked Questions at the bottom of the COVID-19 Vaccination Interim Policy and Sac State’s COVID-19 FAQ page.

As the situation continues to evolve, these requirements may change. We will continue to follow the guidance of local and state public health officials and the Chancellor’s Office. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. I look forward to being safely together again. Stingers Up!

Repopulation delayed until Aug. 16

July 30, 2021 - In light of the July 29 announcement that Sacramento County is again requiring face coverings to be worn indoors, along with the release of the Chancellor’s new policy requiring vaccination for all faculty, staff, and students, I am delaying our campus repopulation by two weeks. Employees who were planning to return to campus on Monday, Aug. 2, may now plan to return to campus and reopen all offices on Monday, Aug. 16. This delay will give us time to monitor the situation with the spread of the Delta variant and plan implementation of the vaccination requirement. It also gives offices additional time to plan for reopening, and most importantly, more time for everyone who is not yet fully vaccinated to be fully vaccinated. To be clear, at this time we plan to fully reopen on Aug. 16.

Employees who still want or need to access campus may do so, but during this two-week period they will still be required to wear face coverings while indoors except at their workstation. Employees already working on campus should consult with their supervisors about available options for telework. This delay is not a campus shutdown or evacuation; rather it is an extension of our repopulation timeline to allow for further preparation and planning for the fall semester.

I am consulting with our COVID-19 Task Force and will send a detailed message about the implementation of the new CSU vaccination policy early next week. We must remain as flexible as possible while continuing to support our students and the University. I ask for your patience in the meantime as we continue to plan for a safe return to campus. Stingers Up!

County Department of Public Health Announces Indoor Mask Policy

July 29, 2021 - Today the Sacramento County Department of Public Health issued a new indoor face-covering requirement. Beginning tomorrow, July 30, all individuals must wear face coverings in any indoor public setting, including in offices, regardless of vaccination status. To comply with this new directive, all faculty, staff, and students must wear face coverings when indoors, unless you are alone in your office. This change in policy is notably different from our previous campus face-covering requirement, which applied to public spaces where the vaccination status of all individuals was unknown. Groups of people who are fully vaccinated now must wear face coverings when indoors.

The new requirement is part of an effort to stem the rapid spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19. Of course, our best strategy to combat the virus is to be vaccinated. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please visit our COVID-19 Vaccination FAQ to schedule an appointment.

Let’s all do our part to keep ourselves and those around us safe and healthy so we can be back together again this fall. Stingers Up!

Important information about the CSU's vaccination requirement

July 27, 2021 - Today the California State University announced that all faculty, staff, and students who access campus facilities at any location will be required to certify that they have been immunized against COVID-19. In accordance with those guidelines, Sacramento State will require all faculty, staff, and students to certify that they have been immunized or that they qualify for a religious or medical exemption. Because certification of vaccination status is now a requirement, Sacramento State will allow additional time for people to get vaccinated. All faculty, staff, and students must certify that they have been immunized or that they qualify for a religious or medical exemption by Sept. 13.

The vaccination requirement is being implemented without further action from the FDA because of evolving circumstances, including the surge in cases of COVID-19 due to the highly infectious Delta variant. As of July 23, California experienced a 43% increase in cases in a single day, and hospitalizations have increased by nearly 95% in two weeks. We know that individuals who choose not to be vaccinated put themselves and others at risk of infection. We also know that the most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is to be fully vaccinated. The overwhelming majority of hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among the unvaccinated. Sacramento State offers the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. To meet the Sept. 13 deadline for certification of vaccination status, you must receive your first dose of the Pfizer vaccine by Aug. 9, or the single-dose J&J vaccine by Aug. 30. For more information about the vaccine and to schedule your appointment, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page.

The CSU’s pending vaccination policy allows students and employees to seek medical and religious exemptions. To maintain consistency with the new CSU policy, Sacramento State students who plan to reside in North Village campus housing, student athletes, students who are members of any University organization or club, and those participating in clinical or other field placements or internships also may seek these exemptions. Individuals who are granted exemptions will be subject to other safety measures, including but not limited to regular testing and wearing face coverings indoors on campus. More information about testing will be forthcoming in the next week, along with more information about documenting medical and religious exemptions.

As noted in the announcement from the Chancellor’s Office this morning, the vaccination requirement takes effect at the beginning of the fall semester; however, represented employees will not be subject to disciplinary action for noncompliance while the CSU is in the meet-and-confer process with its labor partners.

Since some students might not be fully vaccinated by the first day of the fall semester, we are asking faculty to be flexible with students who cannot attend the first two weeks of face-to-face instruction because they are not yet fully vaccinated. Options include holding class via Zoom, recording and sharing class meetings, establishing alternative assignments, and any other modifications faculty deem to be pedagogically appropriate so those students can succeed in the class.

As the situation evolves, we will continue to follow the guidance of local and state public health officials and the Chancellor’s Office. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. This is yet another step toward our safe return together this fall. Stingers Up!

Vaccinations required for certain Sac State student groups

July 23, 2021 - In an effort to ensure that all members of our Hornet Family remain safe and healthy when we return together this fall, COVID-19 vaccinations will be required for all students who plan to reside in campus housing at North Village, and all students who are members of any University organization or club that participates in off-campus activities. This includes the following student groups:

  • Student athletes, including participants in recreational sports
  • Students participating in clinical or other field placements and internships
  • International and study-abroad students
  • Members of any other student organization or club that participates in off-campus activities

Students who are members of any of these groups will be asked to self-attest to their vaccination status before they will be permitted to participate in these activities, including any type of practice or rehearsal. There will be no exemptions from the vaccination requirement for students in these groups.

I understand that, for some, this policy will be upsetting. However, we know that individuals who choose not to be vaccinated put themselves and others at risk of infection. The most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is to be fully vaccinated.

As you know, Sac State offers the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. To be considered fully vaccinated by the start of the fall semester, people choosing the Pfizer vaccine must receive their first shot by this Sunday, July 25, and for the J&J vaccine by Aug. 15. If you have not been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so now. For more information about the vaccine or to schedule your appointment, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page.

Requiring vaccinations will help ensure that our Hornet Family and our community remain safe and healthy when we return together this fall. We expect to include other groups in the mandatory vaccination list as we continue to develop our repopulation plan. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. Until we are together again, Stingers Up!

Updated campus event guidelines now available

July 22, 2021 - I am pleased to share an updated version of our Guidelines for University Events. These guidelines govern all events at Sacramento State and its auxiliary venues, including University events for the campus community, events to which members of the public are invited, and third-party events. These guidelines do not apply to normal University operations such as staff or faculty meetings. Also, for University events held off campus and not on University property, organizers and participants must adhere to the venue’s safety guidelines and follow CDC and Sacramento County Public Health guidance.

You can review these updated guidelines by visiting our University Events page. I must emphasize that the guidelines are subject to change without warning or notice, since we are committed to following the recommendations of public health officials.

These guidelines are a part of our Anchor University commitment to keeping all members of the Hornet Family and our community safe and healthy so that we can be together this fall. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. I look forward to our Hornet Family being together again soon as one. Stingers Up!

Sacramento State stands with DREAMers and the DACA program

July 19, 2021 - This email is incredibly hard to write. From someone who lived in the Rio Grande Valley and from someone who is dedicated to our DREAMers, DACA students, and our mixed-status students, I will not stop my unwavering support. We are a Hornet Family.

On Friday, U.S. Judge Andrew Hanen a federal judge in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas partially ended the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, declaring it unlawful. I am deeply saddened by this decision and what it means for thousands of young people in this country. While the ruling’s impact and the future of the program are unclear, I want to reaffirm Sacramento State’s commitment to the success of our DACA students and employees and our DREAMers. Although the uncertainty continues, we stand with you and will continue to support you.

Legal experts are analyzing Judge Hanen’s decision, and more details should be available in the coming weeks. For now, it is important to know the following:

  • Current DACA cases remain valid, and people with DACA will continue to receive protection.
  • DACA renewals will continue. People with DACA or who had it in the past are still eligible for the program and should renew at least five months before the expiration date.
  • First-time DACA applications are on hold. No new DACA applications will be approved, including pending cases. It is unclear how filing fees and other logistics will be handled, but legal experts expect additional guidance from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the coming weeks.

Please remember that our Dreamer Resource Center (DRC) offers programming and resources to support DACA students, including free immigration consultations with an immigration attorney. If you have a pending DACA case, or have questions about your DACA eligibility, I encourage you to contact the center for guidance and to schedule an appointment with an immigration attorney. To reach the DRC, email drc@csus.edu or call 916-278-7734. The center can also connect students to free one-on-one counseling and socio-emotional support.

Additionally, in the next few days, the DRC will share information about a virtual policy briefing on Judge Hanen’s decision. I encourage everyone to follow the Dreamer Resource Center on social media to learn about the briefing and obtain the latest news. Go to @sacstatedrc to follow on Instagram, and @drcsacstate to follow the Dreamer Resource Center on Facebook. I also encourage students, faculty, and staff to visit the center’s website and become acquainted with the services offered so we can all do our part to support DACA students and DREAMers going forward.

Sacramento State supports DREAMers and the DACA program, which has allowed thousands of young people who came to the United States without documentation to pursue their academic, personal, and professional goals. While DACA has made a positive difference for many, including members of the Hornet Family, this ruling highlights the need for a permanent solution to this issue. That is why I am proud to add my signature to a letter from the Presidents’ Alliance on Higher Education and Immigration calling upon members of Congress to support the bipartisan Senate Dream Act of 2021. DREAMers deserve a clear path to permanent status and citizenship. DACA recipients and our undocumented youth have lived in uncertainty for far too long, and I hope President Biden’s administration and Congress work together to finally reach an inclusive solution that allows young people to reach their full potential and achieve their dreams.

To our DREAMers, DACA students, and mixed-status students, we stand with you, we support you, and we will continue to fight for equity and justice. You will forever be important members of the Hornet Family, and together, we will continue to advocate for your rights.

Face coverings required indoors, per new Sac County guidance

July 15, 2021 - This morning the Sacramento County public health officer strongly recommended wearing face coverings in indoor public spaces, regardless of vaccination status, due to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases in the county. Over the past month, the daily case rate in Sacramento has dramatically risen from 3.8 to 10 per 100,000 residents.

As such, effective immediately, at Sacramento State, face coverings must be worn in all indoor public spaces on campus, including classrooms, hallways, workout and practice areas, restrooms, computer labs, study areas, athletic facilities, and any other indoor spaces in which vaccination verification status is not required or is unknown.

Fully vaccinated employees who have voluntarily self-attested to their status are not required to wear face coverings in the workplace, with the exception of public spaces. Receptionists and other public-facing employees should wear face coverings when interacting with the public. Face coverings are not required outside, but no one should be discouraged or shamed for wearing them.

Individuals who are unvaccinated or not fully vaccinated remain highly vulnerable to infection. The most effective way to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the Delta variant, is to get fully vaccinated. As you know, Sac State offers the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. If you have not been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so now. Our vaccine clinic is now located at the WELL on Wednesday and Friday with limited walk-up appointments while we wait for the final approval of a systemwide policy on vaccinations for the fall semester. Students are asked to schedule a vaccine appointment via the patient portal. For more information about the vaccine or to schedule your appointment, please visit our COVID-19 FAQ page.

I know that sudden policy changes such as this one can be frustrating, even maddening, and I realize that the current rise in cases may be causing anxiety and uncertainty about the future. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in close contact with health officials. For those in need of support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. Sacramento State has counselors ready to support faculty and staff through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474.

We must continue to do our part to keep all members of our Hornet Family and our community safe and healthy so that we can return together this fall. For the most up-to-date information about policies and plans for the fall, please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website. We truly will be together again soon. Stingers Up!

Extended telework options for staff

July 14, 2021 - Last week, in collaboration with the President’s Cabinet, Human Resources asked for your thoughts and concerns surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the University’s efforts to keep you safe, and the reopening of campus. Thank you to everyone who responded to the survey. In all, 1,450 employees responded. As expected, the results were mixed: 409 employees reported that they felt very comfortable returning to work, 349 somewhat comfortable, 344 somewhat uncomfortable, and 238 very uncomfortable; 795 employees indicated that they were concerned about decreased flexibility to work from home; and 540 employees wanted the University to consider staggered hours and shifts.

I want you to know that we truly appreciate the honesty of your responses. We, I, hear you. We understand the challenges that so many of you are facing. We also understand how the uncertainty of this last year-and-a-half has deeply affected the Hornet Family. With the continued morphing of the coronavirus, that uncertainty will not disappear soon. Ultimately, the goal is to have as many faculty, staff, and students as possible fully vaccinated by the start of the semester. Sac State offers the Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccines. With the Pfizer vaccines, people must receive their first shot by July 25 and for the J&J vaccine by Aug. 15 to be considered fully vaccinated by the start of the fall semester. If you have not been vaccinated, I encourage you to do so now. We are allowing walk-up appointments at the University vaccination site at The WELL.

The CSU is working on a systemwide teleworking policy, has finished a systemwide vaccination policy, and is engaging in “meet and confer” deliberations with the various unions. The vaccination policy depends on FDA approval of one or more of the COVID-19 vaccines. We do not know when that approval will be granted, though we are optimistic that it will be soon. We also don’t know when the teleworking policy will be finalized, or when there will be an agreement with the unions about its implementation.

Given the survey results, and without access to the pending vaccine policy or expected systemwide teleworking policy, we will be extending the option for employees to request a teleworking agreement through the end of the fall semester, December 2021. Sacramento State will continue using the Temporary Telecommuting Emergency Form and will require that requests be completed via that process. This form will be posted and available online by Monday, July 19.

We still expect all offices, public facing or not, to be open Aug. 2, but I am asking managers to be flexible when considering employee requests, such as staggering shifts, partial teleworking, and hybrid meetings. Still, we are here to serve our students and faculty, and we must ensure coverage in the various offices while not overtaxing employees who are on campus. Managers have the option of determining when employees can work off campus or when alternate on-campus shifts based on business/student needs will adequately serve our students and employees. Ultimately, the goal is to have everyone on campus fully vaccinated. Having people back on campus will make us stronger as we strive to support our students.

In sum, based on your responses to the survey, we have decided to extend consideration of temporary COVID-19-related telecommuting requests on a case-by-case basis through the end of the fall semester. Our goal remains to serve our students. Managers, including deans and associate VPs and VPs, are tasked with reviewing and assessing employee requests based on business/student needs. With limited exceptions, managers must report to campus full time and must ensure that all offices are open and functional by Aug. 2 with 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. service hours. Service hours expand to 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. starting Aug. 16.

To reiterate, during the fall semester, all Sacramento State offices, public facing or not, must be open 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday - Friday.

The decision to extend flexibility for employees while still opening our doors to the public will require managers to develop strategic work schedules with their employees and leadership teams so that we have continuous in-person coverage. Perhaps some teams will stagger their daily work schedules; others may trade days of the week working at home or on campus. Every manager must have a plan for coverage and must submit the plan for approval by the appropriate administrator.

I wish that I could say that these plans will be absolutely continuous and certain throughout the fall semester. I cannot. Continued flexibility as described above remains contingent on systemwide policies and agreements with our labor union colleagues. In accordance with Collective Bargaining Agreements (CBA) and recent Memorandums of Understanding (MOU), managers can call any employee back to campus, as appropriate. Please, as much as you can, be prepared for all contingencies. All employees must be ready and able to return to campus within those parameters – and for complete transparency, it is important that our employees know that most CBAs/MOUs allow for about 24 hours’ notice for employees to be recalled to campus for in-person work. On the other hand, if there is a major outbreak, we may have to abandon on-campus operations again and pivot digitally with as little as 24 hours’ notice.

The future is uncertain, and I understand the fears expressed in the survey. But I also understand the desire to serve our students face-to-face. We remain committed to face-to-face learning and to delivering the vast majority of our classes in person and on campus. We at the University – and I, in particular – believe that the vaccines will make us safe. I escaped polio from a vaccination. I did not spread smallpox because of a vaccination. I believe in our doctors and our scientists. I encourage you all to discuss your personal situation with your family and your manager to determine what may work best for you. There is a lot to consider when determining what will work best for your workload, your department, your family, and our students. I deeply believe that we are a Hornet Family, and we must take care of each other – that means working together to find a solution that helps us safely return to campus, where our students can learn from each other, from our outstanding staff, and from our amazing faculty. Stingers Up!

Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan

June 30, 2021- Sacramento State is committed to fighting racism, bias, and social injustices on our campus. In a message sent May 30, 2020, I outlined a series of actions that the University would pursue - the first of which was the development of an antiracism campus plan. I share that plan with you now. Please follow this link to access the plan.

In October 2020, University leadership reviewed applications from across campus and formed a structured process that included seven Action Planning Groups (APGs) and an Antiracist and Inclusive Plan Council comprised of APG members as well as Planning Fellows. Sponsored by the Division of Inclusive Excellence, with support from the College of Continuing Education, the Planners and Fellows collectively developed the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan over eight months. The plan was finalized the beginning of June 2021.

I sincerely thank the more than 75 students, staff, faculty, and administrators who dedicated endless hours researching, reviewing, and discussing campus practices and policies. Most importantly, they delved deeply into understanding and unpacking the traumatic experiences people of color and marginalized groups on our campus face daily. This document confirms that we have much work to do. It also reveals that Sac State is comprised of people with genuine commitment, passion, and creativity who are ready to engage in the challenging but necessary work to move this campus forward.

In Fall 2021, the University will offer opportunities for responses, thoughts, and ideas as part of the campus community engagement phase of the process. The Cabinet and I will share our initial thoughts as well as our preliminary steps on how to move the recommendations forward. We will work across divisions and with the Planners and entire campus community toward our shared commitment to be an antiracist and inclusive Hornet Family. I ask that all of us play a role in supporting the implementation of the plan and holding each other accountable.

Sacramento State is implementing a Vaccination Verification Program

June 29, 2021 - I know that there has been considerable uncertainty around when and where employees need to wear masks in the workplace. I am pleased to report that on June 23, 2021, the Chancellor’s Office issued guidance to help answer that question. The new guidance provides campuses with the opportunity to collect self-attestations of some groups of fully vaccinated employees so that we can administer provisions of the Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) to those employee groups. Therefore, Sacramento State is implementing a Vaccination Verification Program (VVP) which permits the campus to comply with the newly adopted ETS guidelines and collect voluntary self-attestations from participating fully vaccinated employees.

What does this mean to you? Under the new ETS guidelines, fully vaccinated employees who voluntarily self-attest to their status will not be required to wear face coverings or social distance in the workplace. However, employees participating in the VVP will still be held to the workplace safety rules developed from the ETS. Additional information regarding the newly adopted revisions can be found here.

For now, the Vaccination Verification Program (VVP) applies only to fully vaccinated CSUEU represented staff, MPPs, and Confidential employees.Systemwide Labor Relations is working diligently to negotiate similar agreements with the remaining unions. Therefore, all employees represented by unions other than CSUEU will need to continue wearing face coverings, practice social distancing, and follow existing campus safety protocols, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice, in shared spaces. The existing safety protocols can be found here.

Fully vaccinated CSUEU represented staff, MPPs, and Confidential employees are highly encouraged to complete the VVP Self-Attestation Form. Those who do not complete a self-attestation form will be considered unvaccinated under the ETS guidelines, and therefore will continue to be covered by the existing campus safety protocols referenced above. Appropriate administrators will be notified of completed forms, for the purpose of administering workplace safety rules/procedures. Risk Management will file all completed forms.

Thank you to all who have tirelessly worked to keep the Hornet Family safe. Every day, I see signs that we will soon be together again. Stingers Up!

Dr. Kristen Tudor to join the President's Office on July 12

June 25, 2021 - As you know, Dr. Sarah Billingsley assumed the role of Interim Chief of Staff this summer when Dr. Cely Smart left Sacramento State. To provide additional support to the Office of the President, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Kristen Tudor will join our office as Special Assistant in the Office of the President, effective July 12, 2021. She will perform the duties of Deputy Chief of Staff.

Dr. Tudor has been faculty at Sacramento State since 2003, when she joined the Department of Communication Studies as a full-time lecturer and the director of Sacramento State’s award-winning debate team. In addition to teaching classes in communication theory, public speaking, and critical thinking, Dr. Tudor has served as a faculty advisor for the DEGREES Project and as faculty fellow for the eAcademy, one of the earliest programs on campus to assist faculty in the development of high-quality online courses. Before joining the Hornet Family, Dr. Tudor coached debate at Eastern Utah University and Santa Rosa Junior College, and worked as staff for elected officials, including former U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. Dr. Tudor earned a bachelor of arts in American Studies at Mills College, a master of arts in Public Communication at Sacramento State, and recently completed her Doctorate in Educational Leadership at Sacramento State, where she was named Graduate with Distinction.

Though I know she will be missed in the classroom, Dr. Tudor will certainly continue supporting our students in her new role. I look forward to working with Kristen, and am pleased that she is a part of the President’s Office’s team.

Update

June 18, 2021 - Earlier today, I informed the campus community about CalOSHA’s new rules that align with current CDC and federal COVID-19 recommendations. According to CalOSHA, vaccinated employees are no longer required to wear face coverings or social distance in the workplace.

However, the CSU has strongly encouraged campuses to wait until a systemwide meet and confer process is concluded with the unions before modifying return to work protocols. Therefore, employees will need to continue wearing face coverings and follow existing safety practices, regardless of vaccination status, until further notice. I apologize for the confusion.

Please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website for up-to-date information. We are almost there. Stingers Up!

Face coverings no longer required for vaccinated employees

June 18, 2021 - As expected, CalOSHA has released new rules that align with current CDC and federal recommendations, effective immediately. As of June 17, vaccinated employees are no longer required to wear face coverings or social distance in the workplace. CalOSHA still requires unvaccinated employees to wear face coverings indoors and in vehicles when other employees are present.

As detailed in my previous SacSend, students and visitors are already not required to mask or socially distance when on campus. Please note that vaccinated employees, students, and visitors can continue to wear face coverings if they wish to do so. Thanks to the number of Californians who have been vaccinated we have taken a huge step out of this pandemic.

Please remember and please take into consideration that not everyone has had the opportunity to get vaccinated, and not all can be vaccinated for various health or religious reasons. Unvaccinated students, employees, and visitors should continue to wear face coverings to protect themselves and others. We are still awaiting approval of a systemwide policy on vaccinations, but we continue to understand that unvaccinated students and employees who access campus will be required to wear face coverings and will have to undergo regular testing. In the meantime, I would like to stress that it is inappropriate to “mask shame” any student, employee, or community member. If someone has to, or chooses to, wear a face covering, we must respect them. Harassment of any kind will not be tolerated at Sacramento State.

We continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines two days a week. I encourage all who can to get vaccinated. Let’s continue to do our part to protect ourselves and each other.

Please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website for up-to-date information. We truly will be together again soon. Stingers Up!

Juneteenth

June 18, 2021 - Tomorrow marks the 156th anniversary of the liberation of the last enslaved people by Union troops in Galveston, Texas, in 1865. More than 150 years later, President Joe Biden has signed legislation that designates June 19 as Juneteenth National Independence Day, a United States federal holiday. Juneteenth National Independence Day is the first new federal holiday since Martin Luther King Jr. Day was established in 1983.

In honor of Juneteenth, Sacramento State is pleased to support and co-sponsor the City-wide Juneteenth Celebration on Sunday, June 20, in Miller Park from 11 a.m. until 6 p.m. The event is being held in partnership with Dr. Rick Warren and other community organizations and includes festival components, a Father's Day tribute, table vendors, entertainment, and virtual and in-person celebrations of Juneteenth. The MLK Center and Admissions and Outreach will represent the University as a part of the Tabling Fair. We invite the campus community to participate in this and other weekend events to honor Juneteenth National Independence Day together and celebrate this critical moment in American history.

Dr. Sara McClellan appointed Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair

June 15, 2021 - We are pleased to announce that Dr. Sara McClellan has accepted a three-year appointment as the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair in the Department of Public Policy and Administration (PPA). In this role—and in keeping with Hazel’s legacy— Dr. McClellan will extend her engaged scholarship that gives students and public policy and administration practitioners shared space to explore and address public problems through equity-minded approaches. She will also collaborate with other faculty across the University to further the Anchor University Initiative and conduct and document action-oriented research partnerships. During this period, Dr. McClellan will work with department and campus leaders to further define and plan the future of the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair.

Dr. McClellan first realized she was passionate about public policy and administration as a student in the Cal State system. At CSU Monterey Bay, she served as the founding student body co-president and took her first public policy course from Leon Panetta. McClellan was exposed to complex environmental sustainability dilemmas, inter-organizational collaboration, and social and environmental justice conflicts. She participated on numerous committees and workgroups overseeing aspects of the military base conversion that transformed Fort Ord into CSU Monterey Bay. During this time, Dr. McClellan earned a bachelor’s in Liberal Studies and received the President’s Scholar award. She then took a staff role where she helped to design and secure funding for K-12 university partnerships that aimed to increase the number of Latinx and female students pursuing Cal State STEM degrees. She also co-authored the university’s successful science center grant and pitched educational programs and scholarships to regional philanthropists and foundations. These experiences ignited McClellan’s interest in collaborative innovation as a means of solving public problems and achieving public value. They also left her committed to the mission of the Cal State system and excited to teach PPA students at Sacramento State today.

Over the past 25 years Dr. McClellan has worked in several nonprofit and public sector roles—often serving as a start-up leader or consultant overseeing special projects. She has worked as a First 5 director, deputy county administrator, organizational development specialist, WestEd program manager, consultant, and public sector trainer. Dr. McClellan has experience working on labor-management issues representing both labor and management, and has conducted research on labor management conflicts and breakthrough agreements in K-12 settings. She has strong ties to California government and experience with planning and implementing change initiatives in public sector and nonprofit organizations. McClellan has also served as an adjunct professor for the Price School of Public Policy and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California (USC).

Dr. McClellan earned her master’s degree in Public Administration from USC and studied under Dr. Chester A. Newland, gaining a deep appreciation and understanding for public administration theory and ethics. She earned her doctorate in Organizational Communication at the University of Colorado at Boulder where she conducted a participant action study examining the way planning narratives and practice shaped public engagement in fast-growing Golden, Colorado.

Dr. McClellan’s work as a practitioner, consultant, and scholar allows her to help forge stronger connections between theory and practice and co-design applied research that adds value for both universities and community partners. She aims to give Sacramento State PPA students direct exposure to the messy and complex organizational contexts that shape public policy outcomes. Dr. McClellan wants to make sure students strengthen skills that allow them to solve tough policy implementation problems—skills that include defining problems with crucial stakeholders, building coalitions, interpreting data, managing change, and resolving interpersonal conflicts. In her role with Sacramento State PPA, Dr. McClellan is actively experimenting with case-based teaching, client projects, and applied research to help students hone these skills while aiding community partners.

Dr. McClellan’s own research focuses on the hard-to-observe beliefs and interests that shape administrative practice via interpersonal and organizational communication. Her most recent publication looks at how time—and perceptions of time—influence nonprofit collaboration. She is currently working with Dr. Bryon Gustafson to study the way public stakeholders frame police accountability problems through ongoing discourse with implications for policy solutions.

Sara also loves living and working with cats—perhaps because they are as complex, fascinating, frustrating, and unpredictable as many of our public problems. Please join me in congratulating Dr. Sara McClellan on her appointment as the Hazel Cramer Endowed Chair in the Department of Public Policy and Administration. Stingers Up!

What do the new COVID-19 guidelines mean to Sac State?

June 14, 2021 - Many of you may not want to read this email (it is long), but please do, so that you are aware of the current COVID-19 safety guidelines and prepared for the fall. Please know:

  • June 15, everyone can return to campus with the approval of their supervisors, but CalOSHA will determine whether you have to be socially distanced
  • June 15, students and visitors will not have to wear masks or be socially distanced. That provision, however, does not apply to faculty and staff
  • We are focusing on providing more than 50% of class offerings to be face-to-face with particular emphasis on first-year students

Gov. Newsom has announced that California will “reopen” tomorrow, June 15, 2021. While we can all breathe a sigh of relief at this potential development, we really do not know what “reopen” means. Please keep in mind that until CalOSHA updates the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to which all employers in California must adhere, Sacramento State employees, not students or visitors, must adhere to current campus safety protocols, including those protocols that require face coverings and social distancing.

CalOSHA soon will release new rules that will be more closely aligned with CDC and federal recommendations, perhaps as early as June 17. Those rules could (and I emphasize, “could”) take effect on the last day of June. Until then, to comply with current safety laws, we will require face coverings for all employees regardless of vaccination status.

To be specific, until further notice, all employees working both inside and outside must follow current ETS guidelines, including wearing face coverings and maintaining 6 feet distancing in shared spaces. We are optimistic that this requirement will expire by June 30 for all fully vaccinated employees. Until further guidance, all students and all visitors (including summer camp participants and their parents) will not be required to wear face coverings or to distance themselves at 6-foot intervals. To repeat, for now, employees, including coaches and camp instructors, must wear face coverings and maintain 6 feet distancing in shared spaces unless doing so is not possible without compromising quality education. In private offices or in cubicles that allow sufficient social distancing, employees will not have to wear face coverings.

In sum, as of June 15, students, visitors, and camp participants will not have to wear face coverings and be socially distanced, but because employers are governed by CalOSHA, until new guidelines are issued, faculty, and staff must wear face coverings in shared spaces.

As I said, we anticipate receiving updated guidelines within a few weeks, which will align CalOSHA protocols with the new CDC guidelines and Gov. Newsom’s reopening announcement. We expect these guidelines to allow fully vaccinated employees and students to refrain from wearing face coverings and to be able to socialize at “normal” distances. Until then, we will be out of sync.

What do we expect in the fall? You deserve to know what the initial plans are. In the fall, we expect the vast majority of students will be on campus and will participate in face-to-face instruction. We expect more than 50% of the classes in the fall to be face-to-face. We expect more than 80% of the classes in the spring to be face-to-face. We expect that requirements for social distancing, including for faculty and staff, will be eliminated. The food courts will be open in the fall. We will win the Big Sky championship in football in the fall, and you will be there to cheer on our Hornets.

Currently, we continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines at The WELL two days a week. We are focusing on adding face-to-face classes for our first-year students. Going to college is about growing up, about becoming an individual, about socialization. This fall our students will have the opportunity that last year’s students didn’t have. And for those who missed out on being part of the face-to-face Hornet Family, we will make them a high priority and will provide them classes that allow them to meet and interact with our faculty and their fellow Hornets.

We expect more than 50% of our classes will be in our classrooms on our campus this fall. The Student Union, The WELL, the Multi-Cultural Center, CAMP, the Serna Center, the MLK Center, Full Circle Project, the PRIDE Center, the Women’s Resource Center, the Cooper Woodson Program, the McNair Scholars Program, and all of our clubs and organizations working with SOAL will be open. Homecoming will be huge and unforgettable. We will beat UC Davis again.

I am relieved that we are coming out on the other side of this brutal pandemic, and I am extremely grateful to the entire Hornet Family for all that you have done to keep the campus community safe. As we have learned over the past year, the Governor or CalOSHA may alter timelines. But we remain committed to opening all offices August 2. Please refer to Sacramento State’s Return to Campus and COVID-19 Information website for up to date information. And most importantly, we expect the Hornet Family to be back on campus for face-to-face classes August 30. We will be together again soon. Stingers Up!

Dr. Cely Smart, Chief of Staff, to leave Sac State

May 27, 2021 - Cely asked me to keep this message short, and out of utmost respect, I will.

I am extremely sad to share that Dr. Cely Smart has accepted an offer at the University of Michigan to serve as Chief of Staff to the Dean of the School of Public Health and will be leaving Sacramento State as of Friday, June 11. Dr. Sarah Billingsley will assume the role of Interim Chief of Staff.

Dr. Smart joined the Hornet Family as Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Officer in 2015 and has admirably served as Chief of Staff since September 2019. Over the past 5½ years, Dr. Smart has been extraordinarily dedicated to Sacramento State. Even through multiple unprecedented crises, including wildfires and a pandemic, she has been a brilliant and caring problem solver, a thoughtful strategist, and a trusted resource for her colleagues throughout the University, the President’s Cabinet, and without question, for me.

Personally, I find it incredibly hard to imagine my office without Cely. She has been at my side, both here and in Texas, for almost eight years. Sacramento State will miss her. I will miss her. Please join me in congratulating Cely on her new opportunity and in thanking her for everything she has done for the Hornet Family. We are a kinder, more caring, more honest and transparent University because of her, especially because of her heart.

Thank you to all who made CARmencement such a huge success

May 26, 2021 - Thank you to all who made CARmencement such a huge success. I know our 2020 and 2021 graduates were disappointed when the President’s Cabinet made the difficult decision to move forward with a parade-type graduation celebration in lieu of formal Commencement ceremonies. But we have received amazing feedback from graduates and their families about CARmencement. The event exceeded expectations and brought much needed joy to our campus. We have actually even been asked by numerous people to keep CARmencement forever.

Here are a just few of the dozens of notes that we received from grateful students and family members:

“As the parent of a 2021 graduating senior - the effort every person expended in the design, execution and display of pure heart and pride, was appreciated by our family beyond what words can express. It was perfect - but we know how much time and energy went into making every foot of the CARmencement journey so memorable and joy-filled.”

“What an AMAZING CARmencement!!! Excellent work! Thank you for putting on such a fantastic event. It was great to celebrate this milestone with my family.”

“I really thought I was going to hate CARmencement but I actually really enjoyed it. Riding in a van full of people who supported me through this journey was the perfect way to end this crazy semester. I hope those of you who get to participate in it tomorrow feel the same as well!”

My heart is warmed by the feedback that we received, and I am extremely grateful for the Hornet Family who created such as successful event. Please join me in thanking:

  • University Events – Special thanks to Director of University Events Gladys Glaude, and Special Events Coordinator Leah Walukones.
  • All the staff who helped plan and execute CARmencement, such as Information Resources and Technology, the Student Affairs Marketing team, Alumni Association, Associated Students Inc., University Communications, University Print and Mail, Facilities, Central Receiving, Moving Services Crew, Creative and Technical Services, Procurement and Contract Services, the University Union, Epicure Catering, University Registrar, University Transportation and Parking Service
  • Grad Kit-Stuffing Volunteers
  • CARmencement Event Volunteers
  • All those who came to cheer for our graduates (faculty, staff, administrators)
  • Commencement Coordinators
  • KSSU Radio
  • Sac State Marching and Pep Bands
  • Herky (and Herky)
  • Sac State Dance and Cheer
  • Metro Media
  • Marching Order
  • SPIN Scooters

I know this list does not include every person or group who helped make CARmencement a success, so please know that whatever role you played, large or small, I am grateful for your help. I will be forever amazed by the love and pride that Sacramento State showed our graduates with CARmencement. We are a Hornet Family, and you did what families do. You showed up. I thank you. Stingers up!

What do the new CDC guidelines mean for Sac State?

May 20, 2021 - When the CDC released their new Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, I sent a note to our University COVID-19 response team that opened with one word: Whiplash. That word personifies this past year as we have all tried our best to keep moving forward in a dynamic public health situation with constant inconsistency and change. I do not expect this reality to change anytime soon. As such, I will continue to do my best to update the Hornet Family with information as we receive it.

To recap the new CDC guidance, fully vaccinated people can:

  • Resume activities without wearing masks or physically distancing, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • Resume domestic travel without testing before or after travel or self-quarantining after travel.
  • Refrain from testing before leaving the United States for international travel (unless required by the destination) and refrain from self-quarantine after arriving back in the United States.
  • Refrain from testing following a known exposure, if asymptomatic, with some exceptions for specific settings.
  • Refrain from quarantine following a known exposure if asymptomatic.
  • Refrain from routine screening testing if feasible.

For now, fully vaccinated people should continue to:

  • Get tested if experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Follow CDC and health department travel requirements and recommendations.

We are not certain what the new guidance means for our planning, but we know that consistency is important, especially after the grueling year we have all endured. Given today’s communication from CalOSHA, we expect that CalOSHA and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) will conform to the CDC guidelines beginning June 15. Until then, we will not be modifying our campus Return To Work Protocols. Managers and supervisors will begin returning to campus in June, and all offices will be open on campus beginning Aug. 2. Face coverings are still required for anyone coming to campus until further notice.

Once we receive new CDPH and CalOSHA guidance, we will update our campus safety plan (including information on wearing face coverings and social distancing) and begin the meet-and-confer process with our labor union colleagues. We anticipate that most safety measures will be eliminated for all fully vaccinated students and employees with the new guidance. We will not be able to avoid the whiplash of changing our plans – again – but my hope is that we will work together and return to campus in a manner that makes the Hornet Family feel safe.

The best way for us all to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. The CSU and Sacramento State will require everyone who comes to campus to be vaccinated for the SARS-CoV-2 virus once one of the four available vaccines is officially approved by the FDA, or by the beginning of the fall 2021 term, whichever comes later. We are working with the Chancellor’s Office on a process and mechanism to document vaccination attestations and exemptions, and we will share that information on our website as soon as it is available. CSU is beginning the meet-and-confer process with the unions regarding a system-wide vaccination policy and is consulting with the system-wide Academic Senate and the California State Student Association.

We want to get back to normal. Well, we actually want to get back to better, and the best way to do that is for everyone who can to get vaccinated. If you have not yet been vaccinated, please email covidquestions@csus.edu to schedule your appointment.

I know we all have many questions, and we will continue to share information as it is received. Until then, let’s look forward to getting back to better in the fall. Stingers Up!

Bishop and Wilson Ramey to serve as Interim VPs for Inclusive Excellence

May 14, 2021 - I recently shared that Vice President Diana Tate Vermeire will be leaving Sacramento State for a new opportunity as of May 21, 2021. Her planned departure is coming at a critical moment for the University, and for the entire Hornet Family, so we immediately will begin a search for a new Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. The nationwide search will take place over the summer. It is our intention to narrow the search by Aug. 30, 2021, to three finalists, who will be invited to participate in open forums during the second week of September. We plan to send a call for volunteers and nominations for the search committee soon.

While we begin the search, we cannot afford to slow the work. Therefore, to continue the important work of Inclusive Excellence, I have asked William “Skip” Bishop and Dr. Melinda Wilson Ramey to serve as Interim Vice Presidents to lead the division. Both will be active members of the President’s Cabinet.

Mr. Bishop has been with Sacramento State since 2013, when he left private law practice in Sacramento and joined the Hornet Family as the director of Equal Opportunity. Mr. Bishop earned his juris doctorate from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law. He holds a bachelor of science degree in Economics from Missouri State University. As a private attorney, Mr. Bishop represented Fortune 100 companies in all aspects of labor and employment law, including actions in state and federal court, and before administrative agencies. Mr. Bishop leads the Office of Equal Opportunity’s (OEO) efforts to ensure equal opportunity at the University and create an educational and working environment free from harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual violence. As Director of Equal Opportunity, Mr. Bishop serves as the University’s Title IX coordinator and DHR administrator, and prepares the University’s annual Affirmative Action Plan, among other responsibilities. Mr. Bishop also is a campus resource on state/federal civil rights laws. He serves on numerous internal and external committees in support of our University’s diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. As Interim Vice President, Mr. Bishop will oversee the compliance side of the Division of Inclusive Excellence. He will continue to lead the University’s OEO efforts.

After completing her bachelor of arts degree in African American Studies at Vanderbilt University and Ph.D. in Theatre and Drama from Northwestern University, Dr. Wilson Ramey joined the Hornet Family in 2005 as an assistant professor. She taught courses in theater history, African American theater, and multicultural drama, and directed productions that explored theatrical representations of Black identities while a faculty member in the Department of Theatre and Dance. She served as the department chair from 2012-2017 and became the Associate Dean of Student Success in the College of Arts and Letters in 2018. Dr. Wilson Ramey has worked with the Division of Inclusive Excellence on various projects. For instance, she served on Sac State's University of Southern California Equity Institute team and assisted with the Chair as Transformative Diversity Leader Book Circle. Dr. Wilson Ramey received the Outstanding Teaching Award in 2018. She is a mayor-appointed commissioner on the Sacramento Arts Culture and Creative Economy Commission and a member of the Nehemiah Emerging Leaders Program (NELP). In her role as Interim Vice President, Dr. Wilson Ramey will lead the University's Diversity and Inclusive Excellence efforts. Mr. Bishop and Dr. Wilson Ramey will work collaboratively to build the division in areas such as bias response.

I want to thank personally Skip and Melinda for stepping into these important roles at this critical moment to ensure that Sacramento State does not lose momentum in our work in Inclusive Excellence.

VP Vermeire to leave Sac State

April 30, 2021 - It is always with mixed emotions that I send a message informing the campus community that a member of the Hornet Family has decided to leave Sacramento State. But today, my feelings are not mixed. It is with personal sadness that I must share that Diana Tate Vermeire, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence, has accepted a new position as the Senior Vice President of Strategy at the Schott Foundation for Public Education and will leave Sacramento State as of May 21, 2021.

Vice President Vermeire joined Sacramento State in fall 2017 as executive director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. In 2019, she was named Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and began building the division. During her time at Sacramento State, Vice President Vermeire has helped advance our University’s antiracism and inclusion efforts with professionalism and grace. She has guided our response to local and national tragedies involving hate crimes, race-based violence, and the rise of white supremacist activities. She has led difficult conversations and has been instrumental in leading racial learning and literacy within the President’s Cabinet.

Her extensive experience and expertise working with issues of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigrant status, disability, poverty, the criminal justice system, and other issues of inequality have been critical as we have worked to make Sacramento State a University where all feel like they belong. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but Vice President Vermeire has built a strong foundation over the past 3½ years. We will miss her bold leadership, sincerity, and thoughtfulness.

Vice President Vermeire is irreplaceable, but the work of Inclusive Excellence is extremely important, and we cannot lose momentum. We will send a message early next week with our plan for who will assume leadership in the Division, and how we plan to move the work forward.

Diana has been a truly transformational leader at Sacramento State. She has established a pathway forward, and will transition the Division of Inclusive Excellence to capable and experienced hands. I am incredibly sad to see her go, but I am grateful for Diana’s leadership and service to Sacramento State. Most importantly, I am grateful for her friendship. Please join me in congratulating Diana on her new opportunity and in thanking her for everything she has done for the Hornet Family.

Return to campus plan

April 26, 2021 (updated at 4:59 p.m.) - No one, least of all me, will ever be able to thank you enough for everything you have done for our students and our campus through this more than yearlong pandemic. Because of you, close to 9,000 Hornets are eligible to graduate next month. The Miracle on J Street truly is a miracle, and it is time to start coming back.

As part of the return to campus, the CSU announced last week that we will require everyone who comes to campus to be vaccinated for the SARS-CoV-2 virus effective the Fall 2021 term, or upon full FDA approval of the vaccine, whichever occurs later. This requirement will be conditioned upon full approval of one or more vaccines by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as well as adequate availability of the fully approved vaccines.

Thanks to the Student Health Center, the Nursing faculty, and our Nursing students, we have been vaccinating faculty and staff for several months; last week we began vaccinating our students. And we have been told that the FDA expects to certify at least one of the vaccines in the coming weeks. So, it is time to start preparing the campus for a full return on August 2, 2021. Employees and students who have not been vaccinated can request a vaccination appointment on campus through the COVID-19 Vaccination Interest form.

As we all know, circumstances as well as regulations are changing daily. Currently, Sacramento is in what is called the “red tier,” which allows for limited access to campus facilities with necessary precautions such as social distancing and facial coverings. Governor Gavin Newsom announced that as of June 15 there would be no more tiers and the state will return to usual operations with safety measures such as face coverings and vaccinations.

At Sac State, we will take a measured response. The following timetable is subject to change, but is our road map for now:

  • April 26—Until June 15, all returns to campus must be approved through OnBase and must have an approved safety plan.
  • June 1—all MPPs will be asked to return to campus Mondays and Wednesdays and must have been approved through OnBase with a safety plan.
  • June 1—travel can be approved by divisional vice presidents using the Concur system and will mirror CDC travel guidelines.
  • June 15—anyone, including students in labs and working on projects may return to campus with the written, explicit approval of their immediate MPP supervisor.
  • June 21—all MPPs will be on campus for a minimum of Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and offices in Student Affairs, Administration and Business Affairs, and Academic Affairs (including colleges) will begin reopening for at least three days a week.
  • July 1—the hiring freeze will be lifted, but all hiring must have budgetary approval, including benefit costs, and be approved by the vice president of the division.
  • July 12—all MPPs will return to campus full time.
  • August 2—all offices on campus will be open 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.
  • August 16—all offices on campus will be open 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • August 30—face-to-face and other instruction begins.

Staff and faculty will return gradually as we reach agreements with their respective labor unions. It would be inappropriate of me to give exact dates at this time. Some direct-services offices may start to reopen in a limited manner before August 2 following campus safety protocols and based on business needs. Departments and offices will work with IRT to stage technology requests necessary for repopulation.

We anticipate that the CSU Policy on Immunization Requirements will be updated to include information on medical and religious exceptions.

Until otherwise updated, the campus Return to Work protocols are still in effect, which means that self-screening, face coverings, social distancing, and all other current public health guidelines must be observed.

Currently, 54% of our fall courses will have some component of face-to-face interaction. I fully anticipate that that number will rise substantially now that we know that everyone on campus has to be vaccinated before the fall semester. In early June, we will be able to revise the course schedule and to add additional face-to-face courses. We believe that only 10% of the fall courses will be conducted asynchronously.

Clearly, we will need to have many conversations with students, staff, faculty, unions, and the CSU before any of the above is set in stone, but I wanted you to know in advance where we are going.

The Library will be reopening. The AIRC will be serving our students. The University Union and WELL will be open. Campus food services will restart, though to what degree is unknown. Research will resume. Of course, we will also be teleworking—the pandemic has taught us that there are many ways to serve our students. A limited teleworking policy will soon be forthcoming. But mostly we will be a face-to-face Hornet Family. We will also be a safe Hornet Family.

I wish that I had all the answers for you. I don’t. But we have a way forward, and it starts now. Please get your vaccinations. Please finish this semester strong. Stingers Up.

Sign up to cheer for our graduates at CARmencement

April 22, 2021 - CARmencement will take place Friday and Saturday, May 21-22. Thank you to all who have signed up to volunteer at CARmencement. I am proud that so many faculty and staff have offered to help make the celebration fun, safe, and meaningful for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

As of now, we have sufficient volunteers, but we need many more members of the Hornet Family to come out and cheer for our graduates. If you have not already done so, please consider signing up to cheer for our graduates as they take their victory lap through campus. We want to have the CARmencement route lined with faculty and staff cheering for the students. The classes of 2020 and 2021 will not have the opportunity to participate in formal Commencement ceremonies. They deserve our support.

I want to urge you personally to sign up to cheer at the event. The deadline is May 6. Anyone who wants to participate must register to ensure that public health guidelines are followed. Non-exempt employees (including student assistants) must receive permission from their supervisor to cheer during their work hours. They also are welcome to sign up to cheer on their own time outside of work.

We need your help to make the celebration a success and hope you will join the celebration. Social distancing and facemasks will be required, and an orientation, including safety training, will be provided for all who sign up to cheer. Personal protective equipment also will be available for those that need it.

More details about CARmencement can be found at the Sac State Commencement website, including Frequently Asked Questions. Please send specific questions to commencement@csus.edu. Stingers Up!

Derek Chauvin trial

April 20, 2021 - This week, many of us are anxiously awaiting the looming verdict in the trial of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd. The details and evidence revealed during the trial have been deeply distressing and painful. I want to acknowledge the burdens of anxiety, stress, and fear that many are feeling. The coming days and weeks will be deeply challenging, and the impact of the jury’s decision will be felt by many in our campus community, but especially by the Black community and communities of color.

The image of George Floyd dying on the street under Derek Chauvin’s knee will stay with all of us, and me personally, forever. Just in the past two weeks, we have witnessed the tragic deaths of Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, two young men whose lives were ended before our eyes at the hands of law enforcement. The rise in anti-Asian hate crimes is terrorizing entire communities. We cannot look away; we must seek permanent change.

I do not know how the jury will decide the Chauvin case, but I know that our community is experiencing collective tension and trauma. The Hornet Family is carrying the weight and pain of racism, bigotry, and hate, all taking place within the context of a worldwide pandemic. We cannot pretend that life is normal. I ask that we treat each other kindly, that we extend grace and patience to one another. Please take care of yourself and each other. We are only strong when we are together. We must all take time to reflect and learn about how our history of race and racism has shaped who we are as a nation, as a University, and as individuals.

The mental trauma of all that we have been through in the past year, especially the racism and bigotry that we have witnessed, cannot be underestimated and dismissed. For those in need of support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. Sacramento State has counselors ready to support faculty and staff through our Employee Assistance Program online, or call 800-367-7474.

Deans' Awards and President's Medal recipients

April 19, 2021 - Each spring, I have the privilege of awarding the President’s Medal to a Dean's Award recipient. The Deans' Awards honor one outstanding student from each college who exemplifies academic excellence, community involvement, and engagement within their college and on campus. Many of these students have overcome incredible odds and heartbreaking experiences to earn their degree. Choosing among such candidates is always very hard – and this year, it was especially difficult.

I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Deans' Awardees: Tiara Alston (Arts and Letters), William Bradley (Business Administration), Shamona Thompson Ross (Education), Sarahanne Mora (Engineering and Computer Science), Janai Belmonte (Health and Human Services), Seham Aldafari (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), and Mario Lopez-Mendez (Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies). Each of these students exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet, and we are all proud of what they have achieved.

From this extraordinary group of students, I have selected Seham Aldafari from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to receive the President’s Medal.

Born in a small village in Yemen, Seham immigrated with her family to the United States when she was 9 years old. Sadly, when Seham first landed in a small town in rural Illinois, she was devastated by both culture shock and the disregard with which she and her family were met. She and her family did not speak English. The predominantly white community where they settled was unwelcoming. She was placed in remedial classes in school, and her teachers expressed no interest in helping her. And, for the first time in her life, she had to navigate schooling in a co-ed environment.

With diligence and perseverance, Seham taught herself English. She has served as her family’s translator ever since – for hospital visits, dental visits, business calls, and more. Even with these very adult pressures, she developed a passion for education and realized that she could excel as a student. She became the first person in her family to graduate from high school, and then the first person in her family to attend college. Soon, she will celebrate being a first-generation college graduate.

Seham is also an outstanding student researcher who is currently working on projects that involve assessing synapse formation at the neuromuscular junction (NMJ) in Drosophila (fruit fly) larvae and measuring nonassociative learning and memory in adult flies to understand how a genetic risk factor for neurodevelopmental disorders and an environmental chemical collectively impact the developing nervous system. Her professor describes her as someone who “has a preternatural understanding that ‘to try and fail is at least to learn.’ ” Seham wants to be a physician someday, and I know she will reach that goal.

Perhaps most importantly, Seham is extremely involved with the campus community and is committed to service that is centered on inclusion and antiracism. She serves as the president of the Women in STEM Club, and she co-founded the Muslim Women Coalition Club, where she continues to serve as treasurer. She is co-chair of the Cross Racial and Inclusive Engagement Committee, which is part of the campus-wide initiative to create an antiracist campus. Seham has served as an assistant for the International Programs and Global Engagement Committee, helping international students adjust to life and college in the United States. She was also recently hired as a Health and Human Services coach for the DEGREES Project, where she works to help students from systemically minoritized groups make progress toward their degrees in an effort to close the equity gap.

Congratulations, Seham. All of our Deans' Awards recipients make us incredibly proud, and I look forward to celebrating the entire Class of 2021 soon. Stingers Up!

Vaccinations for students

April 13, 2021 - We are pleased to announce that Sacramento State has been given authorization to begin inviting Sacramento State students to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at our vaccination site.

We know many students will be excited about the opportunity and may be eager to receive the vaccine. The vaccination brings hope. Please remember, however, that the number of people vaccinated each day depends on the amount of vaccine we have on hand.

Students will receive an email from “Sacramento State Administration” when it is their turn. Vaccinations will be by appointment only, and students may not forward their invitation to anyone else. Anyone registering with a borrowed or forwarded invitation will have their appointment canceled. We must continue to follow Sacramento County Public Health guidance in order to give vaccines on campus, and the invitation cannot be extended to friends or family members who do not work for or are not enrolled at Sacramento State.

Please visit Sacramento State’s COVID-19 website for updated information. Stingers Up!

Out of the Darkness

April 13, 2021 - As many of you know, to Jody and me because of our son Seth, the Out of the Darkness Walk is personal. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students. It claims the lives of more than 1,100 students each year, yet half of all students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counseling or treatment (Active Minds, 2018). With the global events of this past year, it is important now more than ever to bring light to the conversations of suicide prevention and mental health support. This event serves as a reminder that as a Hornet Family we may be apart, but we are not alone.

This year, Sac State hosts its 10th Annual Out of the Darkness Campus Experience event on Thursday, April 15. Because of COVID-19 prevention recommendations, the event will be held virtually through Instagram @outofthedarknesscsus and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website. This event is hosted in collaboration with Sacramento State’s Active Minds Chapter, Sac State Student Health & Counseling Services, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Greater Sacramento Chapter.

As a Hornet Family, I encourage you all to come together virtually to support suicide prevention and continue to reduce the stigma of mental health challenges. By registering, you are showing support for survivors, students at risk, and those who, like Jody and me, have been impacted by suicide. Mental health is an extremely important factor for the success of our students, faculty, and staff, and we hope that you will continue to support the cause through this event.

Participants may register as a Virtual Walker online through the day of the event, April 15, and join along on Instagram @outofthedarknesscsus and Sac State’s AFSP website to participate. The virtual event will include a tribute from Jody and me, as well as student speakers sharing their experience and support for suicide prevention.

I am personally asking all students, organizations, departments, faculty, staff, and community members to come together and not only remember and honor those whose lives have been lost to suicide, but to take action to help raise awareness surrounding the topic of mental health and suicide so no one ever feels alone or afraid to seek support or services. Together, we can all come out of the darkness and into the light to support our Hornet Family.

Register free: Sac State Out of the Darkness Walk 2021

For more information or any questions, please email Lara Falkenstein, lara.falkenstein@csus.edu.

CARmencement volunteer registration is now open

April 1, 2021CARmencement will take place Friday and Saturday, May 21-22. Volunteer registration and the sign-up to cheer for our graduates at the event now are open.

Please remember that no employee will be required to volunteer for CARmencement. However, we need your help to make the event a success. Social distancing and facemasks will be required, and mandatory in-depth orientation, including safety training, will be provided for all volunteers.

Personal protective equipment also will be provided to all volunteers.

For all MPPs and faculty:
If you feel comfortable, please consider signing up to volunteer for CARmencement. Please follow this link to sign up to volunteer. We need volunteers to assist with graduate check-in (scanners and help desk), route monitors, entertainment stage monitors, recognition-zone scanners, and runners. (Exempt employees who are not MPPs may also volunteer.) Please register to volunteer by April 30.

For all staff (including MPPs, faculty, staff, and student employees):
All interested staff are encouraged to come to CARmencement and cheer for our graduates. Please follow this link to sign up to cheer at the event. Everyone who wants to participate must sign up to ensure that we follow public health guidelines. Non-exempt employees (including student assistants) must receive permission from their supervisor to cheer during their work hours. They also are welcome to sign up to cheer on their own time. Please sign up to cheer by May 6.

More details about CARmencement can be found at the Sac State Commencement website, including Frequently Asked Questions. Please send specific questions to commencement@csus.edu.

I am so looking forward to seeing you in person again, and to cheering for our graduates at CARmencement together. Let’s come together to make the event an experience no one will ever forget. Let’s show up for our graduates and for the entire Hornet Family. Stingers Up!

Budget update

March 25, 2021 - In February, we received the positive news from Gov. Gavin Newsom that he is proposing to restore the $299 million cut from the CSU system last year. We estimate that Sacramento State will receive approximately $10.87 million more than we received in 2020-2021. Unfortunately, because of increased costs, especially mandatory costs, to balance our budget last year, each division was cut 10% for a total of $17.3 million institutionally, so our budget will not yet be fully restored. 

These cuts have been painful. I am committed to shared governance and to working closely with the University Budget Advisory Council (UBAC), but we are still living in dynamic and unprecedented times. In consultation with UBAC and the President’s Cabinet, I am recommending a hybrid approach for the 2021-2022 budget.

Over the past year, all of us have worked hard to “do less with less,” but now that we have new funding, we must take a more targeted approach. We need to dedicate to the divisions the entire anticipated $10.87 million, which we will round up to $11 million using other sources. These funds are recurring funds, and decisions should be made at a more local level, rather than top down, on where the dollars should be reinvested and what positions should be filled. We also need to be strategic and innovative. We cannot lose the momentum that we have with the Graduation Initiative, Inclusive Excellence, the Comprehensive Campaign, and the Anchor University Initiative, and we must stay safe and healthy. We have made too much progress to stop now. Hence, I am asking UBAC to make recommendations to allocate $6.87 million in recurring general operating dollars (the original amount that the governor first proposed) to fund the five imperatives that have been our guides for the last six years: student success, diversity and inclusion, philanthropy, safety, and community engagement. 

Overall, our sources of revenue will be $368,850,137. Our actual expenses will be $371,719,079. To make up the deficit and to have a balanced budget, we will need to borrow $2,868,942 from our reserves. To put that number in perspective, last year we borrowed $5.5 million one-time money to pay for lecturers to provide extra sections as part of the Graduation Initiative. This year, approximately $2 million recurring dollars will be permanently allocated to Academic Affairs, and we will only need $3.5 million one-time funding for lecturers. In next year’s budget, we hope to make all lecturer funding recurring dollars.

Each division will be allowed to set its own priorities on how to allocate its share of the $11 million restoration. But because the money is recurring and because we have been doing less with less, I am asking that special emphasis be placed on hiring personnel. Many of these hires may be replacements, but they may be new positions as well. Sacramento State has evolved significantly over the past year, and there is a need for new hires to meet new strategies in this new world. These hires will still have to be approved – that hasn’t changed. I do hope that many of the divisions’ priorities also align with the five imperatives, but the decision will be left to the divisions.

The $11 million will be restored to the divisions based on 10% cuts that totaled $17.3 million in 2020-2021 (the dollar amounts have been rounded for the sake of simplicity):

Academic Affairs                66%        ($7.26M)
ABA                                  12%        ($1.32M)
Student Affairs                    8%         ($880K)
IRT                                    5%         ($550K)
University Advancement   2.5%         ($275K)
Athletics                            3%         ($330K)
President’s Office               2%          ($220K)
Inclusive Excellence           1%          (110K)
Public Affairs                     5%          (55K)

This past year has been the most difficult year most of us have experienced, especially in our work in academia. None of us want to see another year like this one in our lifetime. But Sacramento State got through it. The Hornet Family is still transforming lives. We are still here delivering a high-quality, excellent education to our students. There have been many sacrifices, and the pandemic has taken a significant toll. I know that the Hornet Family is exhausted, but we are enduring. And we will continue to support each other. The restorations in the budget and the ongoing success of the vaccines give us reason for hope, and I hope we can all allow ourselves to feel a small bit of optimism again. Stay strong, and I look forward to seeing many of you in the fall.

Please be safe during Spring Break

March 18, 2021 - From President Robert S. Nelsen and ASI President Noah Marty:

Spring Break serves as a much-needed mental health break for students and faculty, especially after such a challenging year. We hope that you all have a chance to enjoy your Spring Break and that you will take the opportunity to recharge during your time away from class.

As parts of our economy have started to reopen, along with approaching the one-year milestone of our state announcing a stay-at-home order, we understand the temptation to travel and party during Spring Break as so many have done in the past. Unfortunately, COVID-19 is still spreading in our country and we are concerned that our region could face another deadly surge like what we saw after Thanksgiving and Winter Break.

Therefore, we strongly encourage everyone to avoid all behaviors that increase risk of COVID-19 transmission. For those who do decide to travel and gather with others, please be considerate of the health of the people with whom you may come into contact after you return.

We know that it feels as if we are nearing the end of this horrible pandemic - we hope that is true but we must remain committed to safety and to following public health guidelines. We must continue to work together to protect ourselves and one another. We all need to do our part to keep our Hornet Family safe.

The shootings in Atlanta

March 17, 2021 - The killing of eight people in Atlanta, six of them Asian women, is appalling and deeply troubling. Sacramento State mourns the loss of the innocent lives that were taken yesterday and denounces such acts of hatred.

Over the past year, we have seen an alarming spike in verbal and physical attacks against Asians and Asian Americans, fueled in part by those individuals who blame China for the COVID-19 pandemic. We feared something like yesterday’s murders would happen. We must condemn such violence and we must stand together against racism and hate in all forms.

While the incident is still under investigation, the victims were mostly Asian women, suggesting a hate crime motivated not only by racism, but also by toxic misogyny. I am horrified by this tragic violence and my heart is broken for the victims and their families.

I have learned from members of the campus community that yesterday’s incident harkens painful memories and prior experiences. I am greatly saddened to know that members of our Hornet Family are experiencing ongoing and now fresh trauma due to such hatred.

In response to yesterday’s murders and the increased anti-Asian hatred and violence, Sacramento State is hosting a virtual Hearing and Healing Circle for students, faculty and staff from 2-4 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30. Please be on the lookout for more details.

The mental trauma of racism and bigotry cannot be underestimated and dismissed. For those in need of support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. Sacramento State has counselors ready to support faculty and staff through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474.

Staff and Faculty Emergency Fund

March 16, 2021 - The last year has been challenging for all members of the Hornet Family. While our faculty and staff have worked to keep Sacramento State operational, we know that many of you have also endured personal hardships. The COVID-19 crisis happened to all of us, to our students and their families, and to each of you.

In response to the crisis, Sacramento State has established a Staff & Faculty Emergency Fund (SFEF), to provide limited financial assistance to employees who have experienced a temporary and unanticipated hardship or emergency. Awards are made in the form of grants that do not have to be repaid.

The SFEF is established through the University Foundation and made possible by generous donors. Staff and faculty may also support their coworkers in need by contributing to the fund.  Donations can be made on a one-time or recurring basis and are tax deductible.  Longevity of the program is contingent on ongoing donations. The program will remain in place as long as funds are available.

For more information on eligibility criteria, applying for assistance, or how to donate to the fund, please visit the SFEF website.

Thank you for all you have done to help our students succeed during this global crisis. Please take care of yourself and one another. We will endure, and we will do it together.

CARmencement info Sessions

March 2, 2021 - Beginning Friday, May 21, Sacramento State will be hosting CARmencement, a parade-like celebration through campus, including individual graduate recognition, for the classes of 2020 and 2021.

We know you have questions. As promised, we have scheduled virtual information sessions to share more with you about how we came to the decision and to answer your questions.

The first information session will be geared toward graduates and their guests:

• Graduates and guests: 2 p.m. Friday, March 5 (click this link to join). 

The second information session will be geared toward faculty and staff:

• Faculty and staff: 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 10 (click this link to join). 

Sacramento State seeks to ensure that our events are inclusive and that all attendees are able to participate fully. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations for this event, please contact events@csus.edu.

I hope you will join us for these information sessions. Meanwhile, more details about CARmencement can be found at the Sac State Commencement website, including Frequently Asked Questions. Please send specific questions to commencement@csus.edu. Stingers Up!

Sac State's COVID-19 Screening Program

Feb. 23, 2021 - Sacramento State has launched a COVID-19 Screening Program. If you have received an email from the Division of Student Affairs that says, “Important Reminder about COVID-19 Screening,” it means you were randomly selected to participate in the COVID-19 surveillance screening program. Please consider registering to be tested. The testing is not mandatory, but highly encouraged. Being tested can help prevent the spread of COVID-19 to your family, friends, classmates, or professors. Testing is done at the Student Health Center and is by appointment only. The screening program is for faculty, staff, and students, who will be randomly selected each week to participate throughout the spring semester. 

Sacramento State is partnering with Avellino Labs to make the COVID-19 testing program available for faculty, staff, and students. For more information about Avellino labs, please visit their website.

For additional information regarding the Sacramento State COVID-19 Screening Program, please visit the Coronavirus Information for Students web page or email questions to covidquestions@csus.edu.

Stay safe, Hornets. Let’s all do our part to protect one another. Stingers Up!

Commencement

Feb. 22, 2021 - I know that many members of the Hornet Family are anxiously waiting for news on Commencement, and I encourage everyone to read this message in its entirety. 

By now, we had hoped that the pandemic would be over, or at least contained enough to host in-person Commencement ceremonies once again in 2021. Sadly, we are not there yet. 

In light of the ongoing danger related to COVID-19, we will not, and cannot, risk holding large, formal, in-person Commencement ceremonies in the near future. Not even outdoors. After significant planning, we believe the safest option for the 2020 and 2021 graduates is an on-campus, drive-through Commencement celebration we are calling “CARmencement.” 

I sincerely apologize to this and last years’ graduates. I promised that we would meet at Golden 1 Center, and we cannot. Your hearts are broken, and so is mine. Last year, I committed to in-person ceremonies to celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021. At the time, I fully believed we would be celebrating at Golden 1 Center this May, but that is not possible. I made a promise to our graduates that we could not keep. Therefore, by the end of April, we will be automatically refunding the portion of graduation fees ($48.50) that covers the Commencement ceremony. The refund will apply to graduates who completed their degree in the following semesters: Fall 2019, Spring 2020, Summer 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021, and Summer 2021. 

Graduates should enroll in eRefund and ensure that their mailing address is current in the Student Center. Graduates do not need to take any action to receive their refund, which will be automatically processed. For students applying to graduate in 2021 who have yet to pay their graduation application fees, only the portion of the fee that goes toward their diploma ($28) will be charged. The refund is only for graduates listed above who have paid the full graduation fee.

Instead of a Golden 1 Center Commencement, each graduate will be invited to come to Sacramento State beginning Friday, May 21, to participate in a drive-through CARmencement celebration on our beautiful campus. The celebration will include a parade-type experience through campus where each graduate will be individually recognized. The event will include music, two official Sacramento State Commencement programs, a special gift for each graduate, and COVID-safe interaction with faculty and staff who supported and cheered students to reach their academic goals. We hope that you will choose to celebrate safely with us in the best way we can, given the extraordinary circumstances in which we continue to find ourselves. 

More details about CARmencement will be coming soon, including how to register and what to expect during the event. I understand that there are many questions, and we have prepared an FAQ document that has been added to the Sac State Commencement website. The website also will be continually updated with the most up-to-date CARmencement information. Please send specific questions to commencement@csus.edu. Further, we will share information about what led us to this decision and our vision for CARmencement, as well as answer questions, during two virtual information sessions in the next two weeks. Please be on the lookout for invitations to these upcoming information sessions on these dates:

  • Graduates and guests: 2 p.m. Friday, March 5.
  • Faculty and staff: 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 10.
I am incredibly proud of the Hornet Family. Please continue to take care of yourself and one another. We will endure, and we will do it together. Stingers Up!

Emergency grants for students

Feb. 18, 2021 - Many of you have been waiting for news about the most recent round of Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) money, authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), and when and how it will be distributed to Sacramento State students. I am pleased to share that Sacramento State has received $17.8 million in CRRSAA funds (also called HEERF II) to provide grants to students. Congress intends for students to use the funds for expenses – such as food, housing, course materials, healthcare, and childcare – related to the disruption of their studies caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

While we waited for guidance from the U.S. Department of Education, we worked to determine how best to allocate the grants in alignment with guidance from Congress to prioritize grants for students with the most need. The current information we have on file for financial need (FAFSA) is based upon tax returns from 2019, which may not accurately demonstrate the financial challenges our students have faced since March 2020.

Obviously, every student has been affected in one way or another by the pandemic. Therefore, we have worked to ensure that all students will receive relief, while acknowledging that students who currently receive high-need federal financial aid in the form of a Pell grant might continue to have increased need. Therefore, the CRRSAA funds will be allocated to all students as shown in the table at the bottom of this message.

Based on our current enrollment, the sum of these allocations will exceed the $17.8 million of CRRSAA funds, so the University will add about $5 million more of HEERF institutional funds to augment the awards for our students.

The CRRSAA and HEERF funding cannot be used for international students or undocumented students, but we have set aside funds from other University sources to provide these students with the same amounts listed above. Last May, we were dismayed to learn that students already in fully online programs would not qualify for the HEERF funding. I am pleased that the restriction has been removed by Congress for this round of funding. Students in fully online programs through the College of Continuing Education will receive identical funding from CRRSAA.

All students will automatically receive their grant via eRefund or a mailed check. Our goal is to have eRefund grants disbursed at the end of next week, with checks going out the full week after. It is extremely important that students have updated their directory information in their Student Center, because checks will be sent to the address listed there. The quickest way for students to receive their grant is via eRefund. Students should strongly consider signing up for eRefund if they have not already done so. Students should also double check that their eRefund bank account is still active. Students can find eRefund in their Student Center. Information on how to access eRefund can be found on the Campus Bursar's Office web page. Students who have a balance due or a hold on their account will still receive a full grant. They can, but are not required to, use their grant to pay down their balance or resolve any holds.

Obviously, the COVID-19 crisis has dramatically changed the financial situation for many students and their families. Hence, Sacramento State also has set aside an additional $1.5 million of the University’s share of HEERF and CRRSAA funds for students in crisis. Information about how to apply for these supplemental grants can be found on the HEERF Emergency Grants page.

I know that many of our students are facing substantial, significant financial challenges that these grants cannot cover. We remain committed to finding ways to support the Hornet Family through this crisis. Many generous donors have come forward to help. Students facing additional needs should consider applying for the Sacramento State emergency grant and emergency housing programs.

Please be safe and stay strong. I hope to see you all on campus again soon. Stingers up!

  Enrolled in 7 or more units Enrolled in 6 or less units
Pell Eligible EFC $850 $700
Not Pell-eligible EFC $750 $600

COVID-19 Vaccine Info for Employees

Feb. 17, 2021 - On Feb. 16, Sacramento County moved to COVID-19 vaccination Phase 1a, Tier 2.  Educators, including Sacramento State employees (faculty, staff, and administrators), now are eligible to receive the vaccine. We at Sacramento State will be able to provide the vaccinations, as will multiple other sources such as CVS, Walgreens, Cal Expo, and local medical providers. You can register with Vaccinate Sacramento to receive information about scheduling appointments in the county. Students are not eligible to be vaccinated on campus at this time.

We know that many of you are excited about the opportunity to receive the vaccine, and this news brings hope. As much as we wish everyone could be vaccinated tomorrow, please remember that the number of people vaccinated per day is completely dependent on the amount of vaccine available. Each week, Sacramento State receives doses from the county; the number of doses depends on how many doses the county receives for overall distribution. Currently, supplies are very limited and vary from week to week. We encourage everyone to seek vaccinations from all available sources.

This week, employees will start receiving email invitations to sign up for an appointment to be vaccinated at the vaccination site in the University Union. If you would like to decline or if you have already received your vaccine, then you can simply delete the invitation. The limited quantity of vaccine has forced us to make difficult decisions about who should receive the vaccination first and who will receive subsequent inoculations, but we will be guided by our commitment to the Hornet Family. Individuals currently teaching face-to-face classes, those who are doing active research with students required for graduation, and those who are directly supporting students and employees in face-to-face situations (for example, custodians, housing staff, facilities staff, mail services staff) will receive the initial invitations. Employees who have less interaction on campus or who are teleworking will be subsequently considered.

When it is time, faculty and staff will receive an email from “Vaccination Clinics” that will include a link to register for an appointment on campus. Vaccines will be given by appointment only. To follow Sacramento County Public Health guidance, appointments are only available to Sacramento State employees who receive the link. The invitation cannot be shared with others, even if they work at Sacramento State. Employees will be asked to show their OneCard. Anyone who is identified as registering for a vaccine with a shared link will have the registration canceled. We appreciate everyone’s understanding of the importance of following the county’s vaccination protocol.

At this time, vaccinations cannot be required. The current vaccinations have been cleared for Emergency Use Authorization only. Once they are fully vetted and approved by the FDA, we will be able to consider requiring the vaccinations for anyone who is physically on our campus. Until that approval, we must rely on our mutual respect, understanding, and care to keep the Hornet Family safe and healthy.

It is important to remember that we are not repopulating campus. Everyone who can telework should continue to do so. The vaccine decreases the severity of illness for the individual, but it does not prevent someone from catching or spreading COVID-19.

Please visit Sacramento State’s COVID-19 website for updated information. Stingers Up!

Condemning violence against Asians and Asian Americans

Feb. 12, 2021 - The past year has been difficult for many members and populations of our campus community because of the pandemic, ongoing economic crises, a contentious election, violence at the Capitol, and a summer of unrest and activism after the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. 

As I shared in 2020, Asians and Asian Americans have seen a sharp rise in hate incidents in the aftermath of racist rhetoric around the COVID-19 pandemic. These incidents were fueled by politicians blaming China for the pandemic. Recently, the Bay Area has experienced a series of attacks on Asian American and Pacific Islanders living in the region, particularly the elderly. In January, Vicha Ratanapakdee, 84, was murdered in San Francisco during his morning walk. In Oakland’s Chinatown neighborhood, a woman, 52, was shot in the head with a flare gun and a 91-year-old man was recently attacked on the sidewalk. While any form of violence or hatred aimed at a community should have no place in our society, to target the vulnerable is especially egregious and cowardly. I strongly believe that we must condemn these attacks and condemn the hateful rhetoric aimed at Asians and Asian Americans. While the news of these attacks has not been as widely broadcast as other violence, we cannot remain silent or unaware of the racism and terror aimed at Asian and Asian American communities.

The damage done by the prolific anti-Asian rhetoric cannot be undone, but we as citizens must work together against all forms of racism toward anyone in our community. It is not us against each other; it must be us together against racism. President Biden’s signing of an executive order condemning racism against Asian American Pacific Islander communities is a good first step, but we cannot move forward as a country until we find ways to unify, heal, and put an end to racial violence and hate. It is tragic that in this time that should be filled with joy and happiness as many in the Asian community celebrate Lunar New Year, so many are living in terror. 

The mental trauma of racism and bigotry cannot be underestimated and dismissed. For those in need of support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. Sacramento State has counselors ready to support faculty and staff through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474. 

Remembering Lorall Hann

Feb. 10, 2021 - I am devastated to share that Lorall Marrece Hann, a Psychology major, passed away at the young age of 34 on Jan. 27, 2021. He was a mainstay of our Hornet Family — we all knew his smile.  And as he spun himself across campus, he made us all smile. I do not have adequate words to express my personal sorrow and the collective grief of our campus at this extraordinary loss. Lorall was a regular at football games and fundraising events, and was deeply committed to giving back to his fellow students and improving his community. He was a fierce advocate for students who faced access and mobility challenges on our campus. Lorall was an intellectual, a dreamer, a poet, and a friend — and a darn good DJ at KSSU.

As highlighted in a powerful video profile about Lorall in 2019 (follow this link to see the video), he persisted through significant obstacles to live a rich life on his terms. Lorall wanted to be a counselor. He would have been an amazing counselor. He understood hardship and devastation, and he understood what it was like to be supported by his family and his community. I know that my heartache is shared by many of you as you process this terrible news. Lorall’s life is one that ended far too early and so tragically close to the fulfillment of a longtime dream – graduating college. Later this semester, we will present Lorall’s family with a posthumous degree in recognition of his academic achievement at Sacramento State.

The past year has been difficult for us all. It has been a year filled with extraordinary challenges and extraordinary losses. Out of respect for the wishes of family, I am often unable to share information about members of the Hornet Family who have passed. I am grateful that Lorall’s family is allowing us to celebrate his life and legacy publicly. I hope you will join the Hornet Family for a campus-wide virtual memorial event at 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, to celebrate Lorall’s life. Please follow this link to register for Lorall’s virtual memorial: 

https://csus.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZMldu2vqDMrHt1TjkpmfqGUHKaAa3aBiQ-O

We know Lorall made an impact on the Hornet Family, and many of you may want to honor his memory in a lasting and meaningful way. If you would like to donate to the Guardian Scholars Program in Lorall’s name, you can do so here by following this link.

This devastating loss touches so many on our campus. For those seeking grief counseling, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other during this difficult time.

Dean Robin Carter has retired from Sac State

Feb. 8, 2021 - As Provost Perez shared earlier today, Dr. Robin Carter, Dean of the College of Health and Human Services has retired, effective immediately. To say that I am heartbroken is an understatement. Dean Carter is an institution at Sacramento State, and her stellar reputation on our campus is unparalleled. While this decision is a shock to many of us, I urge everyone to respect her privacy during this time. 

Most recently, Dean Carter was appointed to her position in December 2020 after a national search. She was “Made at Sac State,” earning both her bachelor's and master’s degrees in Social Work here. She then went on to complete a master’s and doctoral degree in Public Administration from the University of Southern California. 

Dean Carter’s impact and career at Sacramento State spans decades. She joined the faculty in 1989, eventually rising to a full professor in the Division of Social Work. She has served as a Department Chair, Associate Dean, and as Interim Vice Provost in Academic Affairs. Dean Carter was the inaugural Executive Director for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion, which has grown into the Division of Inclusive Excellence. Her work as Interim Executive Director of Diversity and Inclusion laid critical groundwork for the establishment of this office at Sacramento State. In spite of her outstanding work in this area, she chose to pursue her dreams of earning a deanship. In 2019, she was appointed as the Interim Dean of the College of Health and Human Services after the retirement of Dean Fred Baldini. In December, she earned the well-deserved honor of being named Dean of the college.

Few people have had the career span and time at a single institution to truly make an impact in the way that Dean Carter has. She is truly the epitome and spirit of the Hornet Family. I cannot imagine this campus without her bright, bold, and caring leadership. I hope that we will all celebrate Dean Carter’s legacy at Sacramento State and wish her the best in this new phase of life. Associate Dean Mary Maguire will serve as Administrator in Charge of Health and Human Services for the immediate future.

Robin is a friend, a trusted colleague, and an admired leader at Sacramento State. She is truly irreplaceable. We all owe her immense thanks for her time, energy, and commitment to making Sacramento State a better place for our students, staff, and faculty. Robin is and always will be the best of the Hornet Family.

Approved face-to-face classes may begin in-person instruction Feb. 1

Jan. 27, 2021 - The spring semester is off to another exciting, yet challenging start. My first campus message of the semester this morning was about possible power outages from the high winds our region experienced last night. Not an ideal way to begin a virtual semester, but the Hornet Family persists.

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced earlier this week that the statewide Stay-at-Home Order for the Greater Sacramento Region has been lifted. Therefore, those classes that already have been approved for face-to-face instruction for Spring 2021 may begin in-person meetings beginning Feb. 1, 2021. Please review the following for updates and clarification about University operations.

Classes and labs:

  • The vast majority of classes and labs will be delivered virtually for Spring 2021.
  • Previously approved face-to-face classes and labs may begin in-person instruction starting Feb. 1, 2021.
  • Faculty teaching face-to-face classes and labs must communicate with their department chair and students as soon as possible regarding when they intend to resume in-person class and lab meetings.
For students:
  • Residence halls will remain open.
  • Protocols established by each department during the fall will be observed for equipment return. If changes or new procedures are needed, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will provide prompt review (call 916-278-2020).
  • The Hornet Bookstore is open with limited hours to allow pick-up and return of course materials. Please check the Bookstore website for hours of operation.
  • Student Health and Counseling Services remains open. Please check its website for hours of operation. 
  • The ASI Children’s Center is open. Please check the Center website for more details.
  • Limited outdoor activities will continue to be available by appointment at The Well and Aquatic Center. Please check their website for details. 
On-campus research:
  • Previously approved on-campus research involving students may continue if deemed necessary for graduation by the provost.
  • Previously approved on-campus research that does not involve students may continue.
For employees:
  • All employees who are teleworking shall continue to do so.
  • The protocol for staff and faculty returning to campus can be found on the Risk Management web page.
All employees who come to campus must have completed COVID-19 Safety Training and should have received their Safety Equipment Package with face coverings and hand sanitizer. Managers should ensure that all employees in their reporting line have sufficient face coverings and sanitizers to remain in compliance with our protocols and to keep our employees protected. Direct any questions about safety training or safety equipment to EHS.
Athletics:
  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball are currently competing. You can watch them play for free on PlutoTV. Stingers Up!
  • We will follow all NCAA Resocialization protocols in determining next steps for spring sports. 
  • I know everyone is seeking information about Sacramento State’s COVID-19 testing and vaccination programs, and more information on will be coming soon. Meanwhile, please click on the links in the COVID-19 banner on the University’s main web page for more immediate information.
For those who need additional support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474.

Possible power outages for students, faculty, and staff

Jan. 27, 2021 - Due to high winds, our region is facing the possibility of extended power outages. If a power outage prohibits you from going to class, teaching a class, or teleworking, please see the following information for appropriate actions:

Students:

  • Please contact your instructor as soon as you are able and explain your situation.
  • Please be patient with your faculty, as they also may be impacted by the power outages.
Faculty:
  • If you cannot deliver a synchronous class, please contact your department chair.
  • If you are unable to contact your students, please work with your chair or associate dean to get a message to them.
  • Please be understanding with students who are affected by power outages.
Staff and Management:
  • Please contact your manager as soon as you are able.
  • Managers should work with employees to determine options for completing their work or taking time off.
  • Please be patient with managers and employees, as many are affected by the outage.
I must reiterate that everyone who can study or work remotely should continue to do so. Let’s continue to care for one another and ourselves. Please be kind and understanding as people navigate the aftermath of these storms.

Reminder: Virtual Spring Address

Jan. 19, 2021 - As a friendly reminder, I hope that you will join me via Zoom webinar at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, for my virtual Spring Address. 

Here is the direct link: https://csus.zoom.us/j/89363486981.

You can also locate the link on Sacramento State’s website.

The Spring Address will be recorded so that it will be available for those who are not able to watch the event live. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations to view the Spring Address, please contact events@csus.edu.

My intention for the Spring Address is to shed light on what we know, what we anticipate, and what we think it means for Sacramento State. Stingers Up!

Virtual Spring Address - Thursday, January 21, 2021

Jan. 15, 2021 - Please join me via Zoom webinar at 9 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 21, for what I hope will be my last virtual Spring Address. 

Here is the link: https://csus.zoom.us/j/89363486981.

The Spring Address will be recorded so that it will be available for those who are not able to watch the event live. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations to view the Spring Address, please contact events@csus.edu.

We have been through turmoil over the past several months, as a Hornet Family and as a nation (including just the past few weeks). Obviously, there are many questions about what’s next. My intention for the Spring Address is to shed light on what we know, what we anticipate, and what we think it means for Sacramento State. 

I am experiencing Zoom fatigue, and I am sure you are too. I look forward to the day when we can be together in person. I am extremely grateful for all the work that you have done to ensure that the spring semester can begin safely and productively and for moving our University forward. Stingers Up!

Stay at Home Order Extended

Jan. 12, 2021 - On Dec. 9, 2020, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that since ICU bed availability in the Greater Sacramento Region (including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties) had dropped below 15%, the Regional Stay at Home Order would be put in place. 

The Regional Stay at Home Order was to be in effect for at least three weeks. After that period, the order could have been lifted if our region’s projected ICU capacity met or exceeded 15%. Unfortunately, the situation has only deteriorated—our region’s ICU capacity has continued to decrease, and after the recent holidays, the forecast does not look any more promising. Therefore, the Stay at Home Order has been extended until we learn otherwise.

We still intend to begin instruction—both face-to-face and virtual—Jan. 25. As you know, we decided that the first week of instruction would be 100% virtual, even for face-to-face classes. That decision was made in anticipation of the now very-real spike in COVID cases and hospitalizations, and it was the right decision. Depending on conditions, we may need to extend 100% virtual instruction beyond the first week of classes. We will continually assess the situation over the next few weeks and will communicate as soon as a decision is reached about the subsequent weeks of the spring semester. 

Meanwhile, please review the following for updates and clarification about University operations.

Classes and labs:

  • All classes and labs (including those approved as face-to-face for Spring 2021) scheduled for Jan. 25 – 29 will be delivered virtually.
  • Depending on our region’s Stay at Home Order status, virtual delivery may be extended beyond the first week of instruction.
For students:
  • Residence halls will remain open. 
  • Students living in the residence halls should monitor their email for notices about returning/move-in assignments. Most students will be returning or moving in starting Jan. 21.
  • Protocols established by each department during the fall will be observed for equipment return. If changes or new procedures are needed, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will provide prompt review (call 916-278-2020).
  • The Hornet Bookstore will remain open with limited hours to allow pick-up and return of course materials. Please check the Bookstore website for hours of operation.
  • Student Health and Counseling Services remains open. Please check its website for hours of operation. 
  • The ASI Children’s Center will remain open. Please check the Center website for more details.
  • Limited outdoor activities will continue to be available by appointment at The Well and Aquatic Center. Please check their website for details.
On-campus research:
  • Previously approved on-campus research involving students may continue if deemed necessary for graduation by the provost.
  • Previously approved on-campus research that does not involve students may continue.
For employees:
  • All employees who are teleworking shall continue to do so.
  • In departments that have employees with approved return-to-work plans, managers must re-assess operational/business needs to determine which employees need to report physically to campus to conduct standard University operations.
  • All employees who have not received affirmative clearance to report to campus since we depopulated on Nov. 23 must receive new clearance via email from their appropriate administrator/MPP before returning to campus to work.
  • All employees who come to campus must have completed COVID-19 Safety Training and should have received their Safety Equipment Package with face coverings and hand sanitizer. Managers should ensure that all employees in their reporting line have sufficient face coverings and sanitizers to remain in compliance with our protocols and to keep our employees protected. Direct any questions about safety training or safety equipment to EHS.
Athletics:
  • Men’s and Women’s Basketball are currently competing, albeit with no fans present. You can watch them play for free on PlutoTV. Stingers Up!
  • We will follow all NCAA Resocialization protocols in determining next steps for spring sports. 
While we are still in the throes of this global pandemic, I am looking forward to the start of a new semester. The Hornet Family faces another period of challenges as we work to deliver a virtual education and continue our operations remotely. I cannot express enough how thankful I am to our staff and faculty for their dedication to our students and our campus. Our students are working diligently despite unprecedented challenges, and they deserve our patience and recognition. These are difficult times for everyone, and I hope we can continue to act with a spirit of generosity, understanding, and kindness as we navigate this semester together.

For those who need additional support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call 916-278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call 800-367-7474.

Today’s attack on democracy

Jan. 6, 2021 - Education, and specifically higher education, is dedicated to preserving democracy. Storming the United States Capitol is not an act of free speech. It is not a protest – it is an attack. The participants are not protestors. They are not “special.”  They are domestic terrorists. Live on television, on our cell phones, on our computers, we are witnessing terrorists trying to destroy the very foundations of our country. I strongly believe that we must condemn this attack and condemn those who are participating in it, along with those who encouraged it with their dangerous rhetoric.

President-elect Joe Biden referred to today’s events as an “unprecedented assault on the citadel of liberty.” He said, “The words of a president matter. … At best, the words can inspire. At worst, a president’s words can incite.” Biden’s words ring absolutely true. As I write this message to the Hornet Family, I fear that this situation has the potential to get worse before it gets better, especially if we do not speak for democracy and against what is happening in our nation’s capital. We do not know how today will end, but we do know that our country must and will move forward, move past this most ugly day.

Today’s work may have been interrupted by chaos, but Sacramento State’s work, and the work of all of us in higher education, will persist. We will endure; we will prevail. But we must do so with love, not with hate.