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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.

Save the date for Fall 2020 (Virtual) Convocation

July 28, 2020 - Sacramento State, our university, strives to be a place where every member of the campus community feels valued and affirmed. Every student. Every instructor. Every member of the staff. All of us must be safe, feel a sense of belonging, and operate in an environment where we have the opportunity to thrive.

To that end, we invite every member of the Sacramento State community to participate in our first Fall 2020 (Virtual) Convocation on Tuesday, Sept. 29. The theme is Advancing Our Commitment to Antiracism, and the convocation will provide an opportunity for our campus to come together to hear from two keynote speakers and to engage in breakout sessions facilitated by students, staff, faculty, and invited guests. The Division of Inclusive Excellence will provide additional details regarding the convocation and our keynote speakers later this week.

In recognition of the importance of this event, we are encouraging all students, faculty, and staff to participate in the convocation from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Sept. 29. In accordance with University policy, classes may be dismissed during a convocation, and students should not be penalized for attending the convocation 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.

Sincerely,

Robert S. Nelsen, President

Steve Perez, Provost

Diana Tate Vermeire, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence

We mourn the loss of a vibrant and bright young woman

July 22, 2020 - Last night, we learned that the life of one of our Hornet Family came to a heartbreaking end due to gun violence.

Zarrie Allen was killed in a drive-by shooting at Sacramento Memorial Lawn Cemetery on Monday. She was only 18. Zarrie had just completed her first year at Sacramento State and was set to start her second year in a few short weeks. She hoped to obtain a degree in nursing. Zarrie was from the Bay Area community of Richmond, where she was actively involved. We mourn the tragic and senseless loss of this vibrant and bright young woman.

Gun violence continues to tear through our country and destroy lives. Our young people deserve better, and we must commit as a region to investing in underserved communities to prevent more horrific, tragic outcomes. Our hearts are with the family and friends of Zarrie as they mourn this devastating loss. We stand with the Sacramento community in demanding justice for her killing and action focused on ending gun violence

It is critical to recognize the impact and trauma that Zarrie’s death will cause, especially in Black communities. I encourage any students in need of mental or emotional support to contact Student Health and Counseling Services at (916) 278-6461. Employees should contact the Employee Assistance Program for support. Please take care of one another as we experience losses that are filled with pain for so many in the Hornet Family and the Sacramento community.

Plan puts safety first during a mostly virtual Fall 2020

July 15, 2020 - “Back to school” has always meant something special to me. After a long summer, I look forward to the new faculty orientation and the opening-day barbeques. I especially look forward to hearing the marching band and athletic teams practicing on the fields. Opening day is as good as graduation (if not better). But not this year. This year, “back to school” will mean something completely different. Yes, we will be back in school, but for the most part, we will not be back on campus — at least, not the vast majority of us.

We … you did a magnificent job pivoting and getting us through the spring semester. But we all know that some classes have to be face-to-face. Students need kilns to fire pots. Not many, if any, students have a spectrometer at home. And nursing students, because of accreditation, need to work on mannequins that can simulate heart attacks and even give birth. Since before graduation in May, our campus has been working tirelessly to create a plan to deliver these sorts of courses face-to-face while maintaining academic excellence and keeping our Hornet Family safe. Earlier this month, that plan was approved by the California State University Chancellor’s Office, which means we can move forward with mapping out what it means for a very limited number of students and faculty to head “back to school” this fall.

The plan details the efforts that Sacramento State will undertake to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our students, faculty, and staff as safe as possible. Areas covered include general safety, academics, on-campus housing, and on-campus dining. I want to stress, however, that our primary objectives are to continue with virtual instruction and to work remotely whenever possible through the end of the fall semester. But, for those who will be back on campus, we have outlined the safety measures that we will employ. We will have single occupancy in the residence halls. There will be very limited dining on campus. We will have to wear masks, and there will be regular cleaning routines, training, and self-evaluations. I encourage you to review the plan to learn more about how we will operate this fall on campus. The protocol for staff and faculty returning to campus can be found on the Risk Management web page.

Our student-athletes will begin returning to campus throughout July. However, the future of intercollegiate athletics, unfortunately, remains undefined as we await guidance from the state. We will provide updates regarding athletics as soon as we are able.

We know everyone is also wondering what will happen next spring, and we cannot speculate at this time. It is too early to tell. I commit to sharing information with you as soon as plans that go beyond Fall 2020 are formed, and/or if plans for the fall semester change. These decisions are not made in a vacuum. All 23 campuses, with the guidance of their local health officials and the Chancellor’s Office, work together to determine the best plan for our students, faculty, and staff.

As we learned time and again last spring, the best-built plans remain subject to change, especially if COVID-19 cases continue to increase in our area. Our priority will always be safety, which means our plans may change at a moment’s notice. We have proved that we can respond rapidly and effectively, and we will do so again if needed in the coming months. All of our face-to-face classes have a contingency plan in place in the event that they are unable to continue meeting on campus.

I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all who helped to develop, write, and edit our campus plan. We are all in this together. We will only succeed together. I look forward to the time when we go “back to school” in a more traditional fashion. Until then, we remain a Hornet Family. Stay safe, Hornets. Stingers Up!

Travel suspension will continue through 2020-21 year

July 13, 2020 - Please see the California State University Chancellor’s Office memo extending the suspension of all non-essential international and domestic travel through June 30, 2021. The CSU system also has moved to virtual mode for all system-wide meetings and conferences, and we have been directed to develop policies to move meetings and conferences wherever possible to virtual mode for the 2020-21 academic year. We still do not know what the fate of athletics will be – we are awaiting instruction from Gov. Gavin Newsom.

Like all decisions during the COVID-19 pandemic, extending the suspension of travel through the 2020-21 academic year was not a choice anyone wanted to make. However, the pandemic and the resulting budgetary constrictions have resulted in this necessary measure. Requests for exceptions for domestic travel – based on sabbatical requirements or grant funding, for example – can be made to the dean or vice president of your college or division. Final approval of any travel rests with the President’s Office. Additional information is available on the travel approval process during the suspension.

As I said in May, I know that travel is critical for the growth and development of our students, staff, and faculty. I understand that extending this suspension will be disappointing for many members of the Hornet Family. I also know that it is necessary to plan with as much notice as possible, so I am committed to relaying guidance to the campus community as we receive it. Please contact your dean or manager if you have additional questions about upcoming travel plans.

While we recently had a court hearing on campus that constituted a large gathering, we will not be sponsoring any on-campus conferences, symposiums, or large meetings. We are a public agency, and under the state’s declaration, we must open the University for events like the hearing and perhaps meetings by the state Legislature. But because we are dedicated to the safety and well-being of our students, faculty, and staff, the University and our auxiliaries will not be physically hosting any conferences or meetings on campus.

I know we are all looking forward to a time when we are back on campus together and are able to travel to and host meetings and conferences. I hate that we are enduring this pandemic and its subsequent negative budgetary impacts. I am, however, regularly amazed by the strength and compassion demonstrated by our Hornet Family. We will get through this. Meanwhile, stay safe, Hornets.

Sac State is committed to our international students

July 10, 2020 - On Monday, we received shocking federal guidance announcing modifications to the international student visa program that would require these students to return to their home country or transfer if they were going to be in exclusively online classes. I was hopeful that in the days following the announcement, the decision would be rescinded or we would receive additional guidance that would allow for more flexibility for these students.

I planned to send information to campus about how Sacramento State would solve this problem, but as time has passed, the clarifications to the guidance have only made matters more complicated.

It is an understatement to say that this guidance is devastating for our international students, their friends and families, our campus community, and our nation. Truthfully, I am still in shock after the government’s decision to put our students in danger. Sacramento State has determined that the vast majority of our courses will be delivered virtually in the interest of the health and safety of the Hornet Family. To force international students to get on an international flight during a pandemic or to transfer to a school that is holding more in-person classes is abandoning our responsibility for their health and safety. We have numerous students from countries that are not allowing anyone to enter due to COVID-19. They have no way to get home right now. This decision is cruel and inhumane.

International students should contact Dr. Paul Hofmann (paul.hofmann@csus.edu) in International Programs and Global Engagement for guidance. We encourage international students not to make any arrangements to leave the country or transfer institutions. This issue is complicated, but Sacramento State is committed to our international students. We will work with each of them to determine what opportunities exist to meet the in-person class requirements as outlined in the guidance.

International students are important members of our higher education community, and we are lucky that so many choose to come to the United States for their education. I believe that this reckless and harmful federal guidance should be rescinded. We are a Hornet Family, and we will do everything we can to support our international students so that they can achieve their dreams of getting a degree. Sacramento State is your home, and you are part of our Hornet Family.

We stand with our DACA students and DREAMers

June 18, 2020 - To our DACA students, staff, faculty, and our DREAMers: We stand with you and continue to support you.

This morning, we learned that the U.S. Supreme Court has blocked the Trump administration’s attempt to terminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program on procedural grounds. I am pleased and encouraged by this decision. While the ruling’s impact and what comes next are still unclear, I want to reaffirm Sacramento State’s commitment to the success of our DACA students and employees, and our DREAMers. We stand with you and continue to support you, and we applaud this good news.

DACA has allowed thousands of young people who came to the United States without documentation to pursue their academic, personal, and professional dreams. Despite its rescission by the Trump administration in 2017, DACA renewals have continued for the past three years, thanks to lawsuits filed against the administration and subsequent rulings by lower federal courts. The program has enjoyed significant support in California, across the political spectrum, and throughout numerous sectors of our economy.

As legal experts offer more details about the impact of the court’s decision, and the Department of Homeland Security and the Trump administration respond, we will continue to share information.

Please also remember that our Dreamer Resource Center (DRC) offers programming and resources to help make the dream of a college degree a reality for undocumented and mixed-status students. DRC’s support services include academic and financial guidance, scholarship resources, free virtual consultations with an immigration attorney, etc. I encourage you to contact the center if you have questions or need guidance or support. To reach the DRC, email drc@csus.edu or call (916) 278-7734. 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 undocumented students and students from mixed-status families going forward.

Additionally, the DRC will host a virtual event related to the Supreme Court’s decision. Please consider attending, engaging with the center, and demonstrating your support for our DACA students.

  • DACA Supreme Court Ruling Briefing, Friday, June 26, 1 to 3 p.m. – An immigration attorney will explain what the Supreme Court decision means, offer recommendations for next steps, and answer questions from the audience in regard to DACA. You can join via Zoom here: https://csus.zoom.us/j/92695275403.

Finally, I want to take this opportunity to remind everyone that Sac State is dedicated to protecting the rights of all members of the campus community and to promoting an environment that is safe, inclusive, and welcoming for all, regardless of immigration status. Last year, the campus adopted a policy to protect undocumented individuals and address possible immigration enforcement on campus. The policy ensures that we will not enter into agreements with Immigration and Customs Enforcement or any other local or federal agency for the enforcement of immigration law, unless required by law. It also includes limits on access to personal information, and it establishes procedures in the event of immigration enforcement on campus. For a one-page description of the policy, click here.

Sacramento State strives to be a Hornet Family where we always come together to support one another. We are committed to the success of all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, disability, religion, sexual identity, nationality, or documentation status. Stingers Up!

A commitment to combat racism and bias

May 30, 2020 - Some will wonder why I have taken so long to respond to the horrific events in Minneapolis and the protests in Sacramento. I did not want to respond until we had identified specific actions to combat the racism that we are experiencing at Sacramento State, in Sacramento, and in our nation.

A week and a half ago, many of us gathered virtually to discuss the impact of a video featuring a Sac State professor and his wife engaged in a deeply troubling and racially charged interaction with their neighbors. This abhorrent event occurred as our nation learned more about the killings of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. Since our town hall, we have seen a video where a white woman in New York’s Central Park called the police because Christian Cooper – a black man – asked her to leash her dog, and then a video showing George Floyd dying in Minneapolis under the knee of a policeman while Mr. Floyd pleaded that he could not breathe. Every police officer with whom I have spoken agrees that the behavior of the officer was unacceptable, dangerous, and wrong.

George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Breonna Taylor. Eric Garner. Philando Castile. These names reflect just a handful of the high-profile, racially motivated incidents from the past few weeks and years, because there are too many names to recite in this long history of killings that remind many of us that as a nation, we often do not value black and brown lives. We now watch as protests once again occur across our nation for justice – for justice for those who have historically suffered while others, largely white individuals, have prospered. In this moment, I want to remember the death of Stephon Clark and how it has impacted our community and our students. We will never be the same.

The repetitive trauma that members of our community face is significant and unending. These are systemic problems that were created and are perpetuated by those in power, and let us acknowledge that most of those in power are white people. It is the responsibility of white people – including myself, who grew up in Montana and had the privilege to attend the University of Chicago and work at a job I love (be it teaching or now administration) – to fight racism and to end this pervasive culture that allows for such significant harm, especially against black communities.

In light of what is happening and in light of the rhetoric from our elected officials, it is clear that we cannot say that Sacramento State or any campus or community is a safe place for our black students, faculty, or staff. That is unacceptable. I like to think of myself as an ally and as someone who is working to make it better. It’s not enough. I must do more. There cannot be any space for inaction, and I must hold myself and my colleagues, all of my colleagues, white and people of color, to those same standards. The status quo, what we have done in the past, must change. Words matter, but words alone are nowhere near enough.

At the town hall, we heard from the former president of the Black Student Union, Adwoa Akyianu, who told us that she wanted our “apology in actions.” Her words have echoed in my head and in my heart since then, and I have spent much of this week thinking about how to change Sacramento State and make it a truly safe place for all populations and identities of people. I also am worried because we are expecting a ruling from the Supreme Court that could adversely affect our undocumented students who have strived so hard to make it to Sacramento State, and I am greatly troubled by the rise in anti-Asian bias during the COVID-19 crisis.

First and foremost, inclusion is not enough. We can work endlessly to create an inclusive environment, but without purposeful action by everyone, especially people who have lived for years under the protection of white privilege, to attack racism and bias, we will never achieve our goals. We have heard through many forums, convenings, and gatherings what members of our various communities need to feel safe on this campus. We have been told numerous times, yet we have failed to make the progress that is needed. Establishing the Division of Inclusive Excellence is not enough, nor is establishing the Martin Luther King Jr. Center or the Dreamer Resource Center. That failure is on me and our senior leadership. This work cannot be optional. People of color do not get an option when it comes to racism, and all of us – myself and my Cabinet and the entire administration – must commit to doing this work every day.

In consultation with the President’s Cabinet, the Faculty Senate, the Deans, the University Staff Assembly, and Student Affairs, we will be pursuing the following actions:

  • Develop an anti-racism campus plan,
  • Despite budget cuts, strategically invest in centers, programs, the Division of Inclusive Excellence, and other areas that already are doing this work on our campus — the budget cuts must not stop their work,
  • Identify funding to hire an ombudsperson or advocate within the Division of Inclusive Excellence for people experiencing racism and bias on our campus,
  • Support faculty and departments in building anti-racist curriculum and anti-bias pedagogy,
  • Provide training, development, and learning opportunities for white community members to learn about actions they can take to fight racism and how they benefit from a racist system,
  • Increase advocacy and partnership with the City of Sacramento and law enforcement to change the way our communities are policed,
  • Pursue and provide ongoing learning and training about white allyship and our responsibilities to fight racism and bias wherever we see it,
  • Support the efforts of the Division of Inclusive Excellence to create a bias-reporting tool to better track and address issues of racism or bias on campus, and,
  • Examine our policies and processes to create anti-racist and inclusive practices.

There is much more to do to fight racism on our campus and in our community. In the fall, Sacramento State will hold a convocation where we will explore additional opportunities for continued action and work in this space. I take responsibility for where Sac State is, where our students are. We cannot put this burden on the back of the MLK Center, the Dreamer Resource Center, the Multicultural Center, the Women’s Resource Center, and all the ally groups. We must all commit to this work and commit to holding one another accountable for our actions (and inactions) that perpetuate racism, hate, bias, and violence in our communities and our country.

I am appalled by what I am reading on Twitter and other social media platforms. The Hornet Family will not be silent, and we must commit to changing the culture of our campus so that everyone who is a Hornet is safe.

Guidelines for fall from the CSU

May 26, 2020 - I know that students, faculty, and staff are eager to know what to expect this coming fall. The Chancellor’s Office has just released guidelines for instruction for Fall 2020 that will now allow us to develop a coherent plan for instruction and other activities both on and off campus, at least to the extent possible during an ever-evolving public health crisis.

As previously announced, the vast majority of Sacramento State’s classes will be virtual this fall. We know, however, that some classes can only be taught face-to-face – for example, our nursing students need to have physical, hands-on experiences so that they are prepared to save lives during this pandemic and onward. Therefore, there will be a limited number of exceptions. We also know that some students will prefer to live on campus and that athletics, for the most part, cannot be virtual. We need to determine how many students will be allowed to live in the residence halls and what athletic events and activities will be safe on our campus. In all cases, student, staff, and faculty safety must be the primary consideration as we prepare for the fall.

The guidelines will serve as the framework for our plan. In the next two weeks, we will be determining what classes can be delivered virtually and what classes must be face-to-face. Likewise, we will be determining what events – athletic, creative, and scholarly – can be safely held on campus. We also must decide what services will be available on campus and digitally. And we will be deciding how we can offer students limited residency on campus. These decisions will be made in consultation with the deans, the Faculty Senate, the University Staff Assembly, and union leadership. The plan also must align with the Sacramento County Department of Health and other state agencies.

Sacramento State’s plan ultimately will need to be approved by the Chancellor’s Office, so we must follow the guidelines carefully. For example, when deciding what classes will be held in-person on campus, we must take into consideration the provision from the guidelines that the Chancellor will grant only a limited number of exceptions “based on space or specialized equipment requirements, external mandates, pedagogical needs (e.g., learning outcomes that cannot be met by adjusting pedagogy, where appropriate replacement for the use of specialized equipment cannot be found, accreditation requirements, potential loss of grant funding, or issues that are unique to certain academic programs).” No academic program, service, or event will warrant an automatic exception.

The guiding premise will be that all services and functions that can be accomplished virtually will be delivered that way. Unless verifiably essential for the continuing operations of the University, we expect that all employees who can telework will continue to telework through the fall. Any person who wishes to return physically to campus must have the permission of their direct supervisor and the appropriate vice president, and any person who feels compromised upon returning to campus will not be required to do so. We will endeavor to identify alternatives for those who do not feel that they can safely return to campus. Until the pandemic is mitigated, no person will be permitted to work on campus without the explicit consent of the President.

Over 9,700 of our students graduated this year. We made that happen. We can do as much and even more for our students this coming year.

Most Fall 2020 classes will be taught virtually

May 12, 2020 - I know that you have been waiting very anxiously to hear about what is going to happen in the fall – are we going to be back on campus or not. The safety of our faculty, staff, and students is paramount, especially in light of the very real potential for an equally, or even more dangerous, second wave of COVID-19 in the fall. Hence, as was announced at today’s Board of Trustees meeting, the 23 campuses of the California State University system have been asked by the Chancellor’s Office to develop a plan for Fall 2020 that consists primarily of virtual course delivery, which clearly means that most of us will not be back on campus this fall.

Not all classes can be taught virtually because of the nature of the discipline and the necessity of in-person interaction. Therefore, there will be limited exceptions for face-to-face instruction that cannot be delivered virtually. These limited exceptions must be indispensable to our core mission and must follow rigorous standards of health and safety.

Sacramento State is, accordingly, developing a plan for the vast, vast majority of classes to be virtual for Fall 2020. We also are developing a plan for vetting exceptions. We will be consulting with the Faculty Senate, Associated Students, Inc., the University Staff Assembly, and union leadership about this plan. Ultimately, the President, the Chancellor, and the local county health department must approve each and every exception. Any exception must demonstrate compelling educational need. No faculty member or staff member will be asked to teach or staff any class that receives an exception without their explicit permission – all such in-person work must be the choice of the individual. Likewise, no student will be required to take an in-person class as part of their progress to their degree. Alternative pathways will be provided for any student who is able to demonstrate legitimate reasons for not participating in the in-person courses. The safety of all staff, faculty, and students on campus who voluntarily participate in face-to-face instruction must be assured, with all the requisite personal protective equipment and social distancing protections.

To ensure that the virtual instruction is comprehensive and robust, a “Summer Camp” program is being developed for faculty. We have dedicated $1 million to this program and hope that more than 800 faculty will be involved. Faculty members will receive $1,000 for their participation.

Obviously, many questions remain to be answered. The Chancellor has indicated that there will be a reduced availability of cultural and athletic events, but we do not yet know what that will mean for our artists and athletes. We expect to have an answer by the end of May when we will communicate further to our students about what they should expect for Fall 2020.

The University has not and will not shut down. Unfortunately, most of the campus has been closed to the public and is operating remotely. For now and the foreseeable future, anyone who can telework from home should continue to do so. We will repopulate the University in accordance with the Governor’s roadmap stages, using the American College Health Association’s Guidelines for Reopening Institutions. Some business operations will eventually return to the campus in the fall, but at a very measured, phased-in time scale and with all health and safety precautions.

I apologize if I have not answered all your questions. I thought that it was critical to let you know as soon as I could that we would be primarily virtual in the fall. Please stay safe and be strong. We will, eventually, be back physically together as a Hornet Family. For now, we are together spiritually, totally in support of one another and our students.

Congratulations to our President's Medal, Dean's Award winners

May 12, 2020 - Each spring, I have the privilege of awarding the President’s Medal to one of the recipients of our Dean’s Awards. The Dean’s 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 Dean’s Awardees Elvy (Lia) Seyman Villados (Arts and Letters), Donna Walters (Business Administration), Jacqueline Aviña Espinoza (Education), Madalyn Coughran (Engineering and Computer Science), Putue Teh (Health and Human Services), Lillian Murphy (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), and Nathalie Mendoza (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 Lillian (Lilly) Murphy from the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics to receive the President’s Medal. Lilly is a biological sciences major who is known among her faculty for her razor-sharp intellect, her extraordinary research skills, and her willingness and ability to mentor her classmates.

Lilly is an exceptional student and researcher. Her professors tell me her research projects require skills that they themselves did not acquire until graduate school, such as microdissection of fruit fly brains, immunohistochemical staining of specific neural structures/cell types, analysis using laser-scanning confocal microscopy to create three-dimensional images of brains, and a strong conceptual grasp of the molecular basis of neural development. Clearly, Lilly’s research is important and impressive, and in February, she learned that she was accepted into Harvard University’s Ph.D. program, which she regarded as her “backup” if she did not get into UC Berkeley.

In addition to her skills in the lab, Lilly serves her University community as a Peer-Assisted Learning (PAL) facilitator. Lilly is the longest-serving PAL facilitator in the program’s history, currently completing her fourth year helping others succeed. She has supported CHEM 1B (General Chemistry II) and was the lead facilitator for BIO 121 (Molecular Cell Biology), and she is currently serving as a supervisory facilitator for the entire PAL program. Because of the independent structure of PAL, facilitators are placed into situations where they need to think quickly and strategically, understand how to best utilize their resources when things go awry, and solve problems that arise with little guidance. Through her work in the PAL program, Lilly has directly aided in the success of hundreds of Hornets during her time as a Sac State student.

The Hornet Family has thousands of stories of persistent and dedicated students who are determined to get an education. I am honored to award Lilly the President’s Medal, and I look forward to recognizing her achievement in person next year at Golden 1 Center (though I don’t think I will try to say “immunohistochemical” when I introduce her at the podium). Meanwhile, I know that she will continue to make us proud as she begins working toward her Ph.D. at UC Berkeley next year. She got in.

Congratulations, Lilly, and congratulations to our Dean’s Awards recipients, and the entire Class of 2020. Stingers Up!

'I am deeply offended by the language in the video'

May 8, 2020 - Sadly, I recently received a very disturbing video that is circulating on the internet. The video shows a self-identified Sacramento State professor and his wife involved in an ugly verbal dispute with their neighbors. While the neighbors are not Sacramento State students, this does not change the seriousness of this situation. I am deeply offended by the language in the video. Racial epithets are repulsive and unacceptable. Personally, I am incredibly upset by the contents of the video and the harmful impact that it is having on our campus community.

I must reiterate that Sacramento State strives to be inclusive and to foster a culture of caring; we absolutely do not condone this sort of language or behavior. We must continue to provide learning opportunities and dedicate resources to raise awareness, reduce the prevalence of bias, and promote the values of diversity, equity, and inclusion. At this point, the verbal altercation is a personnel matter that the University is investigating, and we will not address it again publicly.

We are a Hornet Family on campus, at home, and in the community. I hope this unfortunate and unacceptable incident does not diminish the tremendous commitment and efforts by so many staff, students, administrators, and faculty, who are dedicated to making Sacramento State an inclusive and equitable campus community.

We must embrace and honor our diversity. We must be strong together. We must continue to be a caring university, committed to eradicating bigotry, racism, and intolerance.

Remote operations will continue through Aug. 21

May 7, 2020 - As an academic, I am relatively comfortable knowing that I do not know everything. As a university president, however, I am uncomfortable when I do not have all the answers, especially when so much hangs in the balance. This is how the COVID-19 crisis has left me – aware of the gravity of the consequences of the decisions we are making, and uncomfortable in not knowing what the future will bring.

That said, I know that faculty and staff are anxious to learn when they will be reporting back to campus, and I know that everyone is anxious to learn how we will deliver instruction in the fall. Unfortunately, there are more questions than answers.

What I do know is, in spite of the obvious impatience with the current stay-at-home order amid a steady flattening of the COVID-19 curve, the danger remains. I understand why people are eager to get back to some sense of normal. I understand that folks are facing real, immediate, and most likely long-term fiscal hardships as a result of our state’s social distancing efforts. I wish I could change our current situation – I wish I could think, or write, or manage our way out of danger so that we could get back to normal, but I cannot.

I know that our students deserve the best educational and social experience of their lives, and I know that Sacramento State is important to our region’s economy. We all want to get back to campus, but we have a responsibility to continue to do our part in protecting our families, our students, and our communities from the spread of COVID-19.

Therefore, given what we know, in consultation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, state and local health departments, and elected officials, in addition to delivering Summer Session courses virtually, we have decided to continue virtual operations through the summer (until Aug. 21, 2020). Managers who need to have employees continue working remotely should reach out to those employees to extend their current telecommuting agreements. At this time, there is no need to fill out additional telecommuting forms if one has already been submitted – an email confirmation between the manager and employee(s) will suffice. Any exception requests must go through your manager and must be approved by the divisional Vice President. Please contact Employee & Labor Relations at elr@csus.edu if you have questions or need additional guidance.

Provost Steve Perez, the President’s Cabinet, and the CSU system are currently evaluating multiple scenarios for fall classes, and our hope is to share the decision by the end of the month so that students and faculty have as much time as possible to plan the fall semester. I know students are eager to make housing decisions; faculty want and need time to prepare; and staff want and need to know the answers to the many questions we receive every day. Getting those answers is our top priority, and we will share information as soon as we can.

I acknowledge that this message does not provide all the answers we need and deserve, and I know that the ongoing uncertainty is frustrating and stressful. The LifeMatters Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available as a resource for all employees and their families (dependents and permanent household members). Please reach out if you need support.

As I said, I wish that I had more answers. This pandemic is ongoing and ever-evolving. But I am confident that we will endure and that we will be together again someday. Until then, please stay safe and be well. Stingers Up!

Travel suspension extended through July 31

May 4, 2020 - In consideration of the ongoing threat of COVID-19 and our commitment to mitigating the spread of the virus, Sacramento State and the entire CSU system are extending the suspension of all international and non-essential domestic travel through July 31, 2020. This suspension includes all faculty, staff, and student University-related travel as well as any travel by auxiliary organizations and athletic programs. The CSU system will review this travel policy in mid-June to give guidance for the fall semester.

Requests for exceptions for domestic travel can be made to the dean or vice president of your college or division. Exceptions for international travel will not be considered until the U.S. State Department lifts its Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory. Final approval of any travel rests with President’s Office. Additional information on the travel approval process during the suspension can be found here.

All study-abroad programs are suspended through the fall semester.
Like all decisions during this pandemic, extending the suspension of travel through the summer was not a choice we anticipated having to make. We believe it is in the best interest of the Hornet Family and our community to continue our efforts to ensure their health and safety.

Please note that, in addition to the ever-changing restrictions caused by health crisis, COVID-19 has created an evolving fiscal dynamic for the University. We have begun the process of analyzing the budgetary impacts that we will confront, and we know that, even when travel restrictions due to the health dangers are lifted, we will need to carefully consider our expenditures moving forward.

The ability to travel is critical for the growth and development of our students, staff, and faculty. I understand that extending this suspension will be disappointing for many members of the Hornet Family. I also know that it is necessary to plan with as much notice as possible, so I am committed to relaying guidance to the campus community as we receive it. Please contact your dean or manager if you have additional questions about upcoming travel plans.

Thank you for your understanding and patience as we continue to navigate this pandemic. I hope that you are staying healthy and taking care of yourself during this difficult time.

CARES Act and HEERF Emergency Grants for students

April 30, 2020 - I write this email tonight knowing that some will be upset but also knowing that, given Sac State’s demographics and its students’ needs, we have done the right thing. Many of you have been anxiously awaiting news about when and how the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act will be distributed to Sacramento State students. This week, we were officially notified that Sacramento State will receive $17.8 million to provide grants to students for expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic (including eligible expenses under a student’s educationally related expenses such as food, housing, course materials, healthcare, and childcare).

Our allocation was determined by the U.S. Department of Education, and 70% is based on the number of Pell Grant-eligible students enrolled on our campus, while 30% is based on our overall enrollment. Given the weighting, Congress clearly intends the funding to go to the students with the most need.

I know that there will be many questions about how funds will be allocated, and there will be disappointment for some. Yes, $17.8 million is a lot of money, but when it is divided by almost 29,000 students, the actual awards are much smaller than any of us would like. Throughout this process, we have worked to ensure that all eligible students receive some relief. We have been working with the Department of Education and the CSU system on how to determine the eligibility for and the size of the grants. In addition, we consulted with the Faculty Senate, Associated Students, Inc., and the California Faculty Association to devise a program that is fair for all students, while supporting those with the most need as demonstrated by a student’s FASFA, Pell Grant eligibility, and California Dream Act eligibility.

The University anticipates having access to the funds later this week and will start distribution early next week (if not before). To be qualified for HEERF funding, a student must have been eligible to file a FAFSA (thus eligible for federal financial aid) and must be enrolled in a degree-seeking program for Spring 2020. All qualified students will automatically receive funding via eRefund or through a check in the mail. It is extremely important that students have updated their directory information in their Student Center because checks will be sent to the current address listed there. Information on eligibility, funding amounts, and details of the program can be found here. We also have FAQs available to help answer questions.

I also know that because of the COVID-19 crisis, situations for many students have changed. Hence, Sacramento State has set aside $1.6 million of the HEERF funds for students in crisis. Information about how to apply for these funds will be shared soon with the campus. Students applying for the supplemental funds must be eligible to receive federal financial aid and must be enrolled in Spring 2020. The University will begin review of applications the week of May 11, 2020. Once these funds are exhausted, there will be no additional awards.

This crisis affects all students. The University has set up a separate fund for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid or the HEERF program, including those who file for the California Dream Act, international students, and students who were enrolled in completely online programs prior to March 13, 2020. That fund will operate under the same principles and guidelines as the federal HEERF funding. Information about how to apply for these funds will be shared soon with the campus.

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 financial crises and students who do not qualify for these federally funded Emergency Financial Aid Grants should consider applying for our emergency grant and emergency housing programs.

With the rising number of phishing scams related to financial aid, COVID-19 federal stimulus payments, and HEERF funding, we strongly advise all students to prevent fraud and stolen funds by enrolling in Two-Step Verification with Duo. This free and easy-to-use security tool requires two factors (your SacLink password and a mobile app that sends a push notification to you) to verify your identity and prevent unauthorized access to your accounts. You can enroll at csus.edu/duo or direct any questions or concerns to the IRT Service Desk Team at servicedesk@csus.edu.

Please be safe and stay strong. Let’s finish this semester, and I hope to see you all on campus again soon. Stingers up.

Join us in June to celebrate 2020 graduates virtually

April 16, 2020 - As many of you know, we have been exploring the idea of holding a virtual graduation celebration as a way to end this semester by honoring our 2020 graduates. Many of you have reached out to my office, the ASI Board, the Faculty Senate, and others to express your frustration and to ask why we are considering a virtual celebration. I hope that this message provides you with the reasons we believe that we have no other realistic choice for the immediate future.

One of the most difficult decisions we have had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic was the decision on March 17 to postpone the 2020 Commencement ceremonies. After that decision, we initially began to plan for ceremonies on campus over the summer. It soon became clear that we were in for many more months of disruption and social distancing than previously believed. Indeed, all on-campus events have been cancelled through August.

We next began looking at dates during or immediately after the fall semester. Our Commencement requires multiple days, and due to prior bookings, neither Hornet Stadium nor Golden 1 Center was available. Moreover, weather makes the use of the stadium for a multi-day event impractical in winter. We continued to look at other venues as well, but were unable to find anything suitable for our expected 9,000 graduates and more than 50,000 guests.

Based on models of the potential ongoing risk involved with large public gatherings, and in accordance with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and state and local public health agencies and officials, we have concluded that the only option for an in-person Commencement is to invite our 2020 graduates to celebrate with the Class of 2021 next May. I recognize that this outcome is not desirable for our graduates or their loved ones, but I wanted to share this information sooner rather than later so that you can take it into consideration as you plan for the summer and the remainder of 2020. I ask that you join us to celebrate both the 2020 and 2021 Sacramento State graduates at Golden 1 Center on May 20-23, 2021. We will share additional information about the schedule and ceremonies in the coming months.

So much has been lost during this pandemic, and I know that many of you are angry and grieving. I have heard from you about the disappointment that you and your loved ones feel about this postponement, and I am very sorry that we are in this situation. The choices we are facing right now feel impossible, and in many cases, we simply do not have a choice in the matter. Earlier this week, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that large gatherings will remain banned until a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, a successful treatment is found, or the state reaches so-called herd immunity. I am optimistic that this will occur in the next year, but until it does, we are committed to doing what is best for our community and to continuing the prescribed mitigation efforts.

I know the experience will not be the same, but the Hornet Family still wants to celebrate our graduates’ achievements through a virtual graduation celebration on June 6, 2020. The details and instructions on how you can join this celebration are available on the Commencement website. We hope that we can come together virtually to honor the Class of 2020. The virtual celebration is purely optional and really serves only as a placeholder for when we celebrate our graduates in person at Golden 1 Center in May 2021.

I understand that walking next year and celebrating virtually this year are not what any of us wants. A month ago, I would not have imagined that we would be forced to make these kinds of decisions. But we must stay safe, and we must keep our physical distance from one another for as long as it takes for the COVID-19 danger to pass.

We are all incredibly proud of our graduates and the hard work that every student is doing to finish this semester successfully. The entire Hornet Family is extraordinary and resilient, and I am in awe of all that you are doing to succeed in spite of all the barriers surrounding us. Until we are able to be together again, stay safe and be well.

No in-person events through the end of Summer Session

Please allow me to begin by commending our entire campus community for facing the current health crisis with tremendous grace and patience. No matter how painful it is to be apart, I believe that we are truly doing our part to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. I remain hopeful (and the numbers seem to substantiate that hope) that our efforts are making a difference in our region and in California. We all want the stay-at-home order to be lifted when the campus and the city are safe, but we must remain vigilant in our efforts. For the sake of all, we must continue our physical distancing to protect the health and safety of our entire community.

We do not know when the COVID-19 pandemic will end. Accordingly, we have decided that all Summer Session courses will be delivered virtually, and based on continued guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office and local and state officials, we have further decided that we will not hold any in-person events this summer. That is to say, no in-person events or group activities may take place on campus or at Sacramento State Downtown through the end of Summer Session, Aug. 14, 2020. Additionally, all field trips have been cancelled. If you were planning a seminar, a camp, an academy, a field trip, or any other type of event, please consider moving your event to a virtual format, if appropriate.

We have seen some successful and impressive virtual events in the past few weeks. It is certainly not the same, but I encourage you to be innovative and to find a way to stay connected. As Hornets who are dedicated to our students and our community, we can accomplish what just a little while ago we would have considered “miracles” as we live in our (temporary) new reality.

No decision has been made at this time regarding when staff will return to campus. Until we hear otherwise, staff and managers are to continue virtual operations and telecommuting at least through the end of spring semester, May 20, 2020. Only those employees who have been designated essential should be on campus. We will inform the campus community as soon as we know if virtual operations and telecommuting will be extended.

I know these past weeks have not been easy, and many of you are dealing with significant responsibilities outside of your work right now, including children at home, and elderly parents, and relatives. Please continue to take care of yourself and one another. The LifeMatters Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available as a resource for all employees and their families (dependents and permanent household members). Please reach out if you need support.

Let’s stay strong, Hornet Family. We will endure. Stingers Up!

Come together virtually for Out of the Darkness walk

April 6, 2020 - We are in the midst of a pandemic, but we cannot forget who we are. Sac State is a family, a Hornet Family, and we are committed to supporting one another. That is why our Out of Darkness Campus Walk for suicide awareness and prevention has been the largest university walk of its kind in the nation for the past three years. Let’s set another record this year – virtually. That is my challenge to all of you. Let the world know who we are – Hornets who come together as brothers and sisters to lift everyone in spite of everything.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of more than 1,100 students each year, yet half of the students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counseling or treatment (Active Minds, 2018). With the horrific COVID-19 events and all the angst surrounding them, it is more important than ever to bring light to conversations surrounding suicide prevention and mental health support.

Due to the COVID-19 stay-at-home mandate, the ninth annual Sacramento State Out of the Darkness Campus Walk has been moved to a virtual platform in collaboration with our Active Minds Chapter, Student Health and Counseling Services, and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Greater Sacramento Chapter.

The event will be on Thursday, April 9, from 4 to 7:30 p.m., and walkers will have the opportunity to interact virtually from their physical distancing location. My wife, Jody, and I will be fully participating – we will be doing it to honor our son, Seth. But we also will be doing it to support our extended family: you. The full schedule can be found here. Virtual walkers can register for free at the following link: Sac State Out of the Darkness Walk 2020. For more information or any questions, please email Lara Falkenstein at lara.falkenstein@csus.edu.

I hope that you will join Jody and me. Let’s come together virtually as a Hornet Family to support suicide prevention and to continue to reduce the stigma of mental health issues. By registering, you are showing support for survivors, students at risk, and those who have been affected by suicide.

Even though we may be physically distancing, we are still standing together. Let’s embrace one another virtually. Let’s set a new record. We are Hornets. We will bring the horrors surrounding suicide out of the darkness. Let’s show our Hornet Pride. I am calling on all students, faculty, staff, student organizations, fraternities, sororities, student-athletes – indeed, all Hornets – to band together to raise awareness and to prevent suicide. Jody and I will see you all this coming Thursday from 4 to 7:30 p.m. And we will show the world who the Hornets are.

Be sure to fill out the 2020 Census

April 1, 2020 - I know the past couple of weeks have been challenging and unlike anything we have ever seen, not only for our campus but across the world. The impact of COVID-19 has changed how we engage in almost every way. However, there is another major event happening as we speak, and it deserves our attention. The 2020 Census impacts the very healthcare, education, and social service systems that we are currently relying on to help us move forward and overcome adversity.

We know that everyone counts and everyone matters. The U.S. Census is a national population count that occurs every 10 years. More than $650 billion in federal funds is allocated annually to communities across the United States. Getting a complete and accurate count of the population is imperative for our region, our state, and our nation. Critical decisions depend on the results of the Census, such as funding for schools, roads, and other public services. Fair political representation can be calculated only when we have an accurate count of every person in the United States.

Sacramento State is committed to ensuring a complete and accurate count of our campus and region. The Sacramento State 2020 Census Collaboration Team has coordinated synergetic efforts that include a number of campus-wide virtual activities. I encourage everyone to get involved by engaging in these activities. I also encourage staff and faculty to integrate 2020 Census information into their virtual classes. To access a calendar of virtual activities as well as marketing materials and other helpful resources, please visit www.csus.edu/student-affairs/census/. A 2020 Census video, starring our own student leaders, also is accessible on the website.

The Census count is already underway, and I hope you will be counted by responding through mail, phone, or online. Students living in the residence halls will be counted in the residence halls and should return their completed census form to their residence hall front desk. All students, especially undocumented students and students with mixed-status families, should know that the U.S. Census Bureau is prohibited by federal law from disclosing responses to other government agencies. Completing the Census is safe and secure for you and your family. For more information on the 2020 Census, visit www.NorCalCensus.org.

If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Dr. Viridiana Diaz, Assistant Vice President, Strategic Diversity Initiatives, at viridiaz@csus.edu or (916) 278-7241.

Criteria for exceptions to the CSU hiring pause

April 1, 2020 - As I am sure you will recall, the CSU Chancellor’s Office last week imposed a hiring pause. I know there are multiple searches currently underway, and I am well aware that many of them are critical. I have already received several requests for exceptions. In light of the CSU system directive, and keeping in mind the ongoing needs of the University, a team of President’s Cabinet members have collaborated to create more succinct criteria to consider when advocating for a search to continue. Please use the guidelines and questions below when submitting a request to continue an ongoing search or to initiate a new search:

Any request to fill any position should be evaluated within the context of the core mission of the University and the President’s imperatives. When submitting positions for consideration, managers must submit a written justification to their supervisor and/or respective Vice President that explicitly answers the questions listed below. The manager also must provide information on the estimated cost of the position (estimated salary, benefit adjustments for internal hires, and an additional amount of approximately 60 percent for benefits for new/external hires) and must demonstrate that there is adequate funding for the position.

  1. Is this a new or existing position?
  2. Why is the position essential?
  3. Whom does this position serve (students, staff, public) and in what capacity?
  4. Is the work able to be suspended or reduced for the next six months to a year?
  5. If the work is suspended, what will the impact be on those that the position serves?
  6. If the work cannot be suspended or reduced, what duties from this position could be assigned to others, even if only for the next six months to a year?
  7. If these duties are assigned to others (in the same classification), would it create the need for overtime or other compensation considerations (e.g., stipend, bonus, IRP, reclassification)?
  8. What kind of specific training or skills would be required of others to perform this work?
  9. If other staff cannot be assigned this work, and if the work is for non-represented positions, can the work be contracted to a third party for a short period?
  10. Does this position require specific knowledge, training, or certifications (e.g., compliance, healthcare, etc.)?

Once completed and if approved by the appropriate Vice President, the request for an exception to the hiring pause will be submitted to the President (me) for his consideration.

I acknowledge that there will be questions, and many will feel frustrated by the process. I also acknowledge that many of you will have much more nuanced criteria than what we have outlined above. Feel free to amplify your requests. I wish that we weren’t in this difficult situation, but as we face the COVID-19 health crisis and its current and inevitably increasing economic repercussions, we must work together to make smart and sound fiscal decisions. Thank you for your understanding.

Please remember to take time for yourself. The LifeMatters Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available as a resource for all employees and their families (dependents and permanent household members). Please reach out if you need support.

Telecommuting will continue through the end of the spring semester

March 30, 2020 - I know that many of you are anxious to find out how long we will be operating as a virtual university as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt our lives. With Sunday’s announcement about Summer Session being offered online, we heard from many of our staff and managers, asking what that would mean for employees who are telecommuting. Based on current recommendations, we anticipate that virtual operations and telecommuting will need to continue at least through the end of spring semester, May 20, 2020.

Managers who need to have employees continue working remotely should reach out to those employees to extend their current telecommuting agreement. At this time, there is no need to fill out additional telecommuting forms if one has already been submitted – an email confirmation between the manager and employee(s) will suffice. Please contact Employee & Labor Relations at elr@csus.edu if you have questions or need additional guidance.

The past few weeks have been incredibly stressful for the Hornet Family. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your perseverance and effort to keep your work going during this time. I know it has not been easy and many of you are dealing with significant responsibilities outside of your work right now. Please take care of yourself. The LifeMatters Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available as a resource for all employees and their families (dependents and permanent household members). Please reach out if you need support.

And, please, let’s all support one another. I am, especially at this moment, incredibly proud to be a member of the Hornet Family.

All Summer Session classes will be online

March 29, 2020 - As we continue working to find a way through what will certainly be remembered as the most challenging and bizarre spring semester in the recent history of higher education, I know many of you already are wondering about Summer Session. In consultation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office; city, county, and state officials; and the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, we have come to the difficult decision that we will need to continue delivering our courses virtually.

No matter how much it pains all of us not to be together as a Hornet Family, learning side by side and being taught in person by our outstanding faculty, it is clear to me and to all whom we have consulted that we must remain vigilant in our fight against the spread of COVID-19 by practicing physical distancing. Hence, all Summer Session classes will be online.

We must begin preparations immediately. Priority registration for Summer Session begins Monday, April 6, and full Summer Session registration opens April 13. Faculty will need to transition their summer curriculum as soon as possible to virtual delivery. As we have become accustomed, the ever-evolving situation means we must all remain flexible. Some faculty will want to teach their courses synchronously, and some faculty will want to teach their courses asynchronously. We are working on how to indicate those choices so that students are fully informed of their options. Further information will be forthcoming.

The overall process for Summer Session registration will not change. The first six-week session classes as well as the full 12-week session classes will begin May 26. Please visit www.csus.edu/summer for more details about the 2020 Summer Session.

I am looking forward to the day when we can return to a sense of normalcy. I miss walking across campus and hearing someone shout, “Stingers Up, President Nelsen!” I miss seeing the campus alive with our Hornet Family. I remain grateful for your collaboration and dedication to the health, well-being, and academic success of all. We will endure. Stingers Up.

Two interim deans and interim VP for IRT will remain in their positions

March 25, 2020 - As most of you know, the CSU Chancellor’s Office on Tuesday imposed a hiring pause, which effectively stopped all open recruitments. The new policy affects many areas of our campus, including University leadership. Among the searches that will be postponed until further notice are those for two Deans (the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and the College of Health and Human Services) and the Vice President for Information Resources and Technology (IRT). The two interim deans and the interim VP for IRT will remain in their positions until we receive notice that recruitments may resume.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Hammersley (Interim Dean of NSM), Dr. Robin Carter (Interim Dean of HHS), and Mark Hendricks (Interim VP for IRT) for their willingness to continue to lead their respective areas and for their dedication and service to the University. We are all coping with uncertainty, and I know that all of us are grateful that they will remain at the helm as we navigate these uncharted waters.

As always, I remain proud of and impressed by the Hornet Family’s willingness and ability to face each challenge presented to us. Please continue to take care of yourselves and each other. Thank you for your continued service to our students and the University. Stingers up.

'A marked slowdown in our hiring practices'

March 24, 2020 - Every day seems to bring a new challenge. But time and time again, our faculty and staff meet the challenge and accomplish feats we never dreamed possible. No words can express my gratitude to you for all you are doing.

With the COVID-19 pandemic wreaking havoc not only with our teaching environment, but also with our budgets, we are today facing another challenge. The CSU Chancellor’s Office has “imposed a marked slowdown in our hiring practices effective immediately” (see memo). I know all too well how many searches are currently happening, and I am well aware that many of them are absolutely critical. If you are involved in a search that you believe meets the criteria in the directive, please work with your immediate manager and the Vice President of your division to determine if your Vice President should forward a request to continue the search to my office for my consideration. I will be back in touch expeditiously with my decision.

Again, I want to thank you. As a Hornet Family, we will stay steady and strong. Let’s continue to support one another as we overcome this challenge and the others that are coming our way.

All face-to-face instruction will be suspended

March 19, 2020 - This morning, Sacramento County issued an order requiring all individuals living in the county to stay at home or at their place of residence. The order allows for exceptions for providing or receiving certain essential services and for working at essential businesses and governmental services. The order directs all businesses and governmental agencies to cease non-essential operations at physical locations and prohibits all non-essential gatherings.

Fortunately, given our mission, education is considered “essential business,” and educational institutions, including colleges and universities, may remain open for the purpose of facilitating distance learning or performing essential operational functions. However, the order requires that no more than six individuals can congregate together and that they must maintain social distancing of 6 feet per person. To meet the provisions of this order, we must scale back our already skeletal in-person workforce to the fewest employees possible to maintain operational continuity and academic excellence.

As a consequence of the order, Sacramento State has made the difficult decision to suspend face-to-face instruction, including any and all courses that had been granted waivers. No classes will be taught in-person on or off our campus. No student can or will be asked to attend face-to-face classes.

The professors who were planning to teach the courses that had been granted waivers must retool those courses so that they can be taught virtually. Provost Steve Perez, in collaboration with department chairs and deans, will shortly be sending a message to the faculty with clarifying information. I ask that faculty remain in close contact with their students – not only those students who thought they were going to attend limited face-to-face courses, but all students – so that the students know what to expect. We need to be in constant communication during these uncertain, ever-changing times.

Sacramento State is committed to doing our part to slow the spread of coronavirus or COVID-19, and, sadly, doing so means that we will most likely not see one another in person for a while. But I want to assure you that we will get through this crisis together. I can’t wait (even though I must) for us to be back on campus, and I can’t wait for us to be together again as a Hornet Family.

We have made the difficult decision to postpone Commencement

March 17, 2020 - I know that many of you are worried about the fate of our 2020 Commencement ceremonies at Golden 1 Center on May 15-17. At this time, in accordance with direction from the California State University system and local agencies, we have made the extremely difficult decision to postpone our Commencement.

This decision was not one that we wanted to make, but I believe it is the only choice in light of the current health and safety concerns caused by the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. We do not currently know what the next few months or even the next year will look like in our community, our country, or the world. But we are committed to celebrating the 2020 graduating class as soon as we are able. Commencement is one of the most important and exciting days of the year for the Hornet Family. It is the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice. Our students want and deserve the chance to celebrate this momentous achievement with their families and friends. That is why we are postponing and not cancelling the graduation ceremonies.

As to the graduation fee, that fee funds both the ceremony and the cost of graduates’ diplomas. Graduating seniors should pay their fee as scheduled so that their diplomas can be issued after the completion of this semester. The remainder of the fee will be used to pay for the rescheduled ceremonies.

The past few weeks have been filled with disappointment as our country moves to an ever-increasing level of shutdown. Many of our students, faculty, and staff, myself included, are heartbroken by the cancellation of events and activities, and the loss of on-campus instruction. Once this health crisis passes and we can safely gather again, we will join together to celebrate the Class of 2020’s accomplishments. Until then, let’s support one another as we move forward through these troubling times.

New directives from the CSU regarding COVID-19 response

March 17, 2020 - As I told the campus in Sunday’s SacSend message, the coronavirus or COVID-19 crisis continues to evolve. On Monday evening, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White provided additional guidance to all CSU campuses based on directives from the federal government, the Governor of California, and state and local health agencies. We are entering the next phase of this crisis, and we, as part of a larger system, need to help contain and mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. The CSU must do our part to “flatten the curve.

The good news is that we already are moving to virtual instruction through the end of the spring semester, and we are working to minimize dramatically the number of faculty, staff, and students who are physically on our campus. I am incredibly proud that Sacramento State is an innovative leader as we endeavor to deliver a quality education for our students while working to stop the spread of COVID-19. We do, however, have more to do.

While we transition to what some may consider a “virtual university” – i.e., a university that provides as many services, especially instruction, virtually as possible – we will focus on:

  • Significantly lowering the campus population of students and employees, including those in our residence halls;
  • Invoking social distancing techniques for those truly essential individuals who remain, including those in residence halls;
  • Sustaining critical campus business, including healthcare services, facilities, security, IRT, greenhouse operations, research, and the like, as well as maintaining financial operations (albeit it in a skeletal format on campus and through telecommuting); and
  • Closing the University Union, The WELL (recreation services), the Library, and food services (other than in the residence halls).

In the past few days, Sacramento State has made remarkable progress in transitioning to virtual instruction. Some classes, as I have noted previously, do not lend themselves to a virtual format, and we have established a waiver system. Nonetheless, I am compelled to point out that if the situation worsens, we may have to discontinue all face-to-face instruction, even for those courses that have received exceptions. I ask that the professors who are teaching approved in-person classes make contingency plans now, with the understanding that we might not make it to the end of the semester with any in-person instruction.

We are committed to reducing the number of people in direct contact with one another on campus. Hence, we have significantly increased the number of people who are telecommuting. Further, we have suspended all athletics, including competitions and practices. We must continue to reduce the number of people congregating on campus. In the meantime, all employees will be paid their normal rate of pay for their normal hours assigned during this transition, as they work on site (albeit with social distancing), telecommute, or are placed on paid administrative leave.

I know that this SacSend message will spur many questions. I will continue to work with the President’s Cabinet and senior University leadership to find, or create, the answers we all need. I am committed to sharing updates with the entire campus community as they become available. If we have learned anything in the past few days, it is that things are rapidly changing, so these directives, and any new information, are subject to change.

I cannot conclude this email without acknowledging the deep sadness and sense of loss that we all feel as we see the campus so empty. I assure you that we will find a way through this crisis, and we will see the campus alive and vibrant again. Thank you for the sacrifices that you are making. We are proud of you.

I appreciate your continued cooperation, and most importantly, thank you for continuing to care for one another. I truly appreciate our Hornet Family.

All persons 65 and older are asked to self-isolate

March 15, 2020 - Earlier today, Gov. Gavin Newsom proclaimed that, “Those that are 65 and older or vulnerable to COVID-19 must practice home isolation.” We have since received direction from Chancellor Timothy P. White that all CSU employees in the categories cited by the governor must stay off campus and away from the Chancellor’s Office, effective immediately.

We hope to develop telecommuting plans for those who can continue their work remotely. Others will be placed on administrative leave at their current salary rate and for their normal scheduled work orders. These circumstances may change if we receive further direction from the Governor’s Office.

We will provide more information as it becomes available. Let us support one another, on campus and off, as the situation develops.

Sac State will develop a plan to transition to virtual operations

March 15, 2020 - Since my last message about coronavirus or COVID-19, things have changed dramatically. Every school district in our region has closed for up to three weeks, and hundreds of our faculty and staff will be struggling to take care of their children who are not in school. Overall, our goal is to limit exposure and to ensure the safety of our Hornet Family, and we are committed to supporting our faculty, staff, and students.

Therefore, with support from the California State University system and in collaboration with the Sacramento County Public Health Department and other regional leaders, Sacramento State will develop a plan to transition to virtual operations, effective Tuesday, March 17. As we transition to virtual operations, the campus will remain open, but parts of the campus may soon be offering exclusively remote services. This does not change our plans for classes, and faculty should continue their work to transition their curriculum online.

I am sure you are asking, “How do we run a brick-and-mortar public university virtually?” You are right to ask that question. Over the weekend, I met with my Cabinet and other members of our University’s senior leadership, and we are committed to finding the answers, and to finding a way to make it happen, as soon as possible.

On Monday, March 16, all employees of Sacramento State will begin the process of moving our operations online. Staff will report to campus for their regular shifts. University leadership will be working to develop a plan for virtual operations by the day’s end. Our goal is that beginning Tuesday, March 17, all employees who can work remotely will do so. Auxiliaries will be working on similar plans.

I know you will have questions. I ask that you work with your manager to map out what your workday will look like if you are able to transition to telecommuting. Not all work can be done remotely. Many of you will be designated as essential staff due to the critical nature of your work. Our Student Health and Counseling Services, for example, must stay staffed and operational to provide critical health services for our students. For those of us who will be reporting to campus every day, I ask that we observe best practices in social distancing.

We encourage you to work with your manager to help create our new reality, at least for the coming weeks. I will be working with University leadership on what the plan will look like, and further information will be sent by the end of Monday, March 16.

For those able to do so, IRT is still planning to offer remote Canvas and Zoom sessions to prepare to go online/remote for instruction/work. Areas with technical questions or in need of support are encouraged to check the Covid-19 resources web page for going online or to send requests to the IRT Service Desk.

There are no easy answers here. At this moment, I cannot tell you that I know what it looks like for Sacramento State to go virtual, but I do know that I believe in the Hornet Family. I believe that we care about our students, staff, and faculty, and this is what we must do.

I hope that you will be flexible and understanding as we work through this transition. The past few weeks have disrupted education in a way that I have never seen. We are all navigating an unknown territory while trying to understand a dangerous pandemic. I cannot thank you enough for moving us forward. Most of all, thank you for your patience and understanding.

We will be transitioning courses to online delivery

March 12, 2020 - In my many years in academia (I am reluctant to say how many years), this message is the most important and most crucial that I have written.

I know that the past few weeks have been incredibly frustrating and confusing as the coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly evolved. The crisis is wreaking havoc here at Sacramento State and throughout the nation and the world. I also know that there has been fear and anxiety around the spread of COVID-19, and we have been making decisions daily in recognition of that reality, many of which have been troubling for our students, faculty, and staff.

In consultation with the CSU Chancellor’s Office, the Sacramento County Department of Health Services, the President’s Cabinet, the Deans, the Faculty Senate Chair, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg, and city and county officials, we will be transitioning courses to online delivery for the remainder of the spring semester. Not all types of courses can be converted to online delivery (e.g., small labs, studios, clinicals, field placements, and performing and theater arts). Faculty members teaching those types of courses must obtain permission from their Dean and the Provost to continue teaching in an in-person format. Please know that the campus will remain open and in operation for the rest of the semester.

Implementation Timeline

Monday, March 16, to Thursday, March 19, 2020 – All instruction (face-to-face, online, lab, studio, exams, and assignments) will be suspended to provide faculty time to prepare and transition their courses online. No classes (including classes currently online) will be held during this period. Field-based assignments, internships, and clinical placements will continue if the site is still hosting student placements. The campus will remain open.

Friday, March 20, to Wednesday, May 14, 2020 – All courses with the exception of approved in-person courses (e.g., small labs, studios, clinicals, field placements, and performing and theater arts) will be conducted online. There will be no in-person finals in any courses unless approved by the Dean and Provost.

Faculty are encouraged to communicate frequently and proactively with students to update them on plans for transitioning coursework, even when faculty are preparing to move their courses online. We will be working with the Faculty Senate on the operational details and resources for faculty. Faculty can contact the IRT Service Desk with questions about moving to online teaching. Additional information will be forthcoming from IRT on opportunities to learn more about using Zoom and Canvas for online education.

The campus will remain open and in operation during the transition to online classes and throughout the remainder of the semester. Some campus services may be moved to a virtual format in the coming weeks. We are working on a telecommuting plan for staff who provide those services. All employees, including student employees, should continue to report to work. Anyone who is not able to come to work should contact their manager.

I want to reiterate that the campus will remain open and in operation. Residence halls and dining services will be open for the remainder of the semester. The WELL, Student Health and Counseling Services, the AIRC, the University Library, and the University Union will remain open and available to the campus community.

I know there will be many questions and concerns raised after this message. We will continue to provide updates and clarify information in the coming days and weeks. We are all living in an uncertain time when the situation is rapidly changing. We will continue to communicate frequently with the campus community and provide updated information on changes as the situation evolves.

I thank you for your patience and flexibility. I hope that you will be understanding and kind to everyone on campus as we all do our best to navigate this frightening reality. We are focused on our core mission of delivering a high-quality education for our students, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to reduce academic disruption.

Sincerely,

Robert S. Nelsen, President
Steve Perez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Adam Rechs, Faculty Senate Chair

Events must be cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual format

March 11, 2020 - Sacramento State is committed to mitigating and minimizing contact outside of the classroom and for non-academic purposes. On Tuesday, we received guidance from the CSU Chancellor’s Office regarding the need to evaluate and potentially cancel or modify campus meetings and events to help with our region’s COVID-19 community mitigation efforts.

In response, we have made the difficult decision that all in-person events must be cancelled, postponed, or moved to a virtual format, effective Thursday, March 12, through the last day of the academic year, May 20. Classes are not cancelled.

We will decide about our Commencement ceremonies at Golden 1 Center as we get closer to the event and have a better understanding of the ongoing impact of COVID-19. All other graduation celebrations, events, and activities are cancelled (e.g. cultural, community, hooding, pinning ceremonies), but the administration will work with organizers to reschedule if possible.

An appeal process for cancelled events will be implemented. As a general rule, events that are not academic credit-bearing or critical for students in progressing toward their academic goal will not be approved. If you have questions or need further clarification, please contact the vice president of your division.

If you are an event organizer, please move forward with cancelling your events, notifying participants, and updating the campus events calendar. We will continue to evaluate the feasibility of events and all COVID-19-related decisions on an ongoing basis. We remain committed to delivering on our core institutional mission of providing a high-quality education.

To further minimize non-academic contact, we encourage students, faculty, and staff to consider cancelling meetings or conducting meetings virtually as a way to promote social distancing. The California Department of Public Health recommends the use of social distancing (i.e., reducing close person-to-person contact) as a strategy for reducing the risk of infection. We have the capability to support Zoom sessions for up to 3,000 participants. Please contact the IRT Service Desk for assistance at (916) 278-7337 or servicedesk@csus.edu.

As I said in a message on Tuesday, I know that great effort and resources go into the planning of events and meetings. I understand that this decision will affect many people at Sacramento State who have been working in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff, and community. I ask for your continued cooperation and understanding as we work to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our educational mission.

Instructors can shift course content to a non-face-to-face setting

March 10, 2020 - At Sacramento State, we all work hard every day to provide a first-class education to our students, foster academic innovation, and address the success of our community in a diverse and inclusive environment. Sometimes we face circumstances that challenge our ability to meet these goals, and the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) is one of those. We are in contact with public health officials as well as civic and higher education leaders to keep abreast of the changing situation. The health and safety of the Hornet Family is our first priority. But our mission remains the same: to educate students. We will not lose sight of that mission, and we know you will not, either.

So, we will keep teaching. The information and resources we have developed regarding Academic Continuity will help us. We will be as flexible as we can in delivering instruction, including allowing those faculty who choose to do so to shift their courses to a virtual yet synchronous mode. After consulting with the Chancellor's Office and our Faculty Senate Chair, effective immediately and until local circumstances change, instructors can shift part or all of their remaining course content to a non-face-to-face setting and teach their classes virtually, using technology, as long as virtual class meetings occur during the normal scheduled class time (synchronously). Lecture capture and similar means of archiving synchronous teaching are encouraged, so that students who are ill or have difficulty accessing the instruction at the time can engage with it later.


If an instructor chooses to shift to virtual instruction, it is permissible to take some time to prepare. Faculty should inform their department chair if they plan to move to virtual class meetings before they take action. Faculty may cancel classes for two to four days to shift their instructional modality and give themselves and their students time to adjust. This preparation time also can be used to ensure, to the extent possible, that course materials meet accessibility standards; information on how to do so can be found by consulting the Accessible Technology Initiative and the Center for Teaching and Learning websites.

At this time, face-to-face class meetings are not cancelled for those classes whose instructors do not voluntarily shift to synchronous virtual delivery. If in-person classes are suspended at a later point, the decision will be made after careful review of our local situation, which includes consultation with public health officials, civic leaders, and other higher education institutions. Under these voluntary circumstances, it is up to the instructor to determine if course objectives can be met by shifting the modality from in-person to virtual instruction. It is imperative that whatever decision is made by a faculty member, it is communicated clearly to students.

We understand that other universities have cancelled in-person classes and a local school district has closed. Given the uncertainty of the situation, if new information or guidance becomes available, then we may have to adjust our plans on short notice. We are conferring with the CSU Chancellor’s Office and other CSU campuses as we monitor the situation. Sacramento State is maintaining normal operations at this time.

That said, we encourage maximum flexibility and suggest that faculty or students who either should not or do not wish to attend in-person classes for COVID-19-related reasons should complete their work via alternate means. Unless instructors voluntarily shift to virtual instruction, to the extent possible, they should provide supplementary online materials to help absent students continue the course at the same rate as students who come to class. Clear communication about these options is important so that no student who is ill feels pressured to attend class. Similarly, any instructor who is ill should arrange with their department chair for assistance, as they normally would. We further encourage instructors to coordinate at the departmental level as much as possible.

Once again, this is a challenging time. We have faced challenging times before, and as we have done in the past, we will face this one keeping our mission in mind and caring for our students and one another. The Academic Continuity resources page has suggestions, tips, and assistance as you keep teaching. Please reach out if you have any questions or need assistance.

We understand that there is a great amount of fear, anxiety, and concern around COVID-19. Let us support one another during this uncertain time. COVID-19 is a virus that can affect all humans. Racism, discrimination, and anti-immigrant rhetoric about specific communities do not reflect the values of the Hornet Family. The Hornet Honor Code reaffirms our commitment to inclusion and to being a caring campus. We will not stand for misinformation, denigration, and stereotyping of Asian and Asian American communities.

If you become aware of a student or employee who has tested positive for COVID-19, please contact Risk Management Services at 916-278-6119.

Robert S. Nelsen, President
Steve Perez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Adam Rechs, Chair of the Faculty Senate

Sac State is evaluating scheduled meetings and events

March 10, 2020 - On Monday, March 9, Dr. Peter Beilenson, head of Sacramento County’s Department of Health Services, announced that the county has moved from the containment phase of coronavirus (COVID-19) to community mitigation.

An important element of community mitigation involves canceling or postponing scheduled events and meetings. As you undoubtedly know, many events, including SXSW and the ACE Conference, recently have been canceled. In consultation with the Sacramento County Public Health Department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the California State University system, Sacramento State is currently evaluating scheduled events and meetings on our campus to determine which ones may need to be postponed or canceled. The CSU has provided guidelines and a rubric to help in making these extremely difficult decisions.

I know that a great amount of effort and resources already have gone into the planning of these events and meetings. These decisions will affect many people at Sacramento State who have been working in the best interest of our students, faculty, staff, and community. I ask for your cooperation and understanding as we work to ensure that our campus remains safe while we continue our educational mission.

In accordance with the instructions from the CSU, we will initially evaluate all events and meetings scheduled for the next two weeks. Subsequently, we will examine the next two months of planned events. We also will use the rubric to determine what new events may be added to the schedule

I also want to acknowledge that many students, faculty, staff, and community members have inquired about Sacramento State’s plans to suspend classes or transition to virtual classroom delivery. The situation is very dynamic. We are consulting with the CSU to determine what options we can and should make available. The Provost, the Faculty Senate Chair, and I will be issuing a letter later today about beginning to transition some classes to a virtual format in case we get to the point where we need to stop teaching classes face-to-face

I assure you that we are aware of the concerns and anxiety around COVID-19, and we are thoughtfully considering how we can help with our region’s community mitigation efforts.

CSU suspending international, non-essential domestic university travel

March 10, 2020 - In consultation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the California State University system issued a memo today suspending all international and non-essential domestic university travel through May 31, 2020. This suspension includes all campuses, auxiliary organizations, and athletic programs.

All currently planned domestic travel must be reviewed and re-approved by the appropriate managers. Requests for exceptions for international or domestic travel can be made to the dean or vice president of your respective college or division. Final review will be completed by my office. Additional information will be forthcoming on the travel approval process during the suspension.

For students who are studying abroad, the determination on whether they will return to the United States or stay in their current program will be made on a case-by-case basis by the Office of International Programs and Global Engagement.

The decision to suspend travel was not an easy one, but we believe it is in the best interest of the health and safety of the Hornet Family. The coronavirus or, COVID-19, issue is dynamic and evolving, and an extension of further travel cancellations may be necessary.

I understand that the decision to suspend travel will be disappointing for many members of the Hornet Family. Travel is critical for the growth and development of our students, staff, and faculty. Please contact your dean or manager if you have additional questions about upcoming travel plans.

Coronavirus update: Sacramento State will remain open for the time being

March 8, 2020 - In consultation with the Sacramento County Public Health Department, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), the California State University system, local universities and colleges, and local elected officials, Sacramento State will remain open, and classes and business operations will continue as scheduled for the time being.

As always, the health and well-being of our campus community remains paramount. I want to assure you that the risk at Sacramento State remains low, and to date, no Sacramento State student or employee has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

The CDPH has issued guidance for higher education institutions that we will continue to follow. Currently, Sacramento State is at what the CDPH considers “Scenario II,” which recommends that campus administrators ensure that faculty and staff with any fever and/or respiratory infection symptoms are not at work.

To our faculty and staff: We recommend that you self-screen (check yourself for fever and/or respiratory symptoms such as cough) each morning before interacting with students. We also have been asked to continue to ensure that sick leave policies allow faculty and staff to stay home if they have symptoms of respiratory infection. The CDPH also recommends that we limit visitors to the campus with symptoms of fever and/or respiratory infection, or who have a travel history over the course of the past 14 days to areas identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as Level 3 Travel Health Notice zones.

While Sacramento State will continue to remain open, we understand that some area schools are closed and that some are facing disruptions in their regular schedule. Therefore, we are encouraging maximum flexibility and understanding for employees and students who are affected.

We are committed to providing up-to-date information about Sacramento State’s risk level and our ongoing response. Please continue to visit our University homepage, where we have included a link to campus updates and frequently asked questions. I also encourage all members of the campus community to enroll in the Emergency Notification System (ENS) with their personal contact information. ENS is our primary means of communication in the event of an emergency.

Sac State is proactive amid concern about COVID-19

March 6, 2020 - On Thursday, Sacramento County declared a state of emergency in response to the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). This action does not indicate an increased risk for our region. Rather, it ensures uninterrupted access to resources the county needs to keep people safe and mitigate the spread of the virus. I want to assure you that the risk at Sacramento State remains low, and to date, no Sacramento State student or employee has tested positive for the virus.

We continue to take all appropriate measures and to work closely with local, state, and federal healthcare agencies. At this time, Sacramento State has no plans to cancel classes, activities, or University events. Our goal is to continue without academic or operational disruption, but we have convened the University’s Critical Response Team and other key personnel with a focus on honing our contingency and continuity plans to ensure that we are ready to take appropriate action if necessary.

Information is vital during times of uncertainty, and we are committed to providing timely information to our campus community. Therefore, we have posted information on our University homepage, which will be kept updated. Please refer to this page for campus messages and answers to Frequently Asked Questions.

Also, if you have not already done so, I encourage all members of the campus community to enroll in the Emergency Notification System (ENS) with their personal contact information. ENS is our primary means of communication in the event of an emergency, including a campus closure. Information also is shared via the University website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

We understand that the COVID-19 situation may be causing increased fear and anxiety, and we urge our Hornet Family to take care of yourselves and support one another. Please follow the Sacramento County Public Health Department’s advice and:

- Frequently wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash
- Stay home when you are sick

Students have access to healthcare resources, including emotional support, from Student Health and Counseling Services.

Employees should contact their healthcare provider if they require medical attention. Additionally, Sacramento State’s Human Resources Department has activated a dedicated phone line for COVID-19-related HR questions (916-278-2888).

Keeping the Hornet Family safe and healthy is always our highest priority, and I appreciate your cooperation and understanding during this time.

No one at Sacramento State has tested positive for COVID-19

Feb. 28, 2020 - On Thursday, the California Department of Public Health confirmed that a patient at UC Davis Medical Center has tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Sacramento County health experts have indicated that the risk continues to be low. To date, no one at Sacramento State has tested positive for the virus. The University continues to be in close contact with the Sacramento County Public Health Department regarding appropriate next steps. We continue to prepare for any operational, health, or educational issues that may arise.

While COVID-19 has a high transmission rate, it has a low mortality rate. For those who have tested positive for COVID-19, approximately 80 percent do not exhibit symptoms that would require hospitalization. Most people with illnesses due to coronavirus infections recover on their own without medical treatment.

We encourage you to stay home if you are sick. Do not go to class or to work. Notify your faculty member or supervisor if you are going to miss class or work. Also, be aware of the symptoms of COVID-19. Seek medical care if symptoms become more severe.

I hope that the Hornet Family will show itself to be a caring campus and will be understanding during this time. I ask for your flexibility when students or employees determine that they need to stay home. There may be individuals who are asked to self-isolate at home and who may have to miss up to two weeks of class or work. Individuals who become ill but do not need medical intervention may not have a doctor’s note or medical documentation for their absence. It is critical that individuals not be expected to obtain a written excuse from a medical provider for their absence.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that if you believe you have been exposed to or infected with COVID-19, you should immediately self-isolate at home except for getting medical care. Before going to your healthcare provider, call in advance to tell them you suspect that you may have COVID-19 so they may take steps to prevent further exposure to others and provide appropriate guidance to you before arrival. If you are experiencing a medical emergency and need to call 911, you should notify the dispatch personnel that you have or suspect you have COVID-19. Patients who have been instructed to self-isolate or quarantine should remain at home until your healthcare provider releases you. Information about self-monitoring, isolation, and quarantine is available here.

These websites offer the latest information:
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx
https://dhs.saccounty.net/PUB/Pages/PUB-Home.asp

At this time, Sacramento State is open and classes will continue as usual. I encourage all members of the campus community to enroll in the Emergency Notification System (ENS) with their personal contact information. ENS is our primary means of communication in the event of an emergency, including a campus closure. Information also is shared via the University website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

We understand that there is a great amount of fear, anxiety, and concern around COVID-19. Let us support one another during this uncertain time. COVID-19 is a virus that can affect all humans. Racism, stigmatism, and anti-immigrant rhetoric about specific communities do not reflect the values of the Hornet Family. The Hornet Honor Code reaffirms our commitment to inclusion and to being a caring campus. We will not stand for misinformation, denigration, and stereotyping of Asian and Asian American communities.

We are taking all appropriate measures and working closely with local, state, and federal healthcare agencies. Please take care of yourselves and stay home if you are sick. Students have access to healthcare resources from Student Health and Counseling Services. Keeping the Hornet Family healthy is a campus-wide effort, and I appreciate your understanding during this time.

Sac State is taking steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on campus

Feb. 24, 2020 - I know that many of you are concerned about the spread of the coronavirus and how, as a campus, we are prepared to deal with it. Sacramento County Public Health last week reported the first confirmed travel-related coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case involving a Sacramento County resident. The individual recently traveled from China, where an outbreak of the coronavirus has been ongoing since December.

Sacramento County Public Health’s investigation determined that currently, the public’s risk of exposure is extremely low. Sacramento State is continuing to monitor the activity of COVID-19 and has been taking steps to early identify and prevent the spread on campus.

The University is working closely with Sacramento County Public Health to monitor conditions in our area and make decisions about the best steps to take concerning our institution.

Here are some recommendations to help you stay healthy:

  • It is currently flu and respiratory disease season in our region. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends getting a flu vaccine.
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue. If you do not have a tissue, then cough or sneeze into your elbow or shoulder, not into your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, as germs are easily spread this way.
  • Know the signs and symptoms of the coronavirus, which may include fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
  • Stay home if you are sick. Do not go to class or work. Notify your faculty member or manager if you will be absent.
  • Stay informed. These websites offer the latest information:
    https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
    https://www.cdph.ca.gov/Programs/CID/DCDC/Pages/Immunization/nCOV2019.aspx
    https://dhs.saccounty.net/PUB/Pages/PUB-Home.aspx

If you are a student experiencing flu-like symptoms, you can call the Nurse Advice Line at (916) 278-6461 for assistance.

Sacramento State is devoted to the civic engagement of our students

Feb. 11, 2020 - Sacramento State is devoted to the civic engagement of our students, and I am pleased that Associated Students, Inc. (ASI) has made participation in this year’s election a priority. The simple act of voting is the cornerstone of our democracy.

The California Presidential Primary Election is March 3, 2020, when Californians will vote on their party's nominee for president, legislators, a number of local officeholders, and ballot measures such as a bond to finance needed improvements to our state’s K-12 schools and college campuses, including Sacramento State.

Election officials advise voters to register by midnight Tuesday, Feb. 18, and you can do so online.

To vote in California, you must be:

  • A United States citizen and a resident of California
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day
  • Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony
  • Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court

I am excited to share with you that Sacramento State once again will have a Vote Center on campus at Modoc Hall. The Vote Center, operated by the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections, replaces the traditional Election Day-only polling places. It will be open for the three days before the election and on Election Day. Any registered voter in Sacramento County can vote there in person or drop off their completed ballot.

The Vote Center’s schedule is:

  • 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, February 29 - Monday, March 2
  • 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, March 3 (Election Day)

Modoc Hall can be reached by walking or by riding the free Stinger Line Shuttle, which departs every 20 minutes from the Hornet Bookstore, Benicia Hall, and other campus locations.

To support student voting, Spin Scooters is offering students a $5 discount off rides on campus on March 2 and March 3. Students who choose to take a Spin Scooter to Modoc Hall can click on “Free Rides” in the app menu and enter the promo code “SACSPINSTHEVOTE” beginning the morning of March 2.

Free 30-minute parking spaces are available near Modoc Hall entrance all four days the Vote Center is open.

The Vote Center also will allow Sacramento County residents the opportunity for same-day registration and voting. Those ballots will be not be counted until after the County Elections Office has verified registration, so it’s best to register by Feb. 18.

Additionally, Sacramento County voters can pick up a replacement ballot at the Vote Center.

I hope you will consider voting in the March election. Stingers Up!

I know that we will continue to transform the Sacramento Region

Feb. 4, 2020 - In my Fall Address, I emphasized our ongoing dedication to community engagement. I am pleased to share that Sacramento State has once again been honored with a Carnegie Community-Engaged Campus classification.

I would like to congratulate the Carnegie Reclassification working group and thank them for submitting an outstanding application, one that the Carnegie Management Team described as demonstrating “compelling evidence of exemplary practices of institutionalized community engagement.” Sacramento State originally earned the Carnegie classification in 2010 and again in 2015. We are proud to be one of just 119 U.S. colleges and universities to earn the distinction this year.

The Carnegie Community-Engaged Campus classification recognizes Sacramento State’s unwavering commitment to improving our community through civic engagement and engaged scholarship. I know that we will continue to transform the Sacramento Region and I am proud of our Hornet Family.

Stingers Up!

We are actively monitoring the coronavirus crisis

Jan. 29, 2020 - The safety and well-being of our campus community are extremely high priorities at Sacramento State. We are actively monitoring and gathering information about the novel coronavirus and its impact on China and the world. At this time, there is no known or immediate threat to the University or the Sacramento region. No Sacramento State students are currently studying in China, and there are no faculty or staff on University-related business there.

Along with the CSU system, we are continuing our suspension of travel activity to this region. We have contacted our students who are studying abroad to make sure they are safe. We have shared information with them about symptoms of coronavirus and what steps they should take if they start to experience any type of illness.

This situation is dynamic and evolving. We will continue to monitor it and to follow the recommendations of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the California Department of Public Health. We also will continue to check in with our students abroad and to inform them about any changes that occur locally or internationally.

Sacramento is experiencing cold and flu season, and we should all make every effort to prevent the spread of germs. I encourage all who are unwell to contact their primary care provider. Students can access care through Student Health & Counseling Services at The WELL. Please take care of yourself. I wish you all a safe and successful spring semester.

Commencement 2020 will be held at Golden 1 Center

Jan. 23, 2020 - I am pleased to announce that we will hold our 2020 Commencement ceremonies May 15-17, 2020, at Golden 1 Center. We are excited that we will once again be able to celebrate graduation with our students, their friends, and their families at this incredible venue.

The Commencement website has been updated with the detailed schedule and other important information regarding the Commencement ceremonies. (Be sure to review the FAQ page on the website for answers to common questions.)

Each graduating student will have access to eight guest tickets. Students will be able to register for Commencement and claim guest tickets via their Student Center during the first week in March. All Fall 2019 graduates will still have access to their Student Center, as access is available for 24 months after their graduation term.

Students who completed their degree requirements and are eligible for graduation in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 can participate in the May 2020 ceremonies. All other students wishing to participate will be required to submit a request to their college. Visit the Request to Walk Early or Walk Late page for details.

Due to the sheer number of graduates, access to the registration and ticket claiming system will be rolled out, according to the schedule below. The rollout schedule will not affect the number of tickets available to eligible students who claim tickets by April 6:

  • March 2, 8 a.m. – College of Arts & Letters
  • March 2, 1 p.m. – College of Engineering & Computer Science
    College of Natural Sciences & Mathematics
  • March 3, 8 a.m. – College of Health & Human Services
  • March 3, 1 p.m. – College of Business Administration
  • March 4, 8 a.m. – College of Social Sciences & Interdisciplinary Studies
  • March 4, 1 p.m. – College of Education

A step-by-step guide for claiming tickets will also become available on the Commencement website in February.

I look forward to another series of exciting ceremonies at Golden 1 Center celebrating this wonderful accomplishment by our students. Stingers Up!

Save the date for Spring Forum with Paul Grossman

Jan. 9, 2020 - As many of you will remember, we decided a year ago to forgo the tradition of two annual speeches by the President in order to address important issues on campus. Last year, we focused at the start of the spring semester on student presentations that were a response to the death of Stephon Clark. This year, we have decided to focus on our ongoing commitment to becoming a more inclusive and caring campus.

I want to invite you to attend Sacramento State’s Spring Forum, featuring Paul Grossman.

Thursday, Jan. 16
9 to 10 a.m.
University Union Ballroom

Paul is a retired Chief Regional Attorney for the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, and a disability rights advocate. With more than 40 years of experience as a federal civil rights prosecutor, Paul has been a direct witness to the development of all forms of civil rights in education in America. His vision includes an understanding of how the rights of individuals with disabilities were built upon historical race and national origin-based civil rights movements and judicial precedents.

For Paul, a college dropout with multiple disabilities, a watershed moment in his life was to be present at the Section 504 sit-in held in San Francisco — the longest occupation of a federal building in U.S. history. His presentation at Sacramento State will explore how African American, LGBTQIA+, and Latinx civil rights organizations were instrumental in the success of the sit-in. Similarly, Paul will trace how developments in disability rights “loop back” to benefit every student in higher education through the implementation of “universal design” in curriculum and instructional practices.

Sharing insights that he developed through more than 20 years of experience teaching law school classes, Paul will make concrete recommendations regarding practices that would be effective in retaining and supporting the graduation of Sacramento State’s students. I firmly believe that his address will be incredibly useful as we continue to care about all our students and help all of them graduate as quickly as possible with the excellent education to which Sacramento State, our faculty, and our staff are dedicated.

A reception will immediately follow the Spring Forum at 10 a.m. in the Union’s Cottonwood Suites.

Also, let us start the semester by caring for one another. Please consider bringing a nonperishable food item for the ASI Food Pantry.

If you are unable to attend the Spring Forum, I encourage you to watch the event via the live feed. Live captioning will be available on screens on both sides of the stage. I look forward to seeing you on Jan. 16 – and Stingers Up!

We must treat one another with respect despite our differences

Dec. 6, 2019 - I am deeply disturbed and appalled to learn that there was a fistfight on campus today between two students. We are investigating the situation, but I want to make it unequivocally clear that violence is never the answer. Sacramento State is a caring campus - a welcoming place for all members of the Hornet Family. No one should ever be physically attacked. Everyone deserves to feel safe and secure in expressing their identity and beliefs. Today’s incident in no way reflects Sacramento State’s values. Violence on our campus will not be tolerated. We are committed to the values of the Hornet Honor Code. In today's increasingly tense political climate, we must care for each other and treat one another with respect despite our differences.

UPDATE, Dec. 7, 2019: The University continues to investigate this incident, working with law enforcement and our Student Conduct office. If you have additional information, please go to https://www.csus.edu/…/student-condu…/report-misconduct.html. Thank you.

Sac State will pilot a Leadership Academy beginning in January, 2020

Nov. 15, 2019 - I am pleased to share that Sacramento State will be piloting a Leadership Academy for staff, administrators, and faculty beginning in January, 2020.

This pilot program was collaboratively designed by the Chancellor’s Office system-wide Director of Leadership Development, Dr. Crystal Miller, and Sacramento State’s Leadership & Development team. I encourage you to review the program overview at the Leadership Academy homepage.

Leadership Academy participants will be a diverse cross-section of our Hornet Family – composed of staff and faculty who support a culture of inclusivity, integrity, and respect.

Instruction will be delivered by a collection of subject matter experts, including our campus division leaders, faculty members, and Dr. Crystal Miller from the Chancellor’s Office.

The application period is officially open. Applications will be accepted through Friday, December 6. Please visit the Leadership Academy homepage and consider applying today.

For questions or more information, please contact Elisa Chohan, Organizational & Learning Development (chohan@csus.edu).

We are proud to offer this pilot program, and I am confident that Sacramento State’s Leadership Academy will develop into one of the most important permanent support programs for faculty and staff at our University. Stingers Up!

Give your feedback on CSU chancellor selection process

Nov. 6, 2019 -The California State University Board of Trustees is searching for the next chancellor to succeed Timothy P. White, who has announced his intent to retire at the end of the 2019-20 academic year.

The search process will include an open forum hosted here at Sacramento State:

Tuesday, Nov. 12
Noon – 2 p.m.
University Union, Ballroom I


This open forum is the first stop on a statewide listening tour, and all members of the campus community are encouraged to attend. Your feedback about the qualities and experience required of the next chancellor, as well as your thoughts about the future of the CSU, are important. Your feedback will help to develop a profile that will guide the recruitment.

If you are unable to attend, you can watch the forum, both livestreamed and recorded, on the Chancellor’s Recruitment website. Feedback to the search committees can also be submitted through the website.

The CSU looks forward to hearing from the Hornet Family. We hope you will join us. Stingers up!

Sac State is committed to creating the safest environment possible

Nov. 5, 2019 - The safety and well-being of the Hornet Family is one of my highest priorities. In the wake of the horror in El Paso and Gilroy, several members of our campus community approached me to inquire about what we are doing to ensure campus safety – specifically, active shooter training.

It is understandable that fear of gun violence is at the top of many minds, including mine. Our country has endured a long list of tragic mass shootings and targeted violence. Sadly, I do not believe that these tragedies will end anytime soon.

Sacramento State is committed to creating the safest environment possible for everyone who comes onto our campus. We must join together to keep our community safe. Below are ways that Sacramento State is working to create a safe environment.

• Run. Hide. Fight.: Please watch this short CSU Active Shooter Safety Training Video provided by the California State University as a reminder of what to do if the worst happens.

• Self-empowerment: Work with your colleagues and your floor marshal in your physical work area to plan for an emergency. Identify evacuation routes and doors that should be locked and secured in the case of an active shooter. Identify multiple options, depending on the need to run, hide, or fight. Locking doors is the most important step in preventing access by a shooter or other dangerous individual to your area.

• Emergency Notification System: Sacramento State’s Emergency Notification System (ENS) automates the delivery of urgent announcements to faculty, staff, and students. The system sends out text messages, phone calls, and emails during critical situations that may cause harm or imminent danger. In the event of an emergency, the Sacramento State Police Department will immediately send an ENS notification message. If the situation persists, a follow-up notification will be sent shortly thereafter, with more specific details of the event and safety procedures. An “all-clear” message will be sent when the threat has ended. The community also may be alerted to visit the campus’s homepage and social media channels for more information. Please check your account information to ensure that your cell phone number has been logged and is correct. If your cell phone number is not listed, you will not be contacted on your personal phone, and your life and the lives of your colleagues and students will be in danger.

• Critical Response Team: Sacramento State’s Critical Response Team is composed of representatives from many areas of campus. The team meets weekly to share ideas and updates about what we need to prepare for, be aware of, and respond to in emergency or other critical situations. Please email president@csus.edu to submit ideas or concerns to the Critical Response Team.

• Behavior Intervention Team (BIT): The Behavioral Intervention Team (BIT) is a resource available to the campus to address concerning and/or disturbing behavior. BIT is a multidisciplinary team that meets regularly to monitor reports of student behavior and to examine incidents, as well as to look for patterns and behaviors surrounding those incidents. The team assesses the behavior exhibited and determines the appropriate response. To report any behavior or incidents that appear odd, please contact:
cares@csus.edu
916-278-5138
Danielle Muñoz, Case Manager

• Police and Administration Preparation: Our police and administration regularly perform table top emergency exercises, often in concert with local police and fire personnel. These exercises allow the police to be prepared for multiple scenarios.

Coming soon:

• Public Information Campaign: This campaign will feature a web page and other forms of campus outreach (e.g., printed materials, digital signs, multimedia) that will contain information such as what to do in case of an emergency, whom to call if you see something suspicious, and other important safety tips.

• Upgraded ENS system: Sacramento State is continually seeking to improve data integration and crisis notifications for our campus community. Look for updates about an ENS upgrade soon.

• Emergency Response Training: Our annual Emergency Response Training in each building is being upgraded to include appropriate responses to different ENS messages and will include active shooter response.

Sacramento State is constantly striving to be a safe and caring campus. We must be vigilant in our resolve to protect ourselves and one another from potential threats. Please do not hesitate to speak up if you notice behaviors that cause you concern.

The campus will be open Monday, Oct. 28, despite area wildfires

Oct. 27, 2019 - The high winds and dry conditions in Northern California today created dangerous conditions that impacted millions across the state. We are aware that members of the Hornet Family may be without power or may be immediately affected by area wildfires. The Sacramento State campus has not been directly affected. The campus will be open Monday, and classes will continue as normal. We will monitor the situation and update the campus community if there are any developments.

I strongly encourage all members of the Hornet Family to update their Emergency Notification System (ENS) information. ENS can distribute emergency alerts across multiple platforms, including:

• Desktop and website alerts (on University-managed devices)
• Text messages (to personal mobile phones when provided)
• Phone calls (to business and personal mobile phones when provided)
• Emails (to SacLink accounts and personal email accounts when provided)
• Audio warnings (campus loudspeakers)
• Digital warnings (digital signage on campus kiosks, at the University Union and The WELL, and at the University Library; and on TV screens in the AIRC, and Lassen, Tahoe, and Mariposa halls)

Students in need of emotional support should contact Student Health and Counseling Services at (916) 278-6461. For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 to provide professional assistance. Please call (800) 367-7474 or visit mylifematters.com (password: SacState). Students should contact their professors if their coursework is impacted by these events. Employees should contact their managers if they anticipate missing any work.

Additional resources are listed below:
CalFire: https://www.fire.ca.gov/
Sonoma County information: https://socoemergency.org/
PG&E Outage Map: http://critweb-outage.pgealerts.com/?WT.mc_id=Vanity_pge-outages
SMUD Outage Map: https://www.smud.org/en/Customer-Support/Outage-Status

Please take care of yourself and one another during this difficult time for our state and community.

Giving during the Causeway Classic Blood Drive

Oct. 21, 2019 - It is time for the 12th annual Causeway Classic Blood Drive:

Monday, Oct. 21, through Wednesday, Oct. 23
10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
University Union Ballroom

Let’s work together to give back to the community and beat UC Davis this year.

Last year, we collected some 916 lifesaving pints of blood during the Causeway Classic Blood Drive. Every donation can save up to three lives, so that means potentially 2,748 people were saved last year. I know we can do even better this year.

I hope that everyone who can give will do so and that we can save lives while winning the Causeway Classic of blood drives. In addition, all donors will receive a free T-shirt.

After the drive on campus concludes, you can continue giving to Vitalant (formerly BloodSource) using code L029 and contribute to our total.

Stingers Up!

Sac State is a proud endorser of International Pronouns Day

Oct. 16, 2019 - Sacramento State is proud of its diversity and its efforts to become a more inclusive campus. As part of our commitment, we seek to recognize and celebrate the intersecting identities of all members of the Hornet Family.

On Oct. 11, we celebrated National Coming Out Day and today, Oct. 16, Sacramento State is a proud endorser of International Pronouns Day . In recognizing the importance of these dates, we seek to acknowledge and affirm the spectrum of sexual orientation and the continuum of gender identity, while affirming human dignity and embracing our fellow Hornets. We want to honor the diversity of our community and do the work to make Sacramento State a campus where each of us is able to engage and be accepted as our authentic self.

As we celebrate our Hornet Family, we also recognize that this is a time of significant fear and trauma for many, including members of the LGBTQIA+ community whose civil rights and fundamental liberties are in jeopardy on a national level. Although California law protects the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, that is not the reality across our nation, as evidenced by recent oral arguments before the U. S. Supreme Court.

We recognize the significance of this moment and the trauma that many experience. If you are in need of support during this difficult time, please connect with the PRIDE Center, which offers space for community and provides programming and Safe Zone trainings throughout the year. The PRIDE Center is located on the first floor of the University Union and can be reached at pride@csus.edu .

Please join me in celebrating, supporting, and embracing our LGBTQIA+ community members.

Celebrate native cultures on Indigenous Peoples Day

Oct. 14, 2019 - Today marks the 27th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples Day. It is a day to remember and honor the original native people of this nation and the original stewards of the land on which Sacramento State stands today – the Nisenan, Patwin, Miwok, Wintu and Maidu. In 2017, Sacramento State’s Associated Students Inc. (ASI) resolved that our University recognize the 25th anniversary of Indigenous People’s Day at Sacramento State. This designation is critical in recognizing the lived experiences of the native people of the Americas while acknowledging the injustices of the past and the ongoing oppression of the present. I ask that the Hornet Family celebrate the knowledge, history, and diverse cultures of indigenous peoples and to understand our shared history so that we can build a better future together.

Sac State is committed to NCAA compliance

Oct. 10, 2019 - As you know, Sacramento State continues to build a rich tradition of academic and athletic achievement. It is the responsibility of each NCAA member institution to control its intercollegiate athletics program in compliance with the rules and regulations of the association. Our steadfast purpose of integrity requires a commitment to compliance with all University, conference, and NCAA rules

The main areas for our campus community to focus on are benefits and academic misconduct. The NCAA defines an extra benefit as any special arrangement or benefit provided to a student-athlete that is not generally available to other students. Relevant examples of extra benefits include (but are not limited to): creating special courses for a student-athlete, authorizing a grade change for athletics reasons (e.g., to remain eligible), or providing a student-athlete the use of a car or lodging.

From an NCAA perspective, academic misconduct is determined by the University in accordance with the institution’s own policies and procedures. A student-athlete suspected of engaging in academic misconduct should be treated the same as any other student. All applicable policies and procedures listed on the syllabus or within the Sacramento State Policy Manual should be followed. Failure to follow University policy can result in the finding of an extra benefit. Academic misconduct is an NCAA violation that must be reported when it involves any institutional staff member. Examples of institutional staff members include professors, teaching assistants, sports staff members, and tutors. Also, if the academic misconduct results in a student-athlete being incorrectly certified as eligible, it must be reported.

In our attempt to educate our coaches, student-athletes, faculty, staff, and fans and supporters about the rules, we created a booster guide with basic NCAA rules information. The NCAA considers anyone who is involved in promoting Hornet athletics to be a booster. This includes those who have made a donation to the Athletics Department, have assisted the Athletics Department during an official or unofficial visit by allowing a prospect to attend a class, or purchased season tickets for a certain sport. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Our student-athletes have done their very best to schedule their semester courses so that there is a minimum amount of conflict between their classes and their travel schedules for athletic competition. However, some conflict is unavoidable. Per the Student Excused Absences Policy, a student-athlete’s participation in intercollegiate athletics is a University-approved event.

Given the number and complexity of NCAA rules, we realize that this guide will not answer all the questions you may have, so please email our NCAA compliance office at athad-03@csus.edu with any unanswered questions. Our NCAA compliance office also has a Twitter account where you can follow recent NCAA compliance news or obtain additional information. Follow them @SacStateComply.

We appreciate you taking the time to review the information contained in this letter – and your support as we strive to be No. 1 academically and athletically.

Power outages could ... impact many members of our community

Oct. 9, 2019 - Last night, we learned that PG&E would be shutting off power throughout much of Northern California for safety reasons due to high winds. While we do not anticipate that our campus will be directly affected, these power outages could last for days and will impact many members of our community. You can view more information at www.pge.com (the page is currently down, but you can check their Twitter for updates) about where the outages are expected to occur.

I ask that we all be flexible and understanding during this situation. The outages will affect more than people’s homes, as some schools and daycares will be impacted, leaving students and employees without childcare. Traffic may also be impacted. Additionally, people with medical issues may face increased challenges around their care if power is shut off.

Students should stay in contact with their faculty to keep them apprised of the challenges they are facing during these outages. Employees should contact their managers if they anticipate missing work or being late.

We are a Hornet Family, and I ask that we all be empathetic and patient at this time.

Through Our Promise Campaign, Sacramento State demonstrates we care

Oct. 2, 2019 - Since 1957, California state employees have raised millions of dollars for charities through the Our Promise Campaign. These donations make a significant impact on our communities. The Our Promise Campaign offers a heartfelt way for state employees to support charitable organizations they believe in through convenient payroll deductions.

Through Our Promise, Sacramento State continues to demonstrate that we care. From 2017 to 2018, we increased the total number of donors and amplified our overall donation total by 5 percent. Members of the Hornet Family gave to dozens of local community organizations such as Sacramento Loaves & Fishes, the Sacramento Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SSPCA), Josh’s Heart, and the University Foundation at Sacramento State.

As an anchor institution, we must find ways to enrich our surrounding communities. Donating to a local charity (https://www.ourpromiseca.org/find-nonprofit) can be one of the many threads we weave within the anchor institution tapestry.

I am challenging us not only to increase the number of donors from the previous year but also bolster the overall donation total. I know we can do this because the Hornet Family gives from the heart.

When you receive your donation form this week, please consider giving to one of the many worthy organizations that need our help. Thank you for your generosity. Stingers Up!

The Hornet Family observes a wide range of religious traditions

Sacramento State is a diverse community with many cultures and religions represented within the Hornet Family. On behalf of the President’s Cabinet, I want to acknowledge our diversity and the fact that many students, faculty, and staff observe religious holidays that are not state or federally recognized, nor are they University holidays where the campus is closed.

Members of the Hornet Family observe a wide range of religious traditions, including the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu, Islamic, Jewish, Sikh, and other faiths. Many holidays observed by these faiths are not already reflected in our institutional calendar, may span several days, and may be observed from sundown the night before and/or conclude at nightfall.

As we acknowledge and celebrate our diversity, we also want to take this moment to remind the campus community of policies and practices related to observation of religious holidays. For students, the Religious Observance Policy outlines how instructors make accommodations for students’ planned absence(s) for religious observances, including with respect to tests, examinations, grade assignments, deadlines, and class participation. For faculty and staff, individuals are encouraged to request time off as early as possible for planned observances, pursuant to the applicable collective bargaining agreement or relevant time-off policy.

Accommodations for religious observances should be made to the extent feasible and in accordance with governing policies or agreements. As an inclusive and caring campus, we must continue to identify opportunities to support the diversity of beliefs within the Hornet Family.

Ántonia Peigahi has accepted our offer of Director of Policy and Records

Sept. 27, 2019 - I am pleased to announce that Ántonia Peigahi has accepted our offer of Director of Policy and Records Management. She will begin her work in the Division of the President on Oct. 1, 2019.

Before joining Sacramento State in 2003, Ms. Peigahi was the Assistant Instruction Librarian at Portland State University. At Sacramento State, she served as a faculty member in the University Library, first as the Instruction Librarian and later as the Education Librarian. Her work was recognized with an Outstanding Teaching Award in 2007-08 and an Outstanding University Service Award in 2010-11. She earned the rank of Librarian in 2014.

Ms. Peigahi’s contributions to the campus include numerous terms on the Faculty Senate, including 10 years on the Senate Executive Committee. During that time, she served as an At-Large Member of the Executive Committee, five terms as Chair of the GE/GRPC, Vice Chair, and twice as Senate Chair. She also has served as the faculty designee to the ASI Board of Directors and has worked as part of the Faculty-Administration Team on Consultation, Shared Governance, and Leadership; the Intercollegiate Athletic Advisory Committee; the Graduation Initiative Steering Committee; and in numerous other roles.

Ms. Peigahi has California State University system experience through her work as a member of the CSU Electronic Access to Information Resources team and through the Academic Senate of the CSU General Education Taskforce. She has served on the Advisory Board for the CSU Student Success Network since 2015 and is a member of the Review Board for the peer-reviewed Journal of Transformative Leadership and Policy Studies. She was inducted into The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in 2019.

The position of Director of Policy and Records Management is new to our campus. In this role, Ms. Peigahi will coordinate and manage University policy, compliance, and the records retention processes. She will work across divisions to establish, revise, review, and update University policies. As part of our ongoing commitment to shared governance, she will work closely with the Faculty Senate, ASI, the University Staff Assembly, and other bodies to develop, coordinate, and guide policy through the review process. Ms. Peigahi also will be responsible for developing an action plan for records retention and will be working with the campus to understand and implement those recommendations.

We are honored that Ms. Peigahi will be joining the Division of the President, and I look forward to working with her in this new capacity. Please join me in welcoming Ántonia Peigahi in the role of Director of Policy and Records Management.

Steve Perez has been appointed as Provost and VP for Academic Affairs

Sept. 18, 2019 - As I mentioned in a message earlier this month, the role of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs is one of the most important in academia. The past decade has seen significant turbulence in Academic Affairs at Sacramento State. I know that the instability in the division has been difficult for the entire University, but most significantly for those in Academic Affairs. My gratitude goes to everyone who has served on the numerous provost search committees over the past several years. Your diligence and care in identifying high-quality provost candidates is to be commended, and we appreciate your service.

After the successful completion of a nationwide search, I am pleased to share that Dr. Steve Perez has accepted our offer for Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sacramento State, effective Sept. 23, 2019.

Since joining the Hornet Family in 2001 as an Assistant Professor of Economics, Dr. Perez has served Sacramento State in multiple leadership capacities, including Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs since November 2018.

During his tenure as Interim Provost, Dr. Perez led the completion of a new Strategic Plan for the Division of Academic Affairs that ultimately will be integrated with the division’s assessment and budgeting processes. The Academic Affairs plan will be an important element in forming Sacramento State’s upcoming University strategic plan. Dr. Perez also oversaw multiple leadership transitions, including naming three Interim Vice Provosts, one Dean, and two Interim Deans, as well as the selection of several Associate Deans. Alongside his colleagues in Academic Affairs, Dr. Perez has created an energetic and compassionate leadership team that is poised to make a significant impact on the campus.

Under Dr. Perez’s leadership in Academic Affairs, the University has seen impressive results in every metric of student success, including graduation rates, retention rates, and the number of students successfully completing 30 units in their first year. Student success is a campus-wide imperative, and with Dr. Perez’s leadership, the Division of Academic Affairs has worked to foster an environment that promotes positive energy and student success.

Prior to becoming Interim Provost, Dr. Perez served as Vice Provost from January 2016 through November 2018 as well as Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration from January 2016 through January 2017. Dr. Perez also served Sacramento State as NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative from 2009 to 2018, as Interim Department Chair for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, as Assistant to the President for Special Projects, and as Department Chair for Economics.

Without hesitation, Dr. Perez has energetically agreed to step up and step in to various leadership roles when the University needed him. I am grateful for his service and look forward to our continued work together. Dr. Perez has been a trustworthy, thoughtful, and dependable leader at Sacramento State. He has been involved in every step as we have transformed the way we view and support student success, faculty development, and engagement with the community.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Steve Perez in the permanent role of Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

The holiday schedule for the 2019-20 year

Sept. 18, 2019 - It is hard to believe that we are already in the fourth week of classes at Sacramento State. I know that many people are excited to learn when campus will be closed for holidays. The holiday schedule for the remainder of the academic year is listed below:

Monday, Nov. 11:
Campus is closed in observance of Veterans Day.

Thursday, Nov. 28:
Campus closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day.

Friday, Nov. 29:
Campus is closed. While it is an academic holiday for Academic Year (AY) faculty and other AY Unit 3 employees, this year it is not a paid holiday for staff, management, and Unit 3 employees holding 12-month appointments. Employees and managers may use a vacation or personal holiday to cover the day. Employees who choose to work that day should contact their appropriate manager for further direction.

Tuesday, Dec. 24:
Campus is closed (anticipated total of up to 8 hours tentatively gifted from the Governor and President Nelsen)

Wednesday, Dec. 25 – Wednesday, Jan. 1:
Campus is closed in observance of Christmas Day, Admission Day, Indigenous Peoples’ Day, Lincoln’s Birthday, Washington’s Birthday, and New Year’s Day. The campus will reopen Thursday, January 2, 2020.

Monday, Jan. 20:
Campus is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Tuesday, March 31:
Campus is closed in observance of Cesar Chavez’s birthday.

Monday, May 25:
Campus is closed in observance of Memorial Day.

State budget offers boost in General Fund for CSU

Sept. 17, 2019 - In late July, Gov. Gavin Newsom released his 2019-20 budget. Overall, the California State University system will see an ongoing increase of almost $333 million in its General Fund.

For 2019-20, the CSU system received approximately:

  • $332.8 million in permanent General Fund appropriation
    • $45 million for graduation initiatives (requested $75 million
    • $147.8 million for compensation increase
    • $85 million for enrollment growth (2.7%
    • $45.2 million for mandatory cost increases (benefits
    • $9.8 million for other costs
      • $6.5 million for emergency housing (still being held centrall
      • $3.3 million for Project Rebound (still being held centrally)

The CSU system budget office projects a net increase of $46.2 million from tuition due to enrollment growth for a total increase of $379 million in ongoing funds. Additionally, the CSU system received $68 million in one-time funding for the Graduation Initiative, year 2 enrollment, and enrollment for the Mathematics and Science Teacher Initiative.We are very pleased that the CSU system budget fully funds the much-deserved raises that faculty and staff are receiving as well as the cost of benefits. Funding the benefits for CSU employees is a huge win — since 2014, the retirement benefits for new employees beyond the 2013-14 salary levels were not funded, and we had to allocate the funds locally from our own ongoing budgets.

On Aug. 12, following the advice of the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC), the President’s Cabinet finalized Sacramento State’s budget. Thanks to the legislative support, Sacramento State is not preparing for a deficit in 2019-20. The campus’s 2019-20 budget is projected to be $356,947,737 (including state appropriations and anticipated student fee revenue), an increase of roughly $23 million from 2018-19. The budget will support a 2.7 percent increase in FTEs, or 23,771 resident FTEs and 543 non-resident FTEs for a total of 24,314 FTES. A total of $9.35 million of the budget was allocated for the collective bargaining agreement’s compensation increases, faculty promotions, and staff reclassifications, and $3.94 million was allocated for benefits (mandatory costs). A total of $1.1 million was allocated for the operation and maintenance of new buildings such as the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, and per the recommendations of UBAC, approximately $1.1 million was added to All University Expenses, $3.9 million to divisional baseline increases, and $2.7 million to the Graduation Initiative (for hiring faculty). We have added $483,000 to the University’s baseline reserves to help prepare for potential recessionary reductions in the future. Finally, $5.5 million in one-time funding was awarded to Academic Affairs to pay for additional course sections

A summary of the University’s final budget for the 2019-20 General Operating Fund is provided here. The baseline allocations to each division are as follows:

  • Public Affairs and Advocacy: $528,107
  • Athletics: $4,985,094
  • University Advancement: $4,048,074
  • Office of President: $3,726,489 (including University Communications, Graduation Ceremonies, University Initiatives and Student Success, and the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning)
  • Office of Inclusive Excellence: $963,642
  • Student Affairs: $13,634,354
  • Information Research and Technology: $8,644,222
  • Administration and Business Affairs: $21,213,452 (including the merging of Human Resources’ budget into ABA’s budget)
  • Academic Affairs: $115,199,360

Administration and Business Affairs did not request and did not receive additional funding this year beyond mandatory costs and compensation increases.

It is important to note that in the prior fiscal year (2018-19), Sacramento State transferred more than $18 million in funding for the completion of the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex, which significantly reduced the level of the University’s reserves. With this past year’s budget, we were only able to allocate $597,742 for ongoing reserves. As such, we will be working this year to increase the University’s baseline reserves and limiting one-time funds for projects for 2019-20.

On Sept. 13, the President’s Cabinet met and decided to allocate $1 million for equity raises – $500,000 for faculty and $500,000 for staff. Each division will be contributing, as appropriate, to this equity pool. Once plans have been developed, we will disseminate the information.

As always, I would like to extend my gratitude to UBAC for its attentiveness and dedication to the budget recommendations, especially regarding All University Expenses. We are fortunate to have UBAC’s guidance in this laborious process. Also, I am grateful for the work of the Budget Office and of Stacy Hayano, who will be retiring this year. Thank you, Stacy. I am confident that this budget will enable us to continue our progress over the next year as we meet our students’ needs and provide them with an excellent education. Stingers Up!

As a Hornet family, we care for and watch out for one another

Sept. 11, 2019 - As a Hornet Family, we care for and watch out for one another. At this point in the semester, it is not uncommon for students to feel stressed and overwhelmed. If you are concerned about someone’s immediate behavior or believe the situation constitutes an emergency, call the Sacramento State Police Department at (916) 278-6000. The Police Department is always available, including nights and weekends.

For less-urgent concerns or to get advice on what to do in a specific student situation, please contact the Dean of Students Office at (916) 278-4056 during regular business hours. Staff in that office are available to talk through the situation with you and help you with the appropriate actions.

Another great resource is the California State University Red Folder with information with assisting students in distress. The Red Folder is an electronic resource to help faculty and staff identify, respond to, and refer students in distress to the appropriate campus services. A Red Folder icon should be on your desktop.

If you have questions about this resource, Ron Lutz, Ph.D., Clinical Director of Counseling, is available to answer questions for faculty and staff. He can be reached at (916) 278-7358 or lutzr@csus.edu.

For students, Student Health and Counseling Services is available to support you. If you are in immediate crisis, please call 911 or the Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-TALK (8255).

For faculty and staff, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is available 24/7 to provide professional assistance. Please contact (800) 367-7474 or mylifematters.com (password: SacState)

Campus community invited to remember 9/11

Sept. 10, 2019 - I invite the campus to gather on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 a.m. to remember the events and the ongoing impact of 9/11 with a flag ceremony hosted by members of the Sacramento State Air Force ROTC. The gathering will be at the flagpoles by the bus stop at the J Street entrance to campus.

It is difficult to believe that 18 years have passed since we witnessed one of the most tragic events in American history. I hope that we all will take time this week to remember those who were lost, the bravery of the first responders who rushed toward certain death while trying to rescue people, and those who stayed working on the ground afterward – and who now face serious health issues. We also must honor the sacrifices and service of the members of our armed forces who have served in subsequent military actions.

Those who were lost will never be forgotten. They will live on in the collective memory and heart of our nation.

We support students, staff, and faculty impacted by undocumented status

Sept. 5, 2019 - Today marks the two-year anniversary of President Trump’s rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA previously offered young people who came to the United States without documentation a chance to pursue their dreams. It changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of individuals, including students, staff, faculty, and alumni of Sacramento State.

I have supported DACA from the beginning because it is common-sense policy that protects the well-being of young immigrants. The program also strengthens the fabric of this country. Yet the uncertainty surrounding DACA and immigration policy more broadly continues to cause fear and distress for many of our students. As such, I want to reaffirm Sac State’s commitment to supporting students, staff, and faculty impacted by undocumented status.

Since the rescission of DACA, the program has maintained significant support across the political spectrum. Unfortunately, Congress failed to reach a bipartisan solution to find a positive and permanent outcome for DACA students. Furthermore, both the constitutionality of the program and President Trump’s ability to end it have repeatedly been debated in federal courts. Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to take up DACA, and oral arguments will be heard in November, with a ruling expected next spring. While the fate of the program is uncertain, the Department of Homeland Security is still processing renewal applications. This includes individuals whose DACA status previously expired, but unfortunately, initial applications are no longer accepted.

I urge those who have DACA, or whose DACA previously expired, to consult an immigration attorney right away to determine when to renew and to explore other options for status adjustment. Please take advantage of the free immigration clinic offered through The Dreamer Resource Center (DRC) on campus. Free immigration legal services will begin Sept. 13, and new state funding will provide expanded services to students and employees. You can make an appointment to see an attorney through the DRC. You also can find information on renewal policies and resources through the links below:

On Friday, Sept. 6, the DRC will host an Open House from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Riverview Hall Conference Room. I encourage you to attend to learn more about resources available on campus and in the community, and to support our undocumented students and students from immigrant backgrounds.

In addition, on Oct. 22, Sacramento State will take part in the I Stand with Immigrants Day of Action to show support for Dreamers and immigrants. The DRC, in collaboration with our Centers for Diversity and Inclusion, will host a policy briefing on DACA and other pertinent immigration policies at the Global Lounge from noon to 2 p.m. The centers also will produce a “Sac State Stands with Immigrants” video in which individuals can express their support for immigrants. I encourage members of the Hornet Family to participate in the video. Messages of support will be recorded on Sept. 23, Sept. 24, and Sept. 25 at the DRC, and you can sign up for a recording slot here.

Sacramento State is dedicated to protecting all members of the campus community and to promoting an environment where everyone feels safe reporting a crime or otherwise cooperating with Sacramento State Police regardless of immigration status. This includes fear of intervention by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).

Earlier this year, the Faculty Senate adopted a policy to protect undocumented individuals and to address possible ICE activity on campus. Among other things, the policy ensures that Sacramento State will not enter into agreements with ICE or any other local or federal agency for the enforcement of immigration law unless required by law. Additionally, procedures will be put in place to prepare for any event of immigration enforcement on campus. Educational materials and palm cards currently are under development and will be shared with the campus as soon as they are complete.

To our Dreamers, our undocumented students, our students with mixed-status families, and all members of the campus community from immigrant backgrounds – we support you. You are an important part of the Hornet Family. We will continue to stand with you and to advocate for your rights.

We mourn the passing of Jackie Morris-Henderson

Aug. 27, 2019 - My heart is broken to share that a longtime member of the Hornet Family, Jackie Morris-Henderson, passed away at her home early yesterday morning. Jackie gave more than 30 years to Sacramento State, and she will be dearly missed by all of us who knew her. Our hearts go out to her family and friends, and to her husband, Donald Henderson, during this difficult time.

Jackie began her tenure at Sacramento State as a student employee before graduating in 1987 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. She went on to earn her Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies in 1992. She completed her Master's of Science in Human Resources and Organizational Development in 1999 at the University of San Francisco.

She worked in numerous departments across campus, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid, Outreach and Retention, and University Advancement. She began her University Advancement tenure in University Development and later moved to oversee the stewardship of scholarship funds. She was passionate about the opportunities created by scholarships and the role they could play in supporting the next generation of students. She loved her work and took great pride in her role.

One of Jackie’s greatest achievements was the establishment of the Black Alumni Chapter (BAC) at Sacramento State. When she learned that there was significant disengagement among Black alumni, she founded the chapter to bring a greater sense of belonging and connectedness to the community. She served as staff liaison for six years, then as chapter president for four years. She planned social events including the Sports Banquet bringing together former student athletes, established the Soul Food Supper held in February, and developed the Student Welcome held in September. Jackie’s support and leadership guided the BAC to become one of the most vibrant and active alumni chapters at Sacramento State. Our students will benefit for generations to come from Jackie’s work to create a positive and active alumni organization.

Jackie was an energetic member of the Sacramento community and served with numerous groups and committees to better the lives of those around her. A small sample of her involvement includes the Cultural Advisory Council for the California State Fair; the California State Fair Scholarship Committee; the Graduate Diversity Scholarship Committee; the Project Rebound Program Committee; the National Association of Professional Women; the Honors Program Scholarship Committee; the Black Alumni Chapter (BAC); the Martin Luther King Jr. Center Task Force; the Campus Educational Equity Committee; and the Cooper Woodson College Campus Graduation/Celebration Committee.

Jackie was a highly active and enthusiastic member of the Hornet Family representing the University at everything from fundraisers to tailgates to Commencement. We will remember her for her boisterous laughter, ever-present smile, vivacious spirit, and relentless commitment to our students and alumni. She brought joy to everything she was involved in. Her work at Sacramento State will stand as a testament to her love for this University. In recognition of her service, Jackie was selected to receive a Distinguished Alumni Award this year. We will go forward with recognizing her at the event in September.

We will be holding a celebration of Jackie Morris-Henderson’s life at the Harper Alumni Center in the coming weeks. Details on the event and a scholarship in her memory will be forthcoming.

If you are an employee in need of assistance during this difficult time, please contact the Employee Assistance Program at 1-800-367-7474 or at mylifematters.com (password: SacState). For students, Student Health and Counseling Services is available to support you. If you are in immediate crisis, please call 911 or the Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Celebrate a new era of Hornet Athletics

Aug. 21, 2019 - I am excited for the start of a new academic year and a new season of Hornet Athletics. Last spring, Coach Troy Taylor joined the Hornet Family as Head Football Coach. He is the right coach for Sacramento State, and he is here to lead the Hornets to victory on and off the field.

To celebrate a new era for Hornet Athletics, I invite you and your friends and family to join us this Saturday, Aug. 24, at Hornet Stadium for the first Sacramento State College Football Kickoff Party. This is a free event open to the public from 6 to 9 p.m. There will be food, entertainment in the Kid’s Corner, and the opportunity to meet and talk with Coach Taylor, the football staff, and our Hornet football team.

The football team will kick off the season at 6 p.m. Aug. 31 at Hornet Stadium. You can find the full schedule for all our athletic events here. I hope to see you out there supporting our student athletes. Stingers up!

Sarah Billingsley will be joining our office for the fall semester

Aug. 13, 2019 - This past year has seen significant transitions in the Office of the President. Chief of Staff Lisa Cardoza was appointed as Interim Vice President over two divisions, then accepted the permanent role of Vice President for University Advancement in July. Dr. Bill DeGraffenreid stepped in to support our office during her absence but has since been appointed Interim Vice Provost.

As we progressed through the hiring process for a permanent Chief of Staff, it became evident that additional support would be needed before the search is completed. I am pleased to share that Sarah Billingsley will be joining our office for the fall semester as a Special Assistant to the Office of the President, effective Aug. 14, 2019.

Sarah has worked since 2014 in the College of Continuing Education as the Marketing Communications Director. She brings years of experience in communications, project management, and marketing. She has worked with stakeholders across campus on a variety of projects, including ProjectAttain! Before joining Sacramento State, she was a Communications and Media Manager at the Public Health Institute, a Communications Director for Hanzlik Media Management, and an advertising director for Sacramento News & Review. Sarah earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts at Sacramento State. She is currently working toward a doctorate in Educational Leadership in the College of Education with an expected graduation date of May 2020.

I am grateful to CCE Dean Jenni Murphy for lending Sarah to us during this critical time. Please join me in welcoming her to the President’s Office. I am looking forward to working with her over the next semester.

Come hang out with the Hornet Family

Aug. 6, 2019 - I hope that you will come hang out with your Hornet Family at some of the exciting community events that we have coming up this month.

On Wednesday night, Sac State will be the presenting partner at the Sacramento Republic FC game at Papa Murphy’s Park. It is also Paint the Park night, kicking off the citywide Wide Open Walls mural festival. Ten artists, including two of our alumni (Phillip Altstatt and Madelyne Joan Templeton), will be participating. I hope you will go out to support them. The public will have a chance to vote on their favorite works.

Gates will open at 6:30 p.m.; kickoff is at 8. Discounted tickets for Sac State students, alumni, and employees are available. Be sure to wear your Sac State gear.

The Wide Open Walls festival runs from Aug. 8-18, and I am pleased to share that Sacramento State is participating again. Last year, we had the privilege of opening the festival with the Sacramento Mural on the side of Shasta Hall. This year, we will host three artists – Jillian Evelyn, Eliseo Art Silva, and Douglas Hoekzema, aka Hoxxoh – who will be painting on Lassen Hall, Brighton Hall, and the south wall of the Studio Theatre, respectively.

Gather Oak Park is on Thursday, Aug. 8, and Gather Movies at the Fort (at Sutter’s Fort) is on Saturday, Aug. 10. A Sacramento State “power hour” will take place from 6 to 7 p.m. at each event.

Finally, on Aug. 24 at 6 p.m., Hornet Athletics will host a College Football Kickoff Party at Hornet Stadium. The event is free for the entire family and is a chance for you to meet the coaches and players.

I invite you to join us for these exciting events as we get ready for the start of another academic year at Sacramento State. Stingers Up!

We must come together to end the violence

Aug. 5, 2019 - We have all been through a week of terror, culminating in the horrific mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio, where a brother killed his own sister while indiscriminately murdering people who only wanted to enjoy a night out with friends. The horrific attacks in Gilroy and in El Paso, Texas, personally touched our Hornet Family. We had members of our Family at the Garlic Festival – co-workers and students who so very easily could have lost their lives. In El Paso, one of our Hornets lost her grandfather in that Walmart, and his wife, her grandmother, is in the hospital in critical condition.

Now I find myself wondering how we will all survive this senseless violence that seems to be erupting everywhere in our country.

These despicable acts are fueled by hate. In both Gilroy and El Paso, the shootings were clearly rooted in bigotry, racism, and white nationalism. Our democracy cannot and will not survive if we continue to tolerate bigots, racists, or white nationalists, or if we continue to accept gun violence as a normal part of American life. We have to acknowledge that this problem is an American problem – it is our problem.

Universities exist for the public good. They exist to make our democracy strong. We are committed to making Sacramento State a caring campus. As a University, we must come together to end the violence. We must actively oppose domestic terrorism. We must educate new generations of leaders who will not tolerate bigotry or racism, who will make policies and pass laws that will keep America safe.

Personally, I will be exercising my democratic right and duty to contact my elected representatives to demand change. Everyone has the right to be safe, whether at home, in a restaurant, at a store, at a nightclub, at a house of worship, or at a school or university.

Obviously, many people are in pain. Sacramento State has counseling available for students through Student Health and Counseling Services at The WELL. They can be reached at (916) 278-6461. Employees can contact Empathia at (800) 367-7474.

Lisa Cardoza is next Vice President for University Advancement

June 20, 2019 - I am pleased to announce that after a nationwide search, Dr. Lisa Cardoza has accepted our offer to become Vice President for University Advancement, effective July 1, 2019.

Dr. Cardoza has served as Administrator-in-Charge since February and also was Interim Vice President for University Advancement in 2017. She has been a member of the Hornet Family since August 2015, when she joined my office as Chief of Staff. I have had the privilege of working with Dr. Cardoza for almost a decade, and I am incredibly proud that she has accepted this new role.

Prior to Sacramento State, Dr. Cardoza served concurrently as Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations at the newly established University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, and Chief of Staff and Governmental Relations Officer at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). She worked in several roles at UTPA starting in 2004 and was active in community relations.

In her role as Chief of Staff at Sacramento State, Dr. Cardoza has been instrumental in the transformation of the University. She is dedicated to meeting the needs of our campus community. Most recently, Dr. Cardoza has been serving as Interim Vice President for Human Resources and has managed that division’s transition to the Division of Administration and Business Affairs. She has proved herself to be adaptable, engaged, and fully committed to the success of her team.

As Vice President for University Advancement, she will bring experience in managing effective teams and improving processes, as well as incredible institutional knowledge to support the division’s fundraising efforts. Dr. Cardoza has built critical relationships across the campus and the community, and I look forward to working with her to build our philanthropic capacity.

Please join me in congratulating Dr. Cardoza on her new position.

I am devastated that this promising life has been lost to violence

June 20, 2019 - I am deeply saddened to share that one of our alumni, Tara O’Sullivan, was killed in the line of duty on Wednesday evening. Tara, a Sacramento Police Officer, was responding to a domestic violence call when she was fatally shot by a gunman in North Sacramento. She was only 26 years old. I am devastated that this young and promising life has been lost to such violence.

Sacramento State and was in the first class to graduate from that program in 2017. She is remembered as one of the brightest scholars in LECS and as a highly active leader. Tara graduated from Sacramento State in December 2017 with a Bachelor of Arts in Child Development. She loved the San Francisco Giants and was excited to start her career in law enforcement.

Tara began her formal training with the Sacramento Police Department Academy in July 2018 and graduated in December 2018. Since January, she has served with the Sacramento Police Department.

Our hearts go out to Tara’s family, friends, classmates, and fellow officers. This exceptional young officer will be remembered by the Hornet Family for her intelligence, commitment to public service, and bravery.

I am honored to award Monaè Williams the President's Medal

May 14, 2019 - Each spring, I have the privilege of awarding the President’s Medal to one of the recipients of our Dean’s Awards. The Dean’s 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 incredible candidates is always very hard – and this year, it was especially difficult.

I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Dean’s Awardees Jessica Ferreira (Arts and Letters), Gervilyn Mae Cadimas (Business Administration), Ceallach A. Vigil (Education), Parker Difuntorum (Engineering and Computer Science), Taylor Arthur (Health and Human Services), Ashley N. Fagundes (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), and Monaè Williams (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 Monaè Williams from the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies to receive the President’s Medal. She is a psychology major who is known among her faculty for her work ethic, diligence, intellect, and kindness. She takes nothing for granted and is a deep believer in continual learning and self-improvement.

Monaè is exceptionally active on and off campus. She is part of Sacramento State’s Leadership Initiative, a program aimed at developing leadership skills, campus life, and diversity. In that capacity, she has helped promote mental health services at The WELL and volunteered at Sacramento State’s blood drive, ultimately earning Green and Gold certificates for her leadership activities. She was also the Community Liaison and Service Coordinator for the Golden Key International Honor Society at Sacramento State. She has dedicated extensive time to developing service projects such as food donations to the ASI Food Pantry and a workshop that prepared students for post-graduation work or graduate school by helping them develop academic, leadership, and service profiles. Off campus, her years of service to both Black Women United and the Sacramento Food Bank and Family Services have been especially impactful.

The Hornet Family has thousands of stories of persistent and dedicated students who are determined to get an education. I am honored to award Monaè Williams the President’s Medal, and I know that she will continue to make us proud.

I wish a happy Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim community

May 10, 2019 - Many members of our campus community are currently observing Ramadan and participating in a month of fasting, prayer, and reflection. Our commencement ceremonies May 17-19 at Golden 1 Center will occur during this period. In recognition of the observance, Golden 1 Center will allow attendees to bring in their own dates for those who will be breaking their fast during the ceremonies.

Water will be available for graduates in the tunnel, faculty and staff will have access to water in the lounges, and guests can buy water from Golden 1 Center or use the water fountains.

I wish a happy Ramadan Kareem to our Muslim community during this important time of spiritual reflection and worship.

We have expanded the use of preferred and chosen names at Sac State

May 7, 2019 - I am pleased to share that we have expanded the process and ability to use preferred and chosen names at Sacramento State. We recognize that many individuals use a name other than their primary (or legal) name for a variety of personal, cultural, or other reasons.

Individuals may begin using a preferred name for University-related purposes by logging into My Sac State and using either their Student Center or Employee Center. If an individual does not use a preferred name, no action is necessary, and the individual’s primary name will continue to be used for all University-related purposes.

For additional information regarding the use of preferred names, please go to Use of Preferred Name FAQs. If individuals have further questions, please contact the Division of Inclusive Excellence at diversity@csus.edu.

My thanks go out to the faculty, staff, and administrators across campus who worked together to improve this critical function to better serve the needs of our campus community.

Diana Tate Vermeire promoted to Vice President for Inclusive Excellence

May 1, 2019 - I am pleased to announce that effective today, Diana Tate Vermeire, Executive Director for Inclusive Excellence, has been promoted to serve as Vice President for Inclusive Excellence. Diana came to the campus from the ACLU of Northern California in 2017. In her short tenure at Sacramento State, she has made a significant impact on our diversity, inclusion, and equity efforts. In the coming year, she will add additional positions to her division to support this critical work. I hope that anyone on campus who is interested in joining the team will consider applying.

The Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) will now be joining the Division of Inclusive Excellence. This decision was made as part of the careful review of the current structures and the decision to merge Human Resources with the Division of Administration and Business Affairs. I believe that the role of OEO to ensure equal opportunity on campus and to create an educational and working environment that is free from harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and sexual violence is critical to the work of the Division of Inclusive Excellence.

I am incredibly proud of Diana and her work, and I look forward to what she will accomplish as Vice President. Please join me in congratulating her on her elevated role. I hope that we can continue the important work of inclusion and equity together. Stingers Up!

The MMR vaccine is safe and effective in preventing measles, mumps...

May 1, 2019 - There have been five confirmed cases of measles in Los Angeles County and two confirmed cases in Sacramento County. The outbreak in Southern California has affected university students and employees at UCLA and CSU Los Angeles. Although no cases have been confirmed at Sacramento State, we want to ensure that all members of our campus community understand how to protect themselves against this preventable and potentially life-threatening disease.

The most important action you can take is to ensure that you are fully immunized with two doses of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine. The recommendation of a second dose was not made until 1989, so many adults born before that year have received only one dose. The MMR vaccine is safe and effective in preventing measles, mumps, and rubella. Those who are unable to locate written verification of two doses of measles immunization can receive one dose right away and a second dose in four weeks. Immunity also can be verified through a blood test.

All students who have questions about their vaccination status should contact their doctor and/or check their status in the Sacramento State Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) patient portal to verify that two doses of MMR vaccine are recorded. If records are not available, a blood test for immunity is available through SHCS. The MMR vaccine is covered under your health insurance plan or is available for a fee at Student Health and Counseling Services.

All faculty and staff should contact their doctor’s office to verify their vaccination status and to obtain a copy of their immunization records.

Common symptoms associated with measles include fever, cough, runny nose, red and watery eyes, and a rash that usually appears 10 to 21 days after exposure.

Anyone who develops measles symptoms should contact their doctor or the Student Health Center by phone before visiting so measures can be taken to prevent possible exposure to others in the waiting areas. It also is important to tell the health center if you have traveled internationally, have had international visitors in the past 21 days, or have had exposure to another person with measles.

For more information, visit https://www.cdc.gov/measles/index.html.

In the event of a measles case diagnosis, public health officials may subject anyone who has been exposed to a quarantine of up to 21 days from the date of exposure. You will need proof of the MMR vaccination or immunity in the event that the local public health department issues quarantine orders to anyone who has been in contact with a known measles case.

Measles remains a common disease in many parts of the world. Anyone who is not immunized against measles is at risk of getting infected when traveling internationally. Please take care of your health and help prevent the spread of this highly contagious disease.

We are not immune from hate and bigotry in our universities

April 29, 2019 - It is horrifying that in the short week since the tragic acts of terrorism in Sri Lanka, we have experienced two hate-fueled acts of violence in California. In Sunnyvale, one of our alums drove his car into a crowd of people, injuring eight. What at first seemed like a tragic accident now appears to have been carried out intentionally because he believed the people he was targeting were Muslim. On Saturday, one life was ended and several other members of the Jewish community were injured when they were targeted by a gunman while marking the end of Passover at the Chabad of Poway synagogue in the San Diego area.

These targeted attacks on people of faith affect all of us and undermine our communities. No one should have to live in fear because of their religious or cultural beliefs. At Sacramento State, we live by the tenets of the Hornet Honor Code. I ask that all of you review the Code and work to promote an inclusive campus and community; listen and respect each other’s thoughts, interests, and views; and engage daily with mutual trust, care, and integrity.

These tragedies feel closer to home than ever, as the Sunnyvale injuries were caused by a Sacramento State alum and the violence in Poway was at the hands of a CSU San Marcos student. We are not immune from hate and bigotry in our universities, but we can stand together against these unfathomable actions that do not reflect our values. We may not be able to stop horrific events in Sri Lanka, Orlando, New Zealand, Charleston, or Pittsburgh, but we can commit to making our campus a more welcoming and safe place, a place where everyone feels included. My heart goes out to the communities that are hurting because of these unimaginable acts of violence.

We are grieving the loss of hundreds in Sri Lanka

April 21, 2019 - While Easter Sunday should be a day of hope, love, community, and faith, we at Sacramento State find ourselves grieving the loss of hundreds of Christians and others in Sri Lanka to suspected terrorist bombings. My heart goes out to those hurting in the wake of this horrific tragedy, and I am deeply saddened that violence against communities of faith around the world seems unending.

We are more alike than we are different, and I hope that we can come together to build a world where we respect one another’s beliefs and love one another regardless of our differences. Jody and I share in the mourning around the world today and condemn this persistent hate and intolerance. I wish peace and love to the many faiths who are worshipping this weekend.

We must learn from the past and refute hate and bigotry on our campus

April 18, 2019 - On Wednesday afternoon, I received an email with a photo of a light pole on campus, on which someone had spray-painted the word “Jew.” We do not know how many days the graffiti had been there, and we do not know who wrote it. I am thankful to the student who brought this to our attention and is following one of the tenets of our Hornet Honor Code: “Engage daily with mutual trust, care, and integrity.”

While I usually feel that it is important not to give people or groups attention for graffiti or hateful messages, I feel compelled to do so now, as we are in a holy and sacred time for so many on our campus. We are a splintered nation, but we cannot be a splintered Hornet Family. We must come together. So many have suffered in this nation and around the world due to hate. We must learn from the past and refute hate and bigotry on our campus and in our community.

I am heartbroken over the loss of this young man

April 12, 2019 - I am devastated to share the extremely sad news that one of our students, Will Molina, died after a pellet gun shooting at an off-campus gathering early this morning. Will was a business major with an emphasis in entrepreneurship. He graduated from Folsom High School, was an active member of Pi Kappa Alpha, and was on track to graduate from Sacramento State this May.

I am heartbroken over the loss of this young man, and I know that the Hornet Family mourns with Will’s family. We will have grief counseling services available for everyone who needs support during this difficult time, and we will share information as it is available.

Our hearts go out to Will’s friends and family, and we are working with family on arrangements to honor his memory.

I hope that you will consider joining us for this important conversation

April 8, 2019 - In response to a resolution from Associated Students, Inc., and requests from the Black Student Union and other student groups, I am very pleased to announce that in partnership with the Office of Inclusive Excellence, we will hold a convening on the Black and African American student experience at Sacramento State on Wednesday, April 24, from 8 to 11 a.m. in the Carlsen Center in Library 1520.

The event will be focused on Black and African American student voices and experiences, and we welcome all members of the campus community to engage in productive discussions to identify possible solutions and/or actions.

We especially hope that Black and African American students are able to attend to speak candidly about their time at Sacramento State and how the University can provide the support and resources that they need to succeed.

We understand that the end of the semester is a busy time for students, and we encourage students to prioritize their academic success. For students who are unable to participate in the convening but who want to engage on the topics being discussed, they can reach out to the Executive Director of Inclusive Excellence, Diana Tate Vermeire, at diversity@csus.edu to set up a meeting or discuss other ways to engage.

To prepare for the convening, we ask that individuals who would like to attend register by Monday, April 15. I hope that you will consider joining us for this important conversation as we work to become a more inclusive campus that better serves our students.

Share your perspective and feedback on campus climate

April 3, 2019 - In spring 2018, Sacramento State administered a campus climate survey to faculty, staff, and administrators seeking to better understand their perceptions and experiences with respect to the overall campus climate. The survey results as well as additional feedback from the campus community will be used to create an action plan.

We hope you will join us this Thursday, April 4, from noon to 1 p.m. in University Union Ballroom III to hear the highlights of the 2018 Sacramento State Campus Climate Survey and to learn more about ways you can provide feedback to the University.

In the interest of creating meaningful dialogue among participants, we hope that you will consider joining in a small-group discussion hosted by the Office of Inclusive Excellence and facilitated by the College of Continuing Education. We have designed multiple small-group discussions from which to choose. We encourage you to choose the session that offers you the best opportunity to share your feedback. Each session is an hour long, and space is limited based on room size. Information about dates and times for the group discussions is available here. We request that interested individuals register by 5 p.m. April 19 to ensure a place in the discussion.

Individuals may also provide feedback by:

  • Submitting feedback anonymously online, or
  • Sending an email to the Office of Inclusive Excellence at diversity@csus.edu. (Please use the subject line “2018 Sacramento State Climate Survey.”)

I encourage you to share your perspective and feedback so that Sacramento State can take specific actions toward becoming a more inclusive campus.

Together, we can be the difference in creating a suicide-safer community

April 2, 2019 - Did you know that suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, claiming 1,100 lives each year? Yet half of students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counseling or treatment (Active Minds, 2018).

On Monday, April 8, from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. in the Library Quad, Sacramento State will host the Active Minds “Send Silence Packing” exhibit in collaboration with Student Health and Counseling Services and Sac State’s Active Minds Chapter. The goal of “Send Silence Packing,” a traveling public education display of more than 1,000 backpacks, is to end silence around suicide and connect visitors to resources and support. Many of the backpacks have been donated in memory of loved ones who have died by suicide. We invite the campus community to visit the display, promote a positive dialogue about mental health on college campuses, and raise awareness about mental health and suicide prevention.

Following the exhibit, our Active Minds Chapter, in collaboration with Student Health and Counseling Services and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), is proud to host the eighth annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk, taking place on the WELL Lawn on Thursday, April 11, at 5:30 p.m. A Resource Fair will precede the walk, beginning at 4 p.m.

This is a call for all students, organizations, departments, faculty, staff, and community members to come together as Hornets not only to 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 that no student ever feels alone or afraid to seek services. Together, we can bring the terrible numbers down and be the difference in creating a suicide safer community.

Register for free at the following link: Sac State Out of the Darkness Walk 2019.

For more information or any questions, please email Lara Falkenstein, lara.falkenstein@csus.edu. I hope to see you on April 8 – and Stingers Up!

The Muslim community is our community

March 16, 2019 - Today we learned that a 50th person has died in the mosque massacres in Christchurch, New Zealand. This tragedy is hard to fathom — indeed, it is quite impossible to understand. As I shared on Twitter yesterday, everyone — our Muslim students, everyone — is welcomed and honored at Sacramento State. We are a Hornet Family.

We have confirmed that no Sacramento State students are currently studying in New Zealand. As this tragedy continues to develop, we have been reaching out to our Muslim students and to the Muslim community to see how we can help heal this terrible wound and find a way forward without more hatred and violence.

hese attacks are part of a pattern of horrifying violence by white supremacists. We must not tolerate anti-Muslim rhetoric, let alone the murder of innocent worshippers. The Muslim community is our community, and I grieve with them for this tremendous and horrific loss.

Human Resources will join administration and business affairs

March 12, 2019 - After much deliberation, and in consultation with my President’s Cabinet, I am pleased to announce that the Division of Human Resources will be joining forces with the Division of Administration and Business Affairs as a single unit. After Vice President Christine Lovely left Human Resources last fall for another position, we began discussions on organizational structure, and we determined that merging the divisions would be beneficial to the University.

The two divisions have numerous operational and procedural functions that can be better aligned when they are functioning as one. In lieu of a Vice President for Human Resources, we soon will post a search for a Senior Associate Vice President for Human Resources to lead operations. The position will report directly to Vice President Jonathan Bowman. I believe that Human Resources will get much-needed support and resources as part of a larger division.

I would like to thank everyone in Human Resources and in Administration and Business Affairs for their collaboration and teamwork as we contemplated this decision. I am well aware that Human Resources is joining a division with an impressive history of collaboration, teamwork, and service to campus. Human Resources has operated as an incredibly lean division, and I believe that the entire campus will benefit from this move.

I want to thank Interim Vice President Lisa Cardoza, who stepped in to provide leadership to Human Resources during this transition. She will remain in the role until the new Senior Associate Vice President is hired, at which point the merger with Administration and Business Affairs will be official.

As the Human Resources team is working diligently to minimize disruption, I hope that you will be patient and understanding during this transition.

Registration for Commencement 2019 is now available online

March 7, 2019 - I am happy to announce that registration for Commencement 2019 at Golden 1 Center is now available online; the deadline to claim guest tickets is April 4. Students who are eligible to graduate have been granted access to register and claim up to eight guest tickets through their Student Center. Tickets are required for guests to attend Commencement ceremonies. Tickets are free of charge, unique to each college ceremony, and valid only at the Commencement ceremony listed on the ticket. Graduates do not need tickets for themselves, and children under age 3 who will sit on a guardian’s lap during the ceremony do not require a ticket.

A step-by-step guide is available for the process of claiming guest tickets. I encourage you to visit the Commencement Tickets page for more details. At this time, we are not able to offer extra tickets. If extra tickets are available, we will post information on the Commencement Tickets page after April 24.

Students wishing to participate who do not have an eligible graduation term of Fall 2018, Spring 2019, or Summer 2019 are required to submit a request for Commencement Participation. For detailed information on the request process, visit the Participation Requests page.

For students using a preferred or chosen name, that information can be updated in their Student Center. Graduate names will be pulled directly from their Student Center. During Commencement registration, students will have the option of selecting which name they prefer to have read aloud and which name they would like displayed on the screen during the ceremony.

Once students have completed the process of updating the preferred name, they must log back in through their Student Center to the Commencement ticketing and registration system to ensure that the name change has been captured. Names must be updated and selected prior to the registration deadline of April 4 for eligible graduates. Names entered into the preferred names field in the Student Center will be pulled for use in the Commencement program and will override any other name in the system.

To better serve our graduates and their guests, this year we will be providing live-captioning at Golden 1 Center during the ceremonies. Graduates who need additional accommodations due to a disability should contact their college with their name, phone number, email address, and the requested accommodation(s). For best assurance of accommodation requests being met, please let your college coordinator know at least two weeks before the event. Guests who require additional accommodations due to a disability can visit Golden 1 Center’s ADA/Accessibility information webpage. If you have questions regarding ADA-related accommodations for guests, please contact guestservices@kings.com.

I want to congratulate all our upcoming graduates, and I look forward to seeing you at Golden 1 Center in May. You can view the full schedule on our Commencement website, and FAQs are available for faculty, staff, and students. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SacStateGrad on all your graduation pictures and posts to be featured on our social media feed at Commencement!

Stingers Up!

I ask that we treat one another with empathy and kindness

March 3, 2019 - This weekend has been emotional and difficult for many since the announcement by the Sacramento County District Attorney. Starting Monday, we will have healing spaces for those who would like to join together in the Multi-Cultural Center and in the Martin Luther King Jr. Center. I hope to see many of you at the Town Hall gathering tomorrow at 9 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom, featuring performances by our students and alumni addressing Stephon Clark’s death. (See message below for more on the Town Hall.)

In the coming weeks and months, we will be developing programming to bring people together in an effort to create change as well as healing and understanding. I ask that, as the Hornet Family, we treat one another with empathy and kindness as we work through this painful time facing our city.

I also hope that you will consider attending two upcoming events centered on issues of race and social justice. Dr. Manuel Barajas and the Task Force for the Center on Race, Immigration, and Social Justice will host a display on Wednesday, March 6, from noon to 4 p.m. in the Library Art Gallery: "Neo-Colonialism and Resistance: Indigenous Communities on the Move." On Thursday, March 7, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. in the University Union Ballroom, the History Department is hosting a lecture, “Million Dollar Hoods: Mapping the Cost of Mass Incarceration,” by UCLA Professor Kelly Lytle Hernandez.

Many in our community are hurting, and I ask that we come together to support one another and listen.

We will set aside space for the Hornet Family to support one another

Feb. 28, 2019 - Nearly a year ago, Stephon Clark was killed by Sacramento police officers. We expect an announcement soon from District Attorney Anne Marie Schubert regarding whether charges will be filed against the officers involved. Stephon was a young man who was a father, son, brother, and friend. Along with so many, I mourn the tragic loss of his young life, and our hearts go out to his family and friends and the Sacramento community.

Our campus is not immune from racism, bigotry, violence, fear, and hate. We talk about being a Hornet Family, but I know that too many of you do not feel welcome or a part of our campus community. I have heard you through the campus climate survey, on social media, in our centers and classrooms, and in the quads. We are committed to creating a safe, inclusive, and welcoming campus for everyone, but we have work to do to achieve those goals. In the coming year, we will be planning spaces to continue difficult conversations about race, justice, violence, policing, and healing.

On Monday, March 4, we had planned to hold a Town Hall to answer questions that were submitted in January by the campus community. I no longer feel that this format is an appropriate use of that time. Instead, I want to invite you to join me at 9 a.m. for coffee and conversation, followed by some special student performances at 10 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom. Our students have created deeply meaningful and powerful performances, many of which relate to the death of Stephon Clark. I hope that you will come and support them and hear their messages. These pieces may include stories of trauma that are difficult to hear, and counselors will be available during and after the event.

When the decision in the Stephon Clark matter is announced, we will have space set aside for members of the Hornet Family to gather, talk, and support one another. Counseling services will be available. I hope to see you on Monday and at other upcoming events on campus.

All MPP employees will be required to volunteer for Commencement

Jan. 28, 2019 - As many of you know, we made the difficult decision to eliminate winter graduation ceremonies after December 2017. To accommodate the addition of winter graduates at our spring ceremonies, we will be holding ceremonies on Sunday in addition to the usual Friday and Saturday.

So many of you have volunteered in the past to make these celebrations successful. We are extremely grateful for your service. This year, to ensure the best experience for our students and their guests, we will need 480 volunteers to fill shifts across the three days of ceremonies. In consultation with my Cabinet, we have made the difficult decision that all Management Personnel Plan (MPP) employees will be required to volunteer for at least one shift. We encourage you to consider signing up for more than one shift if you are able to do so.

You can sign up to volunteer and designate your shift preferences. I encourage you to sign up as soon as possible because shifts will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, and they will fill quickly. MPPs who already are required to work or attend the ceremonies as part of their job duties (such as University Communications, the platform party, Creative Services, and college administrators) will not be required to sign up for additional volunteer shifts.

We understand that there are MPPs who already have commitments that weekend and will not be able to volunteer this year. If you have a prior commitment, please send a memo to the Vice President of your division stating why you are unable to attend Commencement.

Thank you again for your commitment to our students and for giving your time to make their day truly special. Commencement is our most public event and one of the most important days in the lives of our students. I appreciate the sacrifices that all of you make to ensure that our students and their families have the best graduation possible. I look forward to seeing you at Golden 1 Center this May.

We are pleased to release results of the campus climate survey

Jan. 28, 2019 - We are pleased to release the results of the campus climate survey administered to faculty, staff, and administrators in Spring 2018. The results can be found on the Office of Inclusive Excellence’s Campus Climate Surveys webpage.

During summer and Fall 2018, the Office of Inclusive Excellence and the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning collaborated to produce a report on the climate survey, based on raw data received from Viewfinder.

I encourage all of you – as members of our campus community – to review the results of the survey and provide feedback on how we can make our campus more inclusive and welcoming. On the Campus Climate Survey webpage, you will find several options for providing feedback online and in person. In addition, a campus forum has been planned for Thursday, April 4, 2019, from noon to 1 p.m. in the Hinde Auditorium. This forum will allow individuals to provide feedback and ask questions.

The forum discussion as well as other feedback will be reviewed by campus leadership and will be used to develop a campus accountability plan to be used for implementing actions to address areas of improvement identified by the survey results and the campus community. Thank you for taking the time to provide feedback on the survey and for reviewing the results. The survey results will be used to make Sacramento State a more inclusive and welcoming place for the Hornet Family. I hope to see you at the campus forum. Stingers Up!

We will hold a question-and-answer forum on Jan. 17, 2019

Dec. 14, 2018 - Since I became President of Sacramento State, I have delivered a formal Spring Address each year to the faculty, staff, and students. This year, in consultation with leaders of the Faculty Senate, the University Staff Assembly, and Associated Students, Inc., we have decided to change the format so that we can be more responsive to the Hornet Family. Instead of a formal address, we will hold a town hall-type question-and-answer forum on Jan. 17, 2019, from 9 to 10 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom.

Our desire is to be inclusive. Hence, I am asking that faculty, staff, and students submit questions in advance that they would like to have answered by me and the University leadership during the forum.

If you wish to submit a question, please do so by Friday, Jan. 11. The leadership from the Faculty Senate, the University Staff Assembly, and Associated Students, Inc., will review and select the questions to be discussed during the forum. While we may not be able to answer all submitted questions due to time constraints, I will personally review each submission in order to understand the aspirations, dreams, and concerns of the Hornet Family. Any names or emails shared on the submission form will be kept confidential.

I hope that you will join us at the forum, and I look forward to coffee and conversation at 10 a.m., following the event. I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year, and I will see you in 2019. Stingers Up!

We need to support those who lost so much

Dec. 4, 2018 - The rain has come, and the Camp Fire is out. Now more than ever, we need to support those who lost so much. We will be collecting gift cards in any amount until Friday, Dec. 14. We recommend gift cards from places like Walmart, Target, Home Depot, Lowe’s, local supermarkets, and other stores where people can easily get basic supplies. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover prepaid gift cards also are encouraged. You can drop off gift cards at the following locations:

  • President’s Office, Sacramento Hall 206
  • ASI offices, Sequoia Hall 311
  • Division of Criminal Justice, Alpine Hall 137
  • Bursar’s Office, Lassen Hall 1001 and 1003
  • Staff and Faculty Holiday Luncheon, Dec. 6, University Union Ballroom

I am incredibly proud of all that the Hornet Family is doing to support our friends and neighbors in Butte County. Thank you to everyone who has given. I wish you a joyous holiday season and a relaxing winter break.

I look forward to exciting ceremonies at Golden 1 Center

Nov. 30, 2018 - I am pleased to announce that we will hold our 2019 Spring Commencement ceremonies May 17-19, 2019, at Golden 1 Center. We are excited that we will be able to celebrate graduation with our students, their friends, and their families at this incredible venue.

As part of our decision to hold a single set of ceremonies each year in May, we are preparing for our largest graduation ever. To accommodate the increase in graduates, ceremonies will be held on Sunday in addition to Friday and Saturday. Please note that some colleges will have multiple ceremonies and that students will have to identify the time their program is participating.

Students will have access to eight guest tickets each. They will need to register for graduation and claim their guest tickets online in March 2019. Students who completed their degree requirements and are eligible for graduation in Fall 2018, Spring 2019, and Summer 2019 will walk in the May 2019 ceremonies. All other students wishing to participate will be required to submit a petition to their college. Petition information is available on the Commencement website.

Students must register for graduation to participate. In March 2019, eligible students will receive an email to indicate that the link in their Student Center is active in order to register and claim guest tickets.

I look forward to another set of exciting ceremonies at Golden 1 Center celebrating this wonderful accomplishment by our students. Stingers Up!

Thank you for supporting the people of Butte County

Nov. 28, 2018 - The outpouring of support and concern from the Hornet Family for the people affected by the Camp Fire has been astounding. It is clear that we are committed to supporting the people of Butte County – and that many members of our campus community are actively seeking opportunities to help.

In collaboration with Associated Students, Inc., the California Faculty Association, the California State University Employees Union, the Faculty Senate, colleges, faculty, students, and staff across campus, we have determined some ways that the Hornet Family can directly help those in need.

1. Campus labor unions will be collecting items in the Library Quad on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 10-10:30 a.m. Please bring only the following unused items:

  • Tarps
  • Diapers (sizes 4, 5, and 6 only)
  • Socks (all sizes – must be new)
  • Underwear (all sizes – must be new)

You also can drop these items off at the Staff and Faculty Holiday Luncheon on Thursday, Dec. 6, from noon to 1:30 p.m. outside the University Union Ballroom. Representatives will be on site to collect the specific items above. Please do not bring other used or unlisted items. We also will be collecting new toys for local foster youth at this event.

2. Gift cards are a big need for people staying in shelters and for those who have lost their homes. We will be collecting gift cards in any amount until Friday, Dec. 14. We recommend gift cards for places like Walmart, Target, Home Depot/Lowe’s, local grocery stores, and other businesses where people can easily get basic supplies. Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover prepaid gift cards also are encouraged. You can drop off gift cards at the following locations:

  • President’s Office, Sacramento Hall 206
  • ASI Government offices, Sequoia Hall 311
  • Division of Criminal Justice, Alpine Hall 137
  • Bursar’s Office, Lassen Hall 1001 and 1003
  • Staff and Faculty Holiday Luncheon, Dec. 6, University Union Ballroom
  • Any performance of Buried Child or University Dance Company: Dance Sites Fall 2018

Also, you can contribute directly to Chico State through the Wildcats Rise Fire Recovery Fund or find families in direct need through the Paradise Adopt a Family effort.

Our hearts go out to our neighbors in Butte County, and I want to thank everyone in the Hornet Family for their willingness to support them. It will take these communities years to establish any sense of normalcy or recovery, and I hope that each one of us can find a way to support those in need this holiday season and beyond.

Jonathan Bowman has accepted the position of ABA Vice President

Nov. 28, 2018 - I am happy to announce that Jonathan Bowman has accepted the position of Vice President of the Division of Administration and Business Affairs and CFO. He will begin in late January 2019.

Mr. Bowman comes to us from the California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), where he has served since 2005 as a Business Administration Manager. He has more than 25 years of experience in financial, administrative, personnel, operational, and facility management. His diverse management experiences, knowledge of organizational change, and entrepreneurial background will be critical as we look to the future of Sacramento State.

Mr. Bowman has a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of California, Davis, and a Master of Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He also holds an Executive Training Certificate from the University of California, Los Angeles, Anderson School of Management. He began his career by founding MacByte Computer Consultants in 1988. From 1991 to 2005, he worked for McMaster-Carr Supply Co. in the finance, warehouse, and sales departments. In 2005, he began at JPL as the Business Administration Manager for the System Verification, Validation, and Operations Section, and he currently is the Business Administration Manager for the Instruments Division. During his time at JPL, he has worked alongside and managed academic, technical, and administrative employees and students. He has provided fiscal oversight of a $300 million budget and operational oversight of 550 employees, including safety, business operations, facilities management, financial planning, personnel training, policy, strategic planning, and human resources.

I am excited that Mr. Bowman is joining the Hornet Family, and I hope that everyone welcomes him when he starts in January. My gratitude and thanks goes to Stacy Hayano for her outstanding leadership of the division. Stacy has now served twice as the Interim CFO and Vice President for the Division of Administration and Business Affairs, and I am thankful that she has been able to lead the division forward while maintaining the progress that the Division made under Mike Lee’s tenure. I would also like to thank the search committee whose diligence and dedication brought us highly qualified individuals to consider for this position, culminating in Mr. Bowman’s appointment.

Our students, faculty, and staff showed the meaning of Hornet Family

Nov. 26, 2018 - The past two weeks have been unprecedented in the history of California. The loss of life and property associated with the Camp Fire is truly horrifying. We hold everyone who has been impacted by the wildfires across the state close to our hearts. The efforts of our campus community to find ways to help during this crisis show what a caring campus Sacramento State truly is. I am incredibly proud of our students, faculty, and staff for showing the true meaning of “Hornet Family.”

These weeks also have been unprecedented in the history of Sacramento State. Closing a campus is always a difficult decision. Providing a high-quality educational experience is our top priority, and canceling classes and closing services significantly impact our ability to achieve that mission. In the past, I have made decisions to close campuses due to direct threats from natural disasters, but facing a non-acute situation like poor air quality was complex. While testing of the air inside buildings with proper circulation demonstrated an acceptable quality for work, the amount of time people must be outdoors to travel between buildings and parking facilities weighed heavily on us. With the health and safety of the Hornet Family in mind, we concluded that we could not remain open.

As we enter the final three weeks of the semester, faculty and students will need to refocus their efforts. I understand that the closure will affect a significant amount of course content, and that syllabi and schedules will need adjustment. I know this is not an easy task for our faculty, but I believe in them and their outstanding commitment to our students. In consultation with the Chair of the Faculty Senate, the Provost has suspended a part of the Last Week of Instruction Policy so that instructors can allow assignments not originally listed in the syllabus to be submitted during Week 15.

Finals must still be given during Finals Week. We have shifted deadlines (such as those for withdrawing from classes), and we have lifted advising holds to allow students who may not have had the chance to meet with their advisors to register for classes on time. We all owe thanks and appreciation to our faculty and academic leadership who are putting in significant work to finish the semester strong for our students.

I know that many staff are starting today feeling overwhelmed and behind in their work. I ask for flexibility and kindness as people endeavor to catch up. Overcoming the loss of the past two weeks will be a challenge for everyone on campus, but if we all commit to open and clear communication and a bit of patience, we will finish successfully. I encourage everyone to review the FAQs for guidance.

I want to thank the members of the Critical Response Team who were called in and worked long days to make decisions about the closure and how to handle matters that arose as a result. Their diligent and thoughtful work has mitigated many potential problems. My deepest gratitude goes out to the staff and management who came in to ensure that critical operations like communications, public safety, payroll, paycheck distribution, transcripts, housing, student health services, and facilities management continued without disruption.

As students and faculty return to normalcy, we will be assessing our response to this crisis to ensure that if and when a situation like this happens again, we are better prepared and can do an even better job of responding. I know the past two weeks have been frustrating for many, but I appreciate your patience and understanding as we work together to navigate this unexpected closure.

In the coming week, we will be sharing information on how we can more directly support those affected by the Camp Fire and the first responders who have worked so tirelessly. Butte County remains in our hearts, and the Hornet Family will continue our commitment to supporting them during the long road of healing and recovery ahead.

I wish you all the best during the final weeks of the semester – and Stingers Up!

We have decided to keep the campus closed through Thanksgiving

Nov. 18, 2018 - We have made the difficult decision to keep campus closed through the Thanksgiving holiday. We had hoped to reopen on Monday, Nov. 19, but with the forecast showing ongoing unhealthy air quality, we believe that it is in the best interest of Hornet Family to continue to encourage people to stay home and to stay indoors.

A very limited number of personnel will be asked to perform essential functions such as payroll, police services, transcript distribution, etc. Please do not report to campus unless a manager specifically contacts you and asks you to report to campus. As previously announced, classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 26. Environmental Health and Safety will continue to monitor the air quality both indoors and outdoors.

For staff: As noted, some essential functions of the University will need to occur this week so that, for example, people will get paid on time and so that students can register and apply to graduate schools. Necessary personnel will be notified by their managers if they need to report to work during the closure. Please be reminded that Friday, Nov. 23, is not a campus holiday. By then, the smoke from the Camp Fire is expected to have dissipated. For those of you who are planning not to take a vacation day or personal leave on Nov. 23 and, instead, to come to work, please notify your manager no later than 5 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19.

For faculty: There will be no classes nor any assignments due until Monday, Nov. 26. Faculty may not assign work or require students to submit assignments during the suspension. We encourage faculty to use this time to adjust their coursework and prepare for the final two weeks of class.

For students: There will be no classes or assignments due or assigned until Monday, Nov. 26. Contact your faculty if you have questions about specific coursework. Students employed on campus should not report to work. Students scheduled to work the week of Nov. 19-Nov. 21 will be paid for their missed shifts. The residence halls and the Courtyard Market will be open. Student Health and Counseling Services will be available for patients with urgent medical or mental health needs between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Pharmacy services also will be available during these hours. Please call Student Health and Counseling Services with any questions or concerns at (916) 278-6461. More information about the availability of student services (registration, financial aid, transcripts, etc.) will be forthcoming from the Division of Student Affairs later today. The AIRC and the University Library will be open again on Saturday, Nov. 24.

The recent fires have been some of the most devastating in our state's history. Communities have been destroyed, and countless people in California are suffering greatly. In this time of thanksgiving, I hope that the Hornet Family will come together to support the affected communities. As an Anchor University, let’s find ways to reach out and help contribute to their recovery. I wish you a safe and enjoyable break, and I look forward to seeing everyone back on campus on Monday, Nov. 26.

All classes will be suspended until Monday, Nov. 26.

Nov. 16, 2018 - As you know, due to the poor air quality, many of our students have lost a week of instruction. To allow faculty to re-engineer their courses so that they can provide an excellent education for the final two weeks of the semester, all classes will be suspended until Monday, Nov. 26. The University will be closed on Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 17 and Nov. 18, but is scheduled to reopen on Monday, Nov. 19, for normal operations. We will continue to monitor the air quality over the weekend, and as conditions evolve, we will evaluate and communicate with campus about any potential changes or closures.

For students: There will be no classes or assignments due or assigned until Monday, Nov. 26. Contact your faculty if you have questions about specific coursework. Students employed on campus should plan to report for their regular shifts starting Monday, Nov. 19. Students scheduled to work the week of Nov. 19 should contact their supervisors if they wish to change their schedule.

For faculty: There will be no classes or assignments until Monday, Nov. 26. Faculty may not assign work or require students to submit assignments during the suspension. We encourage faculty to use this time to adjust their coursework and prepare for the final two weeks of class. If campus is open as scheduled on Monday, Nov. 19, faculty may resume their non-teaching duties.

For staff and administrators: Campus will be open on Monday, Nov. 19, unless otherwise notified, and employees will be expected to report to work as scheduled. Buildings and offices will be open.

This decision was difficult, to say the least, but after considering input from the deans, we felt that it was the best decision for our campus community at this time. We know that the uncertainty has been challenging for faculty, staff, and students, and we hope that the ongoing suspension of classes will allow the faculty time to organize and prepare for the end of the semester. We ask that everyone be as flexible as possible as we recover from the closure, and the region from the effects of the Camp Fire. We all must act with patience and a generosity of spirit as we navigate reopening. Please continue to check the FAQs on the University's home page for additional details.

Sacramento State will remain closed Friday, Nov. 16, 2018

Nov. 15, 2018 - Sacramento State will remain closed Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, due to continued poor air quality related to the Camp Fire. All classes, events, work, and activities are canceled. We are continually updating our FAQs about the closure and encourage you to check them frequently. Essential personnel will be notified by their managers if they need to report to work.

We are monitoring air quality and will keep the campus updated. We hope to open over the weekend, but additional information will be forthcoming on Friday regarding ongoing closures, athletic events (including the Causeway Classic football game), and Saturday and Sunday classes.

Sacramento State employees who do not have direct deposit for the mid-month pay date of Nov. 15, 2018, can pick up their checks Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, at Sacramento Hall (first floor main entrance) between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. We encourage all employees to sign up for direct deposit. ASI employees can pick up checks at the Child Development Center between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. You must have identification to pick up your check.

We understand the frustration and concern about closing the campus for an additional day, but we believe that it is in the best interest of the campus community.

For updates, check your email and our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We encourage you to sign up for the Emergency Notification System if you have not already done so.

Sac State will remain closed Thursday, Nov. 15

Nov. 14, 2018 - Sacramento State will remain closed Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, due to continued poor air quality related to the Camp Fire. All classes, events, work, and activities are canceled. FAQs about the closure can be found on the University's home page. Essential personnel will be notified by their managers if they need to report to work during the closure.

The situation remains dynamic with a constantly changing air quality forecast. Still, we are very concerned about the loss of another class day and its impact on our faculty and students. After significant discussion, members of the campus-wide Critical Response Team made the decision to close the campus on Thursday to protect the health of our Hornet Family.

For students, the date to drop fall semester classes has been extended to Wednesday, Nov. 21. Please check the academic calendar for all deadlines.

We also understand that closing campus impacts payroll check distribution for employees who do not have direct deposit for the mid-month pay date of Nov. 15, 2018. To ensure that individuals who need to pick up their checks are able to do so, checks will be available on Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, at Sacramento Hall (first floor main entrance) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. You must have identification.

e will continue to monitor conditions and update the campus as information becomes available. We are planning to reopen campus on Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, for normal operations.

We recommend frequently checking your email and our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We encourage you to sign up for the Emergency Notification Systemif you have not already done so in order to receive critical campus updates.

Sac State will remain closed Wednesday, Nov. 14

Nov. 13, 2018 - Sacramento State will remain closed Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, due to poor air quality related to the Camp Fire. All classes, events, work, and activities are canceled. Most buildings, including Modoc Hall, Napa Hall, Folsom Hall, the AIRC, the University Library, the ASI Children’s Center, The WELL (except the health center), the Hornet Bookstore, the University Union, and Sacramento State Downtown, will remain closed. The residence halls, the Dining Commons, and the Courtyard Market are the only spaces that will remain open.

FAQs about the closure can be found on the University home page. Essential personnel will be notified by their managers if they need to report to work during the closure.

We will continue to monitor the region’s air quality and update the campus as information becomes available. We are currently planning to reopen campus Thursday, Nov. 15, 2018, for normal operations.

The health and safety of our Hornet Family are critical, and we will continue to assess conditions on a regular basis and in consideration of our educational mission. The decision to close the campus has been extremely difficult, due to the negative impact on the academic success of our students whose classes have been canceled. Sacramento State is a special place where we have made significant progress in transforming the lives of our students. We do not want to lose our momentum, and we are working to reestablish normalcy.

We recommend frequently checking your email and our website, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for the latest information. We encourage you to sign up for the Emergency Notification System if you have not already done so in order to receive urgent campus updates.

We have decided to close campus on Tuesday, Nov. 13

Nov. 12, 2018 - We have decided to close campus and Sacramento State Downtown on Tuesday, Nov. 13, due to poor air quality as a result of smoke from the Camp Fire and at the recommendation of the Office for Environmental Health and Safety. We will continue to monitor air quality conditions and send information as it becomes available.

I encourage you to watch our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates. Emergency personnel who are required to be on campus as defined in their division’s Business Continuity Plan should report to work.

We are closely monitoring air quality as a result of the Camp Fire

Nov. 12, 2018 - I want to assure everyone that we are closely monitoring the air quality as a result of smoke from the Camp Fire. Campus is currently scheduled to be open tomorrow, Nov. 13, 2018. The Office for Environment, Health and Safety will continue to monitor the air quality tonight and throughout the duration of the fire, and will advise if the campus should be closed.

We recommend that you limit your time outdoors and that you avoid prolonged and heavy exertion. If you are concerned about your respiratory health, please contact your physician immediately. If you have respiratory issues, we recommend that you stay home until the air quality has improved. Please contact your manager or faculty member if you will be missing work or school due to the smoke. The City of Sacramento is providing free masks as long as they are available.

More information on protecting your health from wildfires is available from the Environmental Protection Agency. I encourage you to watch our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter for any updates.

Our hearts go out to everyone affected by the wildfires in California, and we will continue to support our California communities in every way that we can.

Our continued institutional commitment to service

Nov. 5, 2018 - Sacramento State is proud to be among the 361 universities that hold the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching Elective Community Engagement Classification. This distinction recognizes our commitment to teaching and scholarship that serves our community. We earned our initial Engagement Classification thanks to the outstanding work of our faculty, students, and staff in the community, and we are preparing to apply for reclassification in 2019.

The Reclassification Steering Committee is seeking to measure community engagement that involves any and all members of the Hornet Family. In order to gather data, I hope that you will complete this short survey, which you’ll find at https://csuscba.co1.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cJhwB1wEIC8dust, by Friday, Nov. 16.

Thank you for taking the time to complete the survey and for providing critical information that will allow us to document our continued institutional commitment to serving our community and our world. Stingers Up!

We must reject the intolerance that led to this loss of life

Oct. 27, 2018 - Our hearts are broken for all of those who were killed today in the horrific violence at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh. We stand in support of the Jewish community and the first responders who were tragically killed or wounded. I am appalled by this cowardly act of hate.

We must reject the intolerance, bigotry, and anti-Semitism that led to this loss of life. I am devastated that yet again, people peaceably gathering at their place of worship to pray, celebrate, and reflect have become the victims of a hate crime. No one should have to live in fear in their place of worship.

As a Hornet Family, we must work together to stop violence toward people based on their religion, beliefs, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, race, and identity. From Thursday, Nov. 1, through Saturday, Nov. 3, Sacramento State will be hosting the fifth International Conference on Genocide at the University Union. Today's demonstration of hate and violence reinforces why we must continue to study the history and causes of such violence. I hope that you will attend some of the open sessions of the conference so that we can all be allies in the struggle against hate.

We must reach out to support one another — particularly our Jewish community members — and refuse to condone the anti-Semitism and hate that led to this tragic loss of life.

Everyone deserves to live a life free of hate and bigotry

Oct. 23, 2018 - For the first time in the history of the program, students determined the One Book selection for this year and chose Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. The book is the story of Nicole Maines, who was assigned male at birth along with her twin brother but knew early on that she was a girl. We will welcome Nicole and her father to campus this Thursday. I encourage you to attend these events with an open heart so that we can all learn how to better support all members of the Hornet Family.

An estimated 1.4 million Americans identify as transgender. At Sacramento State, we support our transgender, gender non-conforming, and transgender/gender non-conforming communities by affirming their gender identities and using chosen names and pronouns, as we shared in our campus message last week.

California State University Executive Orders 1096 and 1097 explicitly prohibit discrimination and harassment based on “gender (or sex), gender identity (including transgender), and gender expression.” The California Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) also expressly protects “sex, gender, gender identity, gender expression ...” in Government Code Section 12940(a). Everyone deserves to live a life free of discrimination, harassment, hate, and bigotry.

You can support our LGBTQ+ community by becoming an ally and attending Safe Zone Training with the PRIDE Center. If you need support or mental health services, counseling is available through Student Health and Counseling Services in The WELL. We are a Hornet Family, and I ask that we each support and welcome all members of our campus community.

Every donation can save up to three lives

Oct. 22, 2018 - The 11th annual Causeway Classic Blood Drive will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today through Wednesday, Oct. 24, in the University Union Ballroom. Let’s work together to give back to the community and beat UC Davis this year!

Every donation can save up to three lives. I hope that everyone who can give will do so and that we can save lives while winning the Super Bowl of blood drives. You can continue giving to Vitalant (formerly BloodSource) through code L029 and contributing to our total after the drive on campus concludes. Stingers Up!

Recognizing and celebrating International Pronouns Day

Oct. 17, 2018 - As part of Sacramento State’s commitment to be a more inclusive campus, we continue working to recognize and celebrate the intersecting identities of all members of the Hornet Family.

Sacramento State is a proud endorser of International Pronouns Day recognized today, Oct. 17, 2018. In acknowledging the importance of International Pronouns Day, we seek to affirm human dignity by always referring to individuals by the pronouns they determine for themselves. To cement our commitment to this goal, Sacramento State has endorsed the following statement:

“We endorse International Pronouns Day, which seeks to make asking, sharing, and respecting personal pronouns commonplace. Referring to people by the pronouns they determine for themselves is basic to human dignity. Being referred to by the wrong pronouns particularly affects transgender and gender nonconforming people. Together, we can transform society to celebrate people’s multiple, intersecting identities. We encourage colleges, schools, workplaces, and local organizations to hold educational and empowering events on International Pronouns Day.”

In recognizing the significance of today, we also want to highlight the upcoming One Book Day (Oct. 25) and this year’s selection, Becoming Nicole: The Transformation of an American Family. Becoming Nicole is the story of Nicole Maines, who was assigned male at birth along with her twin brother but knew early on that she was a girl.

Sacramento State is hosting a variety of events focused on the book, including an interview with Nicole and her father, a library exhibit, and an In-Queer-Y Panel. All One Book Day events are free and open to the public. Free parking passes for the public are generously provided by UTAPs for the evening event. I hope that you will join us for these events and in welcoming the Maines family to our campus.

We cannot be an inclusive and safe space for our campus community until we all recognize the importance of using correct pronouns and chosen names. I hope that you will join me in the effort to recognize and celebrate International Pronouns Day so that the entire Hornet Family feels welcome and respected at Sacramento State. Stingers Up!

Voting is the cornerstone of our democracy

Oct. 15, 2018 - Sacramento State is deeply committed to the civic engagement of our students, and I am proud that Associated Students, Inc., has made participation in this year’s election a priority for the student body.

The simple act of voting is the cornerstone of our democracy. Nov. 6, 2018, marks an important election as Californians will vote for governor, U.S. senator, congressional representatives, and legislators, as well as on a number of state propositions.

In order to vote, one must be registered to vote by midnight Oct. 22. In California, one can register to vote online. To register to vote in California, you must be:

  • A U.S. citizen and a resident of California.
  • At least 18 years old on Election Day.
  • Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for a felony.
  • Not currently found by a court to be mentally incompetent to vote.

Sacramento State once again will have a Vote Center on campus at Modoc Hall. The Vote Center, operated by the County of Sacramento’s Department of Voter Registration and Elections, replaces the traditional Election Day-only polling place in Sacramento County. It will be open for the days prior to the election, including Election Day. Any registered voter in Sacramento County can vote there in person or drop off their ballot. The Vote Center’s schedule is:

  • Saturday, Nov. 3, through Monday, Nov. 5, open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • On Election Day (Tuesday, Nov. 6), open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Reserved parking is available on all days in front of Modoc Hall for those using the Vote Center.

The Vote Center is specially designated to also allow for “same day” conditional voter registration, where any Sacramento County resident can register and vote through Election Day. Additionally, any Sacramento County voter who lost or misplaced a ballot can get a replacement ballot at the Vote Center.

I hope you will consider voting in November’s election. For those wanting to learn more about the election and statewide propositions, you can visit the website of Sacramento State’s Project for an Informed Electorate, where a great deal of useful information is available, including videos on individual propositions.

Sac State is contributing to a research project to serve adult learners

Oct. 8, 2018 - Sacramento State has been selected as one of 15 Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) contributing to a national research project to better serve adult students (25 years older). The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), in partnership with Excelencia in Education, launched the three-year project to improve outcomes for the growing population of adult Latinx students. Adult learners currently make up approximately 22% of Sacramento State’s undergraduate and 74% of our graduate student population. Fewer than one in four Latinx adults has a college degree, and this partnership is an important chance for us to move the needle nationwide.

Research begins in October with a campus-wide survey administered through the Office of Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning. Students over age 25, in addition to volunteer respondents (faculty, staff, and administrators) will receive an online survey intended to assess the needs of adult learners within the ten areas identified in a diagnostic assessment called the Adult Learner 360. The assessment data will compare perceptions of how well Latinx adult students are supported compared to non-Latinx adult students. Participation in the CAEL Adult Learner 360 Academy provides the opportunity to examine services to adult students and receive support with practices and/or policy that support improved outcomes in enrollment, persistence, and completion for adult Latinx students.

The institutional self-assessment will collect input from faculty, staff, and administrators who work with adult learners and have agreed to participate.

The initiative is made possible with funding from the Kresge Foundation, Great Lakes Guarantee Corporation, and Greater Texas Foundation. I hope that you will share your insights for this important research to better our support of our Latinx students. Stingers Up!

I am appointing Steve Perez to serve as Interim Provost

Oct. 3, 2018 - In consultation with the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate, I am appointing Vice Provost Steve Perez to serve as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs when Provost Ching-Hua Wang departs in November. We will commence a nationwide search for a new Provost later this semester.

Dr. Perez has served in numerous administrative positions over the past decade, including Vice Provost, Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative, Interim Department Chair for the Department of Kinesiology and Health Science, Assistant to the President for Special Projects, and Department Chair for Economics. Dr. Perez joined Sacramento State in 2001 as an Assistant Professor of Economics. In 2016, he stepped in as Interim Vice Provost during a tumultuous time for academic leadership and helped provide stability in planning, operations, budgeting, and organization for Academic Affairs.

I am confident that Dr. Perez will provide outstanding leadership to the Division of Academic Affairs, and I look forward to him joining my senior leadership team. In recognition of his increased responsibilities, Dr. Perez will step down as one of our Faculty Athletics Representatives. Dr. Maureen Smith will take on his duties as our sole Faculty Athletics Representative.

If you are interested in serving as Interim Vice Provost, please send a letter of interest and your CV to Cheryl Johnson at cjohnson@csus.edu by Oct. 19.

Provost Wang has accepted an offer from Samuel Merritt University

Sept. 28, 2018 - I am exceptionally proud to announce that Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Ching-Hua Wang has accepted an offer to join Samuel Merritt University as President in late November 2018. Dr. Wang arrived at Sacramento State in early 2017, and she has served as a valued and energetic member of the campus leadership. While her tenure with the Hornet Family has been too brief, I ask that you join me in congratulating her on this outstanding opportunity.

Under Dr. Wang’s leadership, Academic Affairs has increased class sections and the all-unit load, developed summer stipends to increase summer enrollment, established Student Success Centers in the colleges, increased international students and study-abroad participation, eliminated the achievement gap between Latinx and White students, reduced achievement gaps among other URMs, and promoted collaborations between Academic Affairs and other divisions on campus. They also hired 184 new tenure-track faculty, developed a 10-year Tenure Density Improvement Plan, revamped new-faculty orientation, and increased resources for the University through fundraising by deans and grants/contracts by faculty. I especially applaud Dr. Wang for her willingness to collaborate with all parties to lead the charge for academic excellence and student success.

Dr. Wang joined Sacramento State from Dominican University of California in San Rafael, where she was the Dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences since 2012. Before Dominican University, she was at California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI), where she was one of the 13 founding faculty members. Samuel Merritt University is a private, nonprofit health sciences institution on the Summit campus of the Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland with additional campuses in Sacramento and San Mateo. Samuel Merritt University is one of the largest sources of new registered nurses in California. It is also the largest provider of physical and occupational therapists, physician assistants, and podiatric physicians in the greater East Bay.

Although Dr. Wang was not seeking a presidency, Samuel Merritt easily identified her as the ideal candidate for the position. It is not difficult to understand why.

I regret that we did not have more time with Dr. Wang, but I am not surprised to see that she was recruited to a presidential position so soon in her tenure as a Provost. She has become a close friend and colleague, and I rely on her expertise and intellect for guidance. Anyone who has worked with Dr. Wang can attest to her energy, enthusiasm, and passion for education. She will be greatly missed by the Hornet Family, but she will do incredible things as President at Samuel Merritt University.

Sac State will host activities during Hunger and Homelessness Week

Sept. 25, 2018 - Sacramento State is dedicated to creating a culture of belonging, safety, and inclusion. Obtaining a college degree is challenging in the best of circumstances, but doing so while facing food insecurity, displacement, and a lack of basic needs is something no student should ever experience.

To help meet those needs, Sacramento State will host a variety of activities during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week from Nov. 10-19. The event offers an important opportunity for our students to have direct access to agencies in the community that provide assistance with housing and basic needs services.

So far, scheduled activities include CalFresh tabling, cooking demos for students on a budget, a basic needs resource fair, a lunch panel, and a tour of the sustainability/Capital Public Radio garden with a demo on urban and micro-gardening techniques to grow your own food.

This event cannot be successful without the participation of the Hornet Family. If you would like to volunteer or take a leadership role, or have ideas for additional events that fit within the mission of the awareness week, please contact Danielle Muñoz at danielle.munoz@csus.edu and Reuben Greenwald at reuben.greenwald@csus.edu.

Without resources to meet basic needs, a college education would be impossible for too many of our students. I look forward to the future as we work together to create a Sacramento State where no student goes hungry or experiences displacement.

We will continue to make inclusion a priority and celebrate diversity

Sept. 20, 2018 - I am pleased to see so much energy and activity filling our campus with the new semester underway. Over the next few months, our campus will see numerous speakers, lecturers, and guests who may elicit a wide array of feelings and reactions from members of our campus community. Some may be exciting while others will be controversial or even unwelcome. At Sacramento State, we will continue to make inclusion a priority and to celebrate our diverse community.

That celebration requires diversity in thought and belief. It is our responsibility as a democratic society to uphold the First Amendment and to ensure that freedom of speech is protected. We do not have to agree with, support, or like that speech, but we must allow individuals to speak on our campus when they follow the proper protocols for reserving space. It can be hard to understand why we must allow someone who shares a hateful message or belief onto our campus, but the University’s policy on Time, Place and Manner Restrictions on Speech and Speech-Related Activities is our guide.

I encourage you to participate in many of the exciting events we have planned for the semester, including the Green and Gold Speaker Series. I hope that you are having a successful start to the academic year. Stingers Up!

We have decided to move University Communications to President's Office

Sept. 13, 2018 - After much consideration, we have decided to move University Communications to report directly to the President’s Office, effective Thursday, Sept. 20.

University Communications’ primary function is to support the University as a whole with a focus on the five imperatives. Additionally, the communications team provides critical support in managing crises and high-profile issues that arise on campus. I believe that this move will align University Communications with the overarching expectations of its role and functions while allowing us to better focus the team’s time.

The team will continue to support University Advancement and Public Affairs and Advocacy as well as all the other divisions at the University. Jeannie Wong will continue to supervise the unit as the Senior Associate Vice President of University Communications and will serve on the President’s Cabinet.

I am thankful for all the amazing work that the University Communications team does to share Sacramento State’s stories with the world.

Sac State will host the Sacramento Opioid Awareness Summit

Sept. 11, 2018 - On Wednesday, Sept. 12, in the University Union, Sacramento State will have the privilege of hosting the Sacramento Opioid Awareness Summit, together with the Sacramento County Opioid Coalition. This all-day event will bring together healthcare professionals, treatment and prevention experts, educators, students, and law enforcement leaders to discuss the prevention, treatment, and enforcement efforts being undertaken to combat this growing public health crisis.

An important partner in the fight against the opioid crisis is our local law enforcement. You may notice an increased number of officers in uniform or law enforcement vehicles in the area during this summit. Please do not be alarmed by their presence — they will be part of the critical training that is much needed for the health and well-being of our community.

I hope that the summit is a success and a valuable learning experience for the attendees.

I thank you for your generous giving

Sept. 4, 2018 - I am proud to share that last year, the Hornet Family donated more than $63,000 to local charities through the Our Promise Campaign – more than any other CSU campus. I hope that this year, we can increase our donations and continue to be leaders in giving in the Sacramento community and in the state. Please join Jody and me in signing up for the Our Promise payroll deduction, showing Sac State’s support for this vibrant and beautiful region.

Last year, Hornet Don Nahhas’ charity Josh’s Heart was the top recipient of donations by the Hornet Family. Don works in Risk Management, and his son, Josh, passed away from liver failure. Josh’s parents, Don and Dawn, are raising money in his memory through Josh’s Heart to collect items to fill backpacks for homeless people in the area. The Our Promise Campaign allows you to contribute to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit. I will be writing in Josh’s Heart, Inc., with Tax ID #81-4248036 (Nonprofit Code/Org #187).

You also can give to the Hornet Family in other ways through the University Foundation at Sacramento State, which provides scholarships to our students. You can donate to the Foundation with Tax ID #94-3001359 (Nonprofit Code/Org #16016). To support Hornet Athletics, you can provide our student-athletes with scholarships, equipment, and better facilities through the Hornet Club with Tax ID #94-3001359. The President’s Circle (Tax ID #94-3001359) funds allow us to give directly to students to support the Student Emergency Fund, the ASI Food Pantry, study abroad, and other student experiences. I hope that you can find a cause that moves you to give.

From my heart to yours, I thank you for your generous giving, and I look forward to the continued impact the Hornet Family will make in our community. Stingers Up!

Our goal as an anchor university is to see true, lasting change

Aug. 30, 2018 - As many of you heard last week during my Fall Address, we have rebranded and remade our community engagement imperative as “Sacramento State becomes an Anchor University.” An Anchor University is the opposite of the ivory tower. We will be driven to make our community better through long-term solutions and improvements.

Our goal as an Anchor University is to see true, lasting change through civic engagement. We are committed to solving problems where our students live, and we can solve those problems through the arts, through business incubation, through tutoring, through school counseling, through community health services, and through economic development. We are committed to community and place, and Sacramento State will become a truly engaged university.

To achieve this goal, we must first establish a university-wide Anchor University Task Force. The first charge of this Task Force will be to inventory what service and engagement efforts are happening, not only at our University but also in the community. The second charge will be to perform a community needs assessment (including a community health needs assessment), which will include an economic leakage and impact survey.

The larger charge for this Task Force will be to establish a permanent Anchor Institution Committee with an appropriate and effective reporting structure that will develop a plan for, and will oversee, the long-term and short-term investments in our community. This committee also will make recommendations on potential programs and centers.

The Task Force will be open to anyone who wants to participate. If you are interested in joining, please send an email indicating what your interests are and where you currently work to pres-02@csus.edu. I look forward to the work we have ahead of us and the impact that we will make on the Sacramento Region. Stingers Up!

VP Christine Lovely will be greatly missed

Aug. 29, 2018 - It is with mixed feelings that I share that Vice President for Human Resources Christine Lovely has accepted a position with the University of California, Davis, as Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). Vice President Lovely joined Sacramento State in 2010 as University Counsel after 14 years as an attorney. In 2012, she transitioned to Vice President for Human Resources.

Her last day will be in October, and I am appointing Lisa Cardoza, Chief of Staff, to serve as Interim Vice President for Human Resources while we commence a search. Cely Smart will serve as Interim Chief of Staff in Lisa’s absence. Physics Department Chair Bill DeGraffenreid has generously agreed to step down as chair and join our office as Special Assistant to the Office of the President for the next year.

It has been my privilege to work alongside Vice President Lovely these past few years, and her advice and wealth of knowledge have been invaluable as a member of my senior leadership team. Her work to make Human Resources a more transparent and open division within Sacramento State is to be commended. She has moved the division in this direction by developing periodic Human Resources Spotlight meetings that brought together liaisons on campus, and her office recently created an HR newsletter (The Buzz on HR) that shares current HR projects and issues with the campus.

During her tenure, Human Resources established a Student Employment Office as well as an Organizational Effectiveness unit to lead the Professional Development and Training Office’s effort to establish a more robust onboarding process for new employees.

Vice President Lovely has been particularly active at Sacramento State and in the Sacramento community. She served on the board of the Greater Sacramento Urban League, supported the establishment of a Women in Higher Education leadership development program, participated as a mentor in the Cooper-Woodson College Enhancement Program, and provided fiscal oversight of the Black Faculty and Staff Association. Under her leadership, Human Resources also supported the Martin Luther King Jr. 50th Anniversary Celebration and Dreamer Resource Center events.

Christine has been an outstanding campus partner, and she will be greatly missed. I wish her the very best in this new adventure. The University of California, Davis, is lucky to have her.

I am proud of opening the doors of Sacramento State Downtown

Aug. 28, 2018 - I am pleased to announce that we have officially opened the doors of Sacramento State Downtown, celebrating this historic milestone with a grand opening earlier today.

Sacramento State Downtown is a hub for innovative teaching, learning, and research, fostering partnerships to address real-world issues and improve the quality of life in the Sacramento region. It is a place to learn, discuss, imagine, and redefine the possible, firmly cementing Sacramento State as California’s capital university. You can learn more at the new Sacramento State Downtown website. You also can follow developments and events on Twitter @SacStateDowntwn and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SacStateDowntown.

The three-story building has 30,610 square feet, 76 offices, four classrooms, and two training rooms with state-of-the-art technology. Valid Sacramento State parking permits are honored in the 304 S St. parking lot, but please note that parking is limited.

Each academic college has at least one office in the building, as do the Community Engagement Center and the Center for California Studies. The College of Continuing Education offers its Consensus and Collaboration Program (formerly the Center for Collaborative Policy) downtown; and the Institute for Social Research, which provides consulting services to public agencies and nonprofit organizations, has relocated to downtown.

Thank you to all of the divisions for your collaborative effort to launch this important location for Sacramento State. We are Sacramento’s university, and I am proud of the opportunities that now exist for the region in the heart of Sacramento. Stingers Up!

I am confident that this budget will enable us to continue our progress

Aug. 21, 2018 - In January 2018, the governor proposed an alarming budget in which the CSU System was to receive only $92.1 million in ongoing state appropriations (General Fund). The proposal created a funding shortfall that required the campus divisions to prepare for reductions of up to 3 percent, as presented in the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC) recommendation.

With the signing of the Budget Act of 2018, the budget picture improved, and the CSU System received approximately $197.3 million in ongoing state appropriations. The distribution of state appropriations was as follows:

  • $197,269,000 in ongoing baseline (state appropriations)
  • $75 million in graduation initiatives
  • $106,639,000 in compensation increases
  • $15,630,000 for mandatory cost increases (health care and operations/maintenance of new facilities)

At Sacramento State, the increased level of funding alleviated the need for divisions to implement the planned reductions. The campus’s share of the additional state appropriations totaled $14.1 million to address benefit and compensation increases as well as funding for graduation initiatives. The only reduction the campus received was in the State University Grants ($1,220,800) because the CSU System realigned the budget based on student financial need across the 23 campuses.

The campus’s 2018-19 budget is projected to be $334,903,037 (including $1.1 million for Education Insights) from the increased state appropriations plus the anticipated student fee revenue. The budget will support 23,077 resident FTES and 541 non-resident FTES for a total of 23,591 FTES.

A summary of the University’s final budget for the 2018-19 General Operating Fund is provided on our website.

I concur with UBAC’s recommendations for the allocation of All University Expenses. I also concur with the one-time funding with one exception. Since the state appropriated $1.8 million in one-time funds to support increased course sections, rather than dipping into reserves for $6 million for additional course sections, we will only use $4.2 million of the reserves and will supplement that amount with the additional $1.8 million in one-time funds.

I would like to extend my gratitude to UBAC for its attentiveness and dedication to the budget recommendations. We are fortunate to have UBAC’s guidance in this laborious process. I am confident that this budget will enable us to continue our progress forward over the next year – and Stingers Up!

Please join me Thursday, Aug. 23, for the President's Fall Address

Aug. 20, 2018 - Please join me Thursday, Aug. 23, in the University Union Ballroom for the President’s Fall Address, where I will be sharing my vision and goals for the coming year. Please note: The address will start promptly at 9 a.m., with refreshments served at 10 a.m. I look forward to seeing you there to kick off a new academic year here at Sacramento State. Stingers Up!!

The Finish in Four campaign has been a campus-wide success

Aug. 17, 2018 - I am extremely proud to announce that the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) has selected Sacramento State for the 2018 AASCU Excellence and Innovation Award for Student Success and College Completion. The Awards Committee chose our “Finish in Four – A Comprehensive Campaign for Improving Graduation Rates” program as an exemplary model for all universities.

The success of the Finish in Four campaign has been a campus-wide effort, and the recognition of the AASCU is a huge acknowledgment of that work. Thank you to all of you who have contributed to this campaign and who have dedicated their time and energy to supporting our students to ensure that they graduate on time. You are changing lives.

This is an exciting day for the Hornet Family, and I look forward to the recognition in October during the AASCU Annual Meeting. Stingers Up!

We are excited to host the Wide Open Walls Festival at Sac State

Aug. 8, 2018 - We are excited to host the Wide Open Walls Festival at Sacramento State. Twelve local artists will kick off the festival by creating a unique mural for our campus – 15-foot letters spelling out S-A-C-R-A-M-E-N-T-O on Shasta Hall’s west wall. We hope that this mural will become a public icon that will attract many visitors to our campus to have their pictures taken below the mural. The Wide Open Walls Festival runs Aug. 9-19, and the artists will begin their work on Aug. 9 with a 10 a.m. news conference.

Additionally, as part of the festival, Assistant Professor Peter Williams and seven Sac State students will be projecting electronic murals near Golden 1 Center downtown.

You can watch the progress of the Sacramento Mural at Sac State in person at Shasta Hall or follow updates at https://www.facebook.com/pg/sacstate/events/. I am proud that Sacramento State has been selected to be a part of the festival, and I look forward to the mural becoming an integral part of our campus. Stingers up!

We urge all DACA beneficiaries to renew as soon as possible

Aug. 3, 2018 - A court ruling on Wednesday, Aug. 8, could have significant implications for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The ruling could dramatically change the landscape for Dreamers nationwide, including DACA recipients, those who are applying to become DACA recipients, and other Dreamers, along with their families, educators, peers, and others.

We urge all of our students who are DACA beneficiaries - especially those whose DACA expires between now and Aug. 8, 2019 - to renew as soon as possible.

Below are several organizations that provide financial support with the DACA USCIS filing fee and other resources on and off campus for students:

The Dreamer Resource Center at Sacramento State will host the following events to provide emotional and legal support during this time:

Texas v. Nielsen Recap and Student Support Gathering, 8-10 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, at the River Front Center 1. Join students, staff and Dreamer Resource Center allies for a morning of resilience, community, and empowerment. A light breakfast will be served at 8 a.m., followed by a group meditation facilitated by Counseling & Psychological Services. We will close the morning with a recap/empowering dialogue beginning at 9 a.m. RSVP at august8viewing.eventbrite.com.

Dreamer Informational Convening, 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, in the University Union, Redwood Room, Sacramento State. Join legal experts, service providers, and Dreamer network leaders for a policy update, technical resources, and community support and empowerment in the wake of judicial decisions with potentially significant impacts on DACA. RSVP at dreamerinformationalconvening.eventbrite.com.

For more information contact, Rossmeri Ramirez at rossmeriramirez@csus.edu.

We are a Hornet Family and we support all of our students, their families, our faculty, staff, and anyone who may be impacted directly or indirectly by this ruling.

I have selected Margarita Kovalchuk to receive the President's Medal

May 15, 2018 - As President, I have the honor of selecting one of the recipients of the Dean’s Award to receive the President’s Medal. The Dean’s Award honors one outstanding student from each college who exemplifies academic excellence, community involvement, and engagement within his or her college and on campus. Many of these students have overcome incredible odds and heartbreaking experiences to earn their degree.

I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Dean’s Awardees Melissa Erin Brausch (Arts and Letters), Kendell Craycraft (Business Administration), Akiela Patrice Moses (Education), Margarita Kovalchuk (Engineering and Computer Science), Elena Lizeth Galvez (Health and Human Services), Rafael Ceja Ayala (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), and Eli Bassett (Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies). Each of these outstanding 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 Margarita Kovalchuk from the College of Engineering and Computer Science to receive the President’s Medal. Margarita is the daughter of religious refugees from the Soviet Union, and she began school as an English Language Learner. Through persistence and dedication, Margarita soon excelled in her studies. In high school, Margarita looked for potential college majors that would help people. She had never considered engineering, but at a Society of Women Engineers event, she learned how she could directly impact lives through engineering.

During her time at Sacramento State, Margarita has been active in the California Energy Commission, the Society of Women Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and numerous other educational outreach opportunities. She also has served as a President’s Ambassador. Margarita will be the first in her family to graduate from college. This Saturday, she will earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering and graduate Summa Cum Laude. Margarita soon will be headed to Stanford to begin working toward her master’s degree in civil and environmental engineering with a full scholarship from the National Science Foundation.

The Hornet Family has thousands of stories of persistent and dedicated students who are determined to get an education. I am honored to award Margarita Kovalchuk the President’s Medal, and I know that she will continue to make us proud as a member of the Hornet Family. She may go on to wear Cardinal Red, but she will always bleed green and gold.

We are trying to ensure that our campus is welcoming and inclusive

May 14, 2018 - This spring, Sacramento State conducted a climate survey for faculty, staff, and administrators to gain a better understanding about our current campus climate and to identify opportunities for improvement. Thank you to all who took the time to complete the survey.

We have begun to analyze the climate survey data to better understand the experiences and perspectives of respondents. Although on average respondents feel that the campus is fairly welcoming overall, it is clear that we have not achieved our goal of being an inclusive campus.

For example, 37 percent of respondents (or 340) either agreed or strongly agreed that “[o]ur campus is diverse, but not inclusive,” while 28 percent of respondents (or 262) either disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement. In addition, over one-third of respondents – i.e., 35 percent or 329 respondents – were undecided as to whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement.

This is only a small data point from the climate survey, but it is clear that a significant portion of respondents are undecided about whether we are inclusive.

Over the summer, we will continue to analyze the survey results and prepare a number of reports to better understand the perspectives of respondents. The goal is to release a comprehensive, University-wide report that examines questions related to campus climate, bias reporting, and campus safety. In addition, we will release reports for each college and division that examine the experiences of respondents, particularly with respect to climate and professional development and satisfaction.

As a Hornet Family, we are trying to examine our experiences and work intentionally to ensure that our campus is welcoming and inclusive. We all have work to do and are committed to doing it.

As a Hornet Family, we must come together to support one another

May 7, 2018 - We have been notified that on Tuesday, May 8, from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m., members of the Westboro Baptist Church from Topeka, Kansas, will be protesting on the perimeter of our campus in opposition to Sacramento State’s deep, steadfast support of our Pride Center and of our LGBTQIA+ community. We are a Hornet Family, and we are dedicated to upholding the Hornet Honor Code and to supporting one another. We are proud of our diversity, and we are committed to creating a caring university where everyone belongs.

The vile, hate-filled, bigoted messages that we have seen espoused by members of this group are to me personally abhorrent. Those messages do not reflect the values of Sacramento State. Nonetheless, Sacramento State is a public university, and our campus is public space. Our values include the right to free speech. All too often today, those who endorse free speech also cause incredible pain. Still, we must uphold that right, and we must ourselves exercise free speech to help heal the divides that exist in our nation.

On Tuesday afternoon, the Queer Union student organization, the Queer and Trans Faculty and Staff group (QTFAS), and the Centers for Diversity and Inclusion (Multi-Cultural Center, Women’s Resource Center, and PRIDE Center) will be in the Library Quad from 1 to 5 p.m. to show support for the LGBTQIA+ community. Inside the Multi-Cultural Center, QTFAS will be coordinating an affirming creative activity for students. In addition, the Student Affairs Case Manager and counselors from Student Health and Counseling Services will be on hand in both the PRIDE/Women’s Resource Center and the Multi-Cultural Center to provide emotional support to students. I will personally be at the Library Quad to support our LGBTQIA+ community.

We are in the final weeks of the semester, and I hope that the protest will not be a distraction from your studies or your work – though, undoubtedly, it will be for many. As a Hornet Family, we must come together, unified, in our support of one another, especially when members of our community are under attack. We will persevere, and we will transform our campus into a more caring and (I sincerely hope) hate-free environment. Now more than ever, we must fulfill our mission of transforming lives, of preparing our students and ourselves for leadership, service, and success. I truly believe that as Hornets we can create a society where there is equity, opportunity, and acceptance for all.

I wish you the best during finals, and I look forward to seeing many of you at Commencement.

#MakingThingsBetterAtSacState #StingersUp

Universities must be a space where free speech is actively encouraged

April 12, 2018 - The work of the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) and its commitment to peace and aid for the people of Africa are important both to Sacramento State and the world. We are honored to host the African Diaspora Conference and African Peace Awards each year and to open our doors to the international community.

This year, CAPCR has invited President Nana Akufo-Addo of Ghana to provide a keynote address in recognition of his commitment to African peace and development, and his support for an accessible education for young Ghanaians with an emphasis on educational opportunity for girls. He is a renowned lawyer with demonstrable commitment to the rule of law and good governance.

Although there has been support for President Akufo-Addo’s visit, some members of our community have expressed concern and opposition. In Ghana, the rights of LGBTQIA citizens are heavily suppressed, and homophobic attacks are common. These laws do not reflect the values of Sacramento State, nor do they align with our mission.

I believe in respect, compromise, mediation, and understanding – all core values not only of Sacramento State but also of CAPCR. Universities, including Sacramento State, must be a space where free speech is actively encouraged. I hope that we can use this moment to show our guests what inclusion and peace means, even in the face of disagreement, to the Hornet Family.

Ming-Tung 'Mike' Lee, vice president for ABA, will retire Aug. 1

April 9, 2018 - It is with mixed emotions that I share that Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs, will be retiring on Aug. 1. Mike has been an outstanding member of the Hornet Family for 28 years. He joined Sacramento State as an associate professor in 1990 and has since served as a Special Assistant to the President, Chair of the Department of Management, Associate Vice President and Dean for Academic Programs, Vice Provost, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs. Few people have achieved the breadth of service that Mike has given, and that is a testament to his commitment to the University and his talent as a leader.

Mike has led a period of growth and development during his almost eight years as Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs. He has overseen and secured funding for more than $290 million in capital projects, including the much-needed Science Complex. He managed the development of the comprehensive Campus Master Plan and has maintained the University’s financial stability. Mike has led with transparency, integrity, collaboration, and innovation.

It is hard for me to imagine a Sacramento State without Mike Lee leading the Division of Administration and Business Affairs, but I know that he has established a vibrant and stable team for the next Vice President. He takes care of the people in his division, and he never hesitates to praise their outstanding work. Mike is more than a member of my leadership team; he is a friend and someone whose expertise I have come to rely upon. I am glad that Mike will be teaching in the College of Business Administration while he participates in the Faculty Early Retirement Program, and that he will be imparting his wisdom to the next generation of leaders.

Stacy Hayano, Senior Associate Vice President for Budget Planning and Administration, will again step into the role of Interim Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs in August while we begin the search process. I hope that you will join me in expressing our appreciation for Mike’s commitment and heart for Sacramento State.

I am deeply saddened by the unnecessary loss of life

March 27, 2018 - The death of Stephon Clark is a tragedy. Our hearts go out to his family and friends. And our hearts go out to all of Sacramento as we mourn this horrible loss.

here have been too many losses and too much gun violence. Seventeen students were lost to gun violence in Parkland, Florida. Courtlin Arrington was shot in her classroom in Alabama. Another student, Jaelynn Willey, was lost in Maryland last week. From Columbine to Orlando to Las Vegas, the list goes on and on. Gun violence in our schools sparked the largest youth protest since Vietnam this past weekend, and many members of our community are marching for justice for Stephon Clark.

As many of you are aware, Jody and I know what it feels like to lose a son. But we cannot imagine what it is like to have a son or a grandson shot and killed in our own backyard. We know that these events, especially the killing of Stephon Clark, have made many of us feel anger, vulnerability, sadness, fear, and frustration. Days after Stephon Clark was killed by police officers, another unarmed Black man, Danny Ray Thomas, was shot and killed in a police incident in Houston. We know how difficult it can be to focus on exams and class projects when you do not feel safe. We are here to support you, and there are resources on campus to assist you.

Student Health and Counseling Services offers urgent care for students in need of counseling, and the MLK Center is working with Student Affairs to host a healing and community dialogue space at 3 p.m. Wednesday, March 28, in the Multi-Cultural Center. The Sacramento City Council will hold a special meeting for open community dialogue at 5 p.m. today in the City Hall Council Chamber.

While I am deeply saddened by the unnecessary loss of life, I have faith in Sacramento State, in our city, and in our community. More than ever, we must band together to help one another heal.

Together, we can create a suicide-safer and more caring community

March 20, 2018 - Did you know that suicide claims the lives of 1,100 college students each year and is the second leading cause of death among students? Most importantly, half of students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counseling or treatment (Active Minds, 2018).

Sacramento State’s Active Minds Chapter, in collaboration with Student Health and Counseling Services and the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, is proud to host the seventh annual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk. The walk is dedicated to suicide prevention. It will take place on The WELL lawn at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 12. A resource fair will begin at 4 p.m.

I am asking the Hornet Family and community members to come together not only to remember and honor those whose lives have been lost to suicide, but also to take action to help raise awareness of mental health and suicide so that no student ever feels alone or afraid to seek services. Together, we can bring these numbers down and create a suicide-safer and more caring community.

Register for free at the following link: Sac State Out of the Darkness Walk 2018.

For more information or any questions, please email Jennifer Burton at jennifer.burton@csus.edu.

Amid activity on campus, we are always looking to avoid disruption

Feb. 8, 2018 - As activity on our campus increases, we are always working to avoid disruption to campus life and safety. In December, the University implemented a new policy on Visual and Sound Productions on Property Owned, Leased, and/or Controlled by the University to govern visual and sound productions on campus. This policy applies to anyone who will be filming or recording on property that is owned, leased, or controlled by Sacramento State.

Please read the policy and procedures carefully as the guidelines may impact student projects, faculty assignments, and commercial productions. For additional information, please contact University Communications at (916) 278-6156.

The federal government partially shut down tonight

Jan. 19, 2018 - The federal government partially shut down tonight because Congress was unable to agree on final appropriation bills to fund federal programs. During a partial shutdown, all non-essential federal work stops unless it has been previously funded. “Non-essential” federal employees across the country will be furloughed until funding is restored. Essential functions such as air traffic control, national defense, the military, and other health and safety functions will continue in operation. Programs such as Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security, and student financial assistance will continue to disburse payments.

A partial shutdown of the federal government is a serious event, but federal financial aid is deemed essential and has been funded through July 1, 2018. Tuition and benefits paid through the Department of Veterans Affairs will continue. Students who are applying for financial aid should continue working on their applications. The Federal Student Aid Information Center will remain open if you need assistance. We anticipate that the shutdown will be short; therefore, we encourage any faculty or staff members working on federal grant proposals to continue to do so without concern.

Individuals who are planning to travel to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal officials should verify those officials’ availability before traveling. The officials may have been furloughed, or the building they work in may be closed.

We continue to monitor this situation and hope that this will be resolved quickly.

To our DACA students, our Dreamers: We support you

Jan. 18, 2018 - As a new semester begins, I want to reaffirm Sacramento State’s commitment to supporting all of our undocumented students, including those who come from mixed-status families. I am deeply concerned that we lack a positive resolution regarding the DACA program and our DACA students. The uncertainty surrounding this program continues to cause fear, anguish, and distress for many members of the Hornet Family. We remain dedicated to your success, and we promise to continue supporting you during this troubling time.

DACA has maintained significant support in both parties, and a failure to find a path forward will be a shameful day for this country. I remain hopeful that a bipartisan solution can be found to protect these amazing members of our society, but we must continue to urge Congress to do the right thing – to find a positive and permanent outcome for DACA students.

As announced last week by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, the government will be accepting requests to renew DACA until further notice. Please do not delay in submitting your application. I urge you to reach out to the Dreamer Resource Center for assistance and to familiarize yourself with their resources and services. If you need additional support or you know of someone struggling with despair or hopelessness, please reach out to one of the following campus resources for help:

  • Student Health and Counseling Services
  • The Dreamer Resource Center
  • Full Circle Project
  • College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)
  • The Multi-Cultural Center
  • The Serna Center

To our DACA recipients, our Dreamers, our undocumented students, and those living with the anguish of a mixed-status family, we support you. You are important members of the Hornet Family, and we will continue advocating for you during this time of uncertainty.

Giving Tuesday was the perfect way to begin the holiday season

Dec. 4, 2017 - The generosity of our alumni, faculty, staff, and community displayed during Giving Tuesday at Sacramento State was a tremendous testament to the heart of our University community. This was our fifth time participating in a Giving Tuesday campaign, and I am pleased to report that we raised more than $80,000 for student scholarships, academic programs, and other important University initiatives – doubling last year’s contributions.

Sacramento State is known for the impact that it has on the lives of our students, many of whom are the first in their family to attend college. Not only does your support help to ensure opportunities will continue for these students, but it shows them that alumni, faculty, staff, friends, and the community are invested in their success. You have set a wonderful example that will encourage our students to reach back and be engaged as future alumni.

Giving Tuesday was the perfect way to begin the holiday season. I deeply appreciate your support for the Hornet Family, and I wish you happy holidays. Stingers Up!

With our revised budget, divisions will not have to face reductions

Nov. 6, 2017 - With the Governor signing the Budget Act of 2017, the California State University system received an ongoing General Fund appropriation increase of $179.2 million in baseline funding for 2017-18, which includes an additional $5.1 million increase for annual debt service costs for lease revenue bonds. The budget also includes $118.9 million in gross tuition revenue resulting from a tuition increase effective in Fall 2017. This tuition increase was approved by the Board of Trustees in March 2017.

The budget supports a CSU system-wide resident enrollment increase of 2,487 FTES, mandatory costs (benefits and current contract compensation increases), student success and completion initiatives, State University Grants funding increases, and other system-wide priorities. For Sacramento State, our support includes a 1 percent resident enrollment growth of 240 full-time equivalent students (FTES) for a total of 23,077 FTES.

Because of changes in the enacted budget, along with the enrollment growth funding and a re-benching of the campus headcount due to average unit load (AUL) increases, the final budget looks very different from the University Budget Advisory Committee recommendation. Our new state appropriation allocation totals $156,939,837 (including $1.1 million for Education Insights). Our revised projected student fee revenue (adding in $1 million in miscellaneous financial aid) with the increased resident FTES and the re-benching of the headcount will provide $161,860,000. When combining the state appropriation with the anticipated student fee revenue, the campus’s projected sources of funds equal $319,799,837.

We aligned our projected uses of funds (totaling $319,799,837) with the projected sources to achieve a balanced budget for the new fiscal year. With this revised budget, divisions will not have to face reductions; some, such as Academic Affairs, will receive a baseline augmentation. The revised budget will enable units to further student success initiatives and combat existing funding shortfalls. Funding also was established for a university central baseline reserve to be used for campus priorities or emergency situations.

Some important elements of our budget include an increased allocation for State University Grants (SUG) of $2,946,000 for our students, which brings our total SUG pool to $46,783,700 for financial aid disbursements. We also have set aside $1,000,000 for increases (the third year of three installments) for our faculty and staff. Permanent funding of $500,000 was provided to Academic Affairs to be used to hire additional faculty to support student success initiatives as recommended by UBAC.

A summary of the University’s final budget for the 2017-18 General Operating Fund is provided on our website.

After careful review of the All University Expenses (AUE), I concur with UBAC’s recommendations. I would like to thank the members of UBAC for their diligence and dedication to the budget recommendations. It is an arduous and detailed process, and we are fortunate for their efforts. I look forward to our progress over the next year – and Stingers Up!

December 2017 ceremonies will be our final Winter Commencement

Nov. 1, 2017 - Last spring, our Commencement ceremonies moved to the new Golden 1 Center in the heart of downtown Sacramento. We enjoyed six outstanding ceremonies at Golden 1 Center in May, and we are thrilled to be holding our 2017 Winter Commencement there.

We are excited about the opportunities at Golden 1 Center for the Hornet Family, but change requires flexibility. As many know, we had to make substantial changes to the Spring 2017 ceremonies, and we will need to adjust further for this winter. As such, we will continue to revisit our ceremonies and plans, but for the future, we have made the difficult decision to hold graduation ceremonies only in May. The December 2017 graduation ceremonies will be our final Winter Commencement.

I understand that this change will be a big transition for our campus. Sacramento State is alone among the 10 largest CSU campuses in celebrating two sets of Commencement ceremonies each year. The graduation ceremonies are meant to commemorate your achievement, but are not actually required for you to graduate. Regardless of when you walk in a graduation ceremony, you will officially graduate and receive your diploma in the semester when you complete the degree requirements.

Accordingly, students who complete their degree requirements in Fall 2018, Spring 2019, or Summer 2019 will walk in the May 2019 ceremonies. Students completing their degree requirements in Fall 2019, Spring 2020, or Summer 2020 will walk in the May 2020 graduation ceremonies.

I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming graduation ceremonies, and I am proud to continue our partnership with Golden 1 Center.

Diana Tate Vermeire will lead equity, diversity, and inclusion

Oct. 11, 2017 - I am pleased to announce that Diana Tate Vermeire has accepted the position of Executive Director of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Sacramento State. Her extensive work on issues of race, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, immigrant status, disability, poverty, the criminal justice system, and inequality will be an outstanding asset to us.

Diana joins us from the ACLU of Northern California, where she has served as the Director of the Racial Justice Initiative. She has worked throughout Northern California to advance racial justice and equity across several issue areas. In addition, she has provided advice and counsel to the Executive Director and the management team on issues of equity and inclusion within the organization at all levels to help strengthen its commitment to racial justice and inclusion.

Diana spent four years with the Gable Gotwals law firm in Oklahoma, where she represented clients seeking First Amendment protections and access to information, counseled clients on employment practices and corporate governance, and conducted investigations related to issues of race, gender, and identity discrimination. Prior to that role, she served her first stint with the ACLU of Northern California as the Director of the Racial Justice Project. She directed the work of the project using a combination of litigation, legislative and legal advocacy, public education, and organizing strategies to advance the cause of civil rights for communities of color. She also spent two years with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area, working in policy advocacy and community education related to civil rights, including issues of racial harassment, student-to-student harassment, and other forms of discrimination. She began her legal career in November 2003 at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP of Seattle.

Diana graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology in 1997 from the University of Southern California and earned a Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center. She has published numerous reports and articles on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout her career. She will step into her new role after the Thanksgiving holiday, and I look forward to working with her. Please join me in welcoming Diana to the Hornet Family.

My appreciation goes to the selection committee for its thoughtfulness and dedication to filling this important role at Sacramento State. This search was a university-wide effort, and I appreciate the feedback from the Diversity Council and everyone who took the time to meet with the candidates.

Finally, there are not enough words of gratitude to show my appreciation for the work of Dr. Robin Carter over the past year. Anyone who has had the opportunity to work with her over the past year can attest to the extraordinary progress she has made in establishing the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Sacramento State. For many, this past year has been one of rapid change and uncertainty, and she has played a significant role in helping guide our campus forward. Dr. Carter will return to her role as Associate Dean of the College of Health and Human Services, but we all owe her a debt of gratitude for her good work in this role. Thank you to Dean Fred Baldini for giving us one of this campus’s best to help establish this critical office.

Amid multiple wildfires, we must support one another

Oct. 10, 2017 - As multiple wildfires continue to ravage Sonoma and Napa counties, the North Bay, and other California communities, we must support one another and the people of those areas. Many of us have friends and family who are in the areas affected by these devastating fires, and I hope that you will reach out for assistance if you are in need.

I encourage students who need mental or emotional support to contact Student Health and Counseling Services at (916) 278-6461. If you need assistance with housing or other physical needs, please contact the Dean of Students at (916) 278-6060. Faculty and staff should reach out to the Employee Assistance Program at (800) 367-7474.

If you are trying to contact family or friends in an affected area, the Red Cross has a Safe and Well website where you can search for those in shelters. A list of shelters is available here, and CalFire is updating its Facebook page as information becomes available.

We are a Hornet Family, and I hope that everyone will take the time to support and assist those around them who are being affected by these wildfires. I ask that you be patient with those who are directly impacted or who may be assisting family and friends who have to evacuate.

I am calling for a convocation for 50th anniversary of MLK speech

Oct. 2, 2017 - On Monday, Oct. 16, we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech at Sacramento State. Dr. King spoke on “The Future of the Civil Rights Movement” and encouraged his audience of more than 7,000 to continue their nonviolent civil disobedience to advance the rights and equality of people of color in our country. We are the only CSU at which Dr. King spoke, and it is truly an honor for Sacramento State to be a part of his legacy.

I hope that you will participate in some of the outstanding events planned for this day. At noon in the University Union Ballroom, Tavis Smiley will give a keynote address on “Empathy and Economic Inequality.” The address will be live-streamed to overflow areas throughout the Union.

In recognition of the importance and value of this event, I am calling for a convocation on Monday, Oct. 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All faculty, staff, and students are encouraged to participate, either by attending the keynote address in the University Union Ballroom or watching from one of the overflow areas. In accordance with University policy, classes may be dismissed during a convocation, and students should not be penalized for attending the convocation if their classes are not dismissed. I hope that you will be flexible in allowing our campus community to attend Mr. Smiley’s talk.

We will continue to support each other despite our differences

Sept. 29, 2017 - College campuses have long served as a bastion for free speech, healthy debate, and political activism. As various political and social justice movements sweep across our country, we firmly support the rights of our students, staff, faculty, and coaches should they choose to take part in such activities. While some may not fully understand or agree with the reasoning behind actions taken, we will not restrict the First Amendment rights of those who peacefully protest or speak out. We will not tolerate retaliation against those who choose to peacefully protest, nor will we tolerate retribution aimed at those who choose not to participate in protests.

All members of the campus community are encouraged to familiarize themselves with the University's Time, Place and Manner Restrictions on Speech and Speech-Related Activities policy. In spring 2017 we adopted the Hornet Honor Code, and I hope that the Code will guide our actions and responses as we move forward. Let us continue to support our students by attending their games, events, and concerts. We are a Hornet Family and we will continue to support each other despite our differences.

We will create a campus that is safe and where survivors are supported

Sept. 27, 2017 - As I have said many times, the safety and well-being of our campus community is our top priority. No one ever should be exposed to sexual violence or discrimination. In the wake of new guidance on Title IX released last week by the Department of Education, we are reviewing the new question and answer document to determine how it might affect Sacramento State. We have worked hard to develop fair practices and policies to address sexual assault on campus. For now and the foreseeable future, we will continue to investigate reported cases of sexual violence and discrimination in accordance with our current practices and policies.

I understand that these changes will be frightening for many members of our Hornet Family. We will continue our work to create a campus that is free from discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual violence. More than 90% of sexual assault survivors on college campuses do not report what happened to them, and I stand with many who are concerned that the proposed changes will only serve to increase that number. If you are assaulted or become aware of an assault on another individual, we encourage you to report it or to reach out for support. While it is very difficult to ask for help, you should not have to suffer in silence. You can learn about specific confidential and non-confidential campus resources on our website. The Sacramento State Victim Advocate (916-920-2952) can provide services even if the incident is not reported to the police.

I want to thank the professionals and advocates on campus who work every day to provide support and to ensure that these cases are handled appropriately with care and diligence. We have made significant progress, but our work is not done. We are a Hornet Family, and we will continue our work creating a campus that is safe and where survivors are supported. The fight is not over.

Please join Jody and me in signing up for Our Promise payroll deduction

Sept. 19, 2017 - I am proud to share that last year, the Hornet Family gave more than $66,000 to local charities through the Our Promise Campaign. We showed our commitment to the community by increasing our giving by more than 10 percent. I hope that this year, we can raise $100,000 and be leaders in giving in the Sacramento community. Please join Jody and me in signing up for the Our Promise payroll deduction, showing Sac State’s support for this vibrant and beautiful region.

As I did last year, I will be making a special donation to honor Hornet Don Nahhas’s son. Don works in Risk Management, and his son, Josh, passed away from liver failure last year. Josh’s parents, Don and Dawn, are raising money in his memory through Josh’s Heart to collect items to fill backpacks for homeless people in the area. The Our Promise Campaign allows you to contribute to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit. I will be writing in Josh’s Heart, Inc. with Tax ID # 81-4248036 (Nonprofit Code/Org # 187).

You also can give to the Hornet Family in other ways through the University Foundation at Sacramento State, which provides scholarships to our students. You can donate to the Foundation with Tax ID # 94-3001359 (Nonprofit Code/Org #16016). Through Hornet Athletics, you can provide our student-athletes with scholarships, equipment, and better facilities. You can give to Hornet Athletics through the Hornet Club with Tax ID # 94-3001359. I hope that you can find a cause that moves you to give.

From my heart to yours, I thank you for your generous giving, and I look forward to the continued impact the Hornet Family will make in our community.

Fans will now be able to purchase beer at Hornet Stadium

Sept. 7, 2017 - In accordance with CSU Executive Order 1109, Hornet fans will now be able to purchase beer at Hornet Stadium, beginning with our first home football game on Saturday, Sept. 9. We are offering expanded beverage options in a beer garden-style space at the southeast corner of Hornet Stadium near Gate 4.

We will be working with University Enterprises, Inc. (our concessionaire) to provide the beer to fans who are over age 21 and in accordance with California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulations. We are committed to creating a safe and healthy environment during our games, and we will be working closely with our game security and the Sacramento State Police Department to ensure a positive experience for all who attend our Hornet Athletics events.

You can find the full policy on the sale of alcoholic beverages at intercollegiate athletic events here. A portion of the revenue from the sale of alcoholic beverages will be used to provide appropriate security at events and may be used to support alcohol education and sexual assault education programming through Student Affairs.

I hope that you will join us at Hornet Stadium for our first home football game at 6 p.m. Saturday to cheer on our Hornet athletes. Stingers up!

We must continue to protect these valuable members of the Hornet Family

Sept. 5, 2017 - It was with great sadness and frustration that I learned today of President Trump's rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. DACA has been vital in allowing young people who came to the United States without documentation to pursue the life they deserve.

America is home to hundreds of thousands of these young people. Their lives should not be destroyed to make a political statement. DACA has been successfully defended repeatedly by the federal government as a constitutionally sound and lawful program. DACA makes sense for our country, and it makes sense for the well-being of the undocumented youth for whom America is home.

In the wake of this decision, we must continue to protect these valuable members of our Hornet Family. We must have the courage and integrity to support our fellow Hornets during this frightening, turbulent, and uncertain time.

As Congress begins its work on a replacement policy, we will continue to share information. In the meantime, I ask that you continue to attend your classes and report to work. The Department of Homeland Security is stating that it will not accept new applications from undocumented immigrants for DACA, but those currently enrolled in DACA will be able to continue working until their permits expire. If your permit expires before March 5, 2018, you will be permitted to apply for a two-year renewal before Oct. 5, 2017. Please be expedient in your renewal if this applies to you. Read the Department of Homeland Security's FAQs on today's decision.

If you need support or you notice someone struggling with despair or hopelessness, please reach out to one of the following campus resources for help:

  • The Dreamer Resource Center
  • Student Health and Counseling Services
  • Full Circle Project
  • College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP)
  • The Multi-Cultural Center
  • The Serna Center

Please continue to work with the Dreamer Resource Center during this uncertain time. On Friday, Sept. 8, the Center will host an Open House from 3 to 4 p.m. in River Front Center, Room 1027. I encourage you to attend to learn more about its resources and to support our undocumented student population.

As we shared earlier this year, the Sacramento State Police Department has a policy on Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Campus. If for any reason a student or member of our faculty or staff is stopped on campus by any official asking for information or documentation, please contact the Sac State Police immediately at (916) 278-6000 or by dialing 911 on any campus phone. It is important to remember our students’ right to privacy in their student records through FERPA (the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). You can find more information about the release of and access to student records on the University Registrar's website. For the CSU Fact Sheet regarding the rescission of DACA, go here.

Video: President Nelsen's message to DACA students

Please join me in welcoming Al Frisone to the Hornet Family

Aug. 29, 2017 - I am happy to announce that Al Frisone has accepted our offer to join Sacramento State as Vice President for University Advancement.

Al previously served as Founder and President of AVF Consulting LLC, where he assisted universities and schools across the country in campaign planning, fundraiser training, and coaching and fundraising strategy. Prior to establishing his own firm, Al spent 17 years in various leadership and fundraising roles at Marquette University in Milwaukee. There he created and led the principal gifts program, was the top-producing fundraiser for 17 years, and facilitated some of Marquette’s largest donations, including gifts of $51 million, $27 million, and $12 million.

Also at Marquette, he designed and led the athletic advancement program on two separate occasions, successfully completing a $60 million fundraising campaign for the athletics department that included a new $34.5 million athletic facility. As a member of the advancement leadership team at Marquette, Al played a significant role in planning and leading a successful capital campaign that concluded in 2005, raising more than $357 million for endowed scholarships and faculty positions as well as building projects including a new library, law school, and engineering building. As we continue to raise funds for the Science Complex and look forward to planning for an Events Center, Al’s experience in securing significant gifts will be invaluable.

Al earned a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Rochester, where he also was a varsity letter winner in football. He also holds a Master of Education in Sports Administration from Temple University. Al will begin his new position in mid-September, and I look forward to working with him and our entire University Advancement team to elevate the alumni and development program to new levels of success at Sacramento State. Please join me in welcoming Al Frisone to the Hornet Family.

I am thankful for the work of the search committee and to those who helped ensure that this process moved quickly and efficiently over the summer. I am proud of the campus participation during the on-campus interviews, as the feedback we received ensured that we hired the best fit for Sac State. I am deeply grateful to Dr. Lisa Cardoza, my Chief of Staff, for stepping in as Interim Vice President for University Advancement while we conducted the search. She has provided stable and inspirational leadership during a time of transition for the division. We all look forward to her return to our office.

Finally, as announced in my Fall Address, we have reunited our communications teams under University Advancement. As of mid-August, news and media relations, print and digital publications, social media and multimedia, marketing, and campaign and donor communications now report to University Advancement.

Vice President Phil Garcia will continue overseeing government relations and advocacy, but will also take on Sacramento State Downtown – our new downtown location. In order to make our downtown presence a true success, we need focused leadership and management, and I look forward to watching it thrive under Phil’s guidance. It is an exciting time to be at Sacramento State, and we are truly in a state of transformation. Stingers Up!

Our 2017 Winter Commencement ceremonies will be held at Golden 1 Center

Aug. 28, 2017 - I am pleased to announce that our 2017 Winter Commencement will be held at Golden 1 Center. After an outstanding set of ceremonies in May, I am proud to again partner with the Sacramento Kings to offer our next graduating class of Hornets a graduation in a setting that showcases the best of Sacramento.

The Commencement schedule and information about ticket availability are now available online. Because there are fewer graduates in the winter, we are pleased to offer each student 12 guest tickets for these ceremonies. Please check the Commencement website for information about obtaining additional tickets. I also encourage you to continue visiting the Commencement website for updates throughout the semester.

Thank you to the University staff and the leadership at Golden 1 Center for giving us the opportunity to provide this world-class experience for our graduates. I look forward to seeing many of you at Commencement – and Stingers Up!

We will continue to celebrate our diverse community

Aug. 14, 2017 - As I reflect on the events of the past few days – a celebration of diversity and inclusion on our campus with the swearing-in of the new Sacramento Chief of Police, alumnus Daniel Hahn, and the display of terrorist hate in Charlottesville – it is clear that we must decide who we are as a society.

I was horrified and dismayed by the violence and hate demonstrated by white supremacists at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville over the weekend, and I am heartbroken about those who were injured or killed as a result. The actions of the white supremacists and nationalists were a demonstration of cowardice – not patriotism. Each of us shares the responsibility of speaking out against what happened there. We have to denounce racism, anti-Semitism, and white supremacy.

As I’ve shared in previous messages, we must continue to have difficult conversations on our campus, but we also must continue to support one another. As part of our Hornet Honor Code, we will continue our commitment to promoting an inclusive campus community that values our diversity. We are a Hornet Family, and I ask that we stand together against hate that has no place in our country. We are stronger together.

At Sacramento State, we will continue to make inclusion a priority and to celebrate our diverse community. Last Friday on our campus, Daniel Hahn was sworn in as Sacramento’s first African American police chief. He represents a new and exciting beginning for the city and for the leadership in our community. At 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 22, in the Hinde Auditorium, we will welcome Dr. Miguel Gallardo to speak on multicultural and social justice. And on Monday, Oct. 16, a full day of events is scheduled to honor the 50th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking at Sacramento State. We will celebrate his legacy and contributions to the world.

We will realign Athletics to report directly to the President's Office

July 27, 2017 - The hiring of our new athletic director, Mark Orr, begins the next era for Hornet Athletics. A new hire brings changes and fresh approaches. In consultation with Vice President for Student Affairs Ed Mills, we have decided to realign the athletics program so that it reports directly to the President’s Office.

I am excited about the opportunity to work more directly with athletics. To demonstrate our commitment to athletics compliance and to provide checks and balances, we are keeping our outstanding compliance team reporting to the Vice President for Student Affairs.

I hope to see you out cheering for our Hornet student-athletes this summer and throughout the year at games, tournaments, and matches. Stingers Up!

We must foster a culture of safety inside and outside the classroom

July 17, 2017 - As I have emphasized on numerous occasions, safety must be foremost in our minds when fulfilling Sacramento State’s mission. We must continue to foster a culture of safety, both inside and outside the classroom. Consistent with our commitment to safety, I established a Laboratory Safety Task Force to advise me on the implementation of recommendations made by the UC Center on Laboratory Safety. The Task Force delivered its report to me in May.

In addition to the report, the Task Force accomplished other tasks, including updating the University Chemical Hygiene Plan and the campus Emergency Action Plan. It developed a number of quick-reference documents, met with campus personnel and the Sacramento Fire Department to ensure understanding of response processes and roles, and identified technology as a key component for our campus in the ongoing management of our safety programs. The Task Force also identified stakeholders to be involved in implementation efforts and made a recommendation for a new laboratory safety committee structure.

Many of the recommendations in the report are currently in the implementation process. We will continue moving forward with the remaining recommendations and will do our best to meet the recommended timelines, subject to budget and other time constraints.

I owe a debt of gratitude to the co-chairs of the Task Force, Dr. William DeGraffenreid, Chair of Physics and Astronomy; and Jill Parker, the Interim Senior Director of Risk Management Services. I look forward to our continued collaborations and work to make Sacramento State an even safer place to work and study.

Sac State has been reaffirmed for accreditation for 10 years

July 5, 2017 - It is with immense pride that I announce that Sacramento State received notice last week that the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) has reaffirmed our accreditation for a period of 10 years. Ten years is the longest period for which an institution can be reaffirmed, and I believe that 10 years is a reflection of the outstanding commitment of our faculty and staff to student success.

You can view the full letter, along with the actions, commendations, and recommendations from WASC, on our website.

I am grateful to the individuals who have worked diligently since our last accreditation visit to make such outstanding progress. Thank you to the steering committee, the faculty, and the staff who compiled and completed the information for our report. Our success was derived from a truly campus-wide effort. I look forward to our continued work to refine and improve as we address the recommendations cited in the letter. It is a proud day for the Hornet Family.

Dr. Christine Miller will become vice president for IRT

May 18, 2017 - I am pleased to announce that Dr. Christine E. Miller has accepted the offer to serve Sacramento State as Vice President for Information Resources and Technology, and Chief Information Officer. Christine joined Sac State as Associate CIO in September 2014, and she has served as Interim CIO since September 2016.

Previously, she served as Assistant Dean and IT Executive Director for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Georgia. Christine has more than 20 years of experience in information technology, academic technology, and higher education. At the University of Georgia, she participated in shared governance and partnered with other divisions to achieve campus-wide goals, as well as implementing an eAdvising platform, virtualizing server infrastructure, supporting accreditation, developing paperless workflows for academic and administrative processes, initiating site licenses for campus software, participating in the launch of the office of online learning, and identifying resources to make technology resources and services sustainable.

Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in Instructional Technology, and a Ph.D. in Higher Education, all from the University of Georgia. During her tenure at Sac State, she has played a key role in a number of campus-wide projects supporting student and academic success, such as Smart Planner, Platinum Analytics, and the Next Generation Learning Management System evaluation.

I look forward to Christine’s continued leadership of Sac State’s technology strategies and services, and her commitment to supporting students, faculty, and staff with innovative tools for success. Please join me in congratulating Christine on her new permanent role

I have selected Nancy Nguyen to receive the President's Medal

honors one outstanding student from each college who exemplifies academic excellence, community involvement, and engagement within his or her college and on campus. Many of these students have overcome incredible odds and heartbreaking experiences to earn their degree.

I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Dean’s Award recipients Jalil Kochai (Arts and Letters), Danielle Saunders (Business Administration), Seth Fujii (Education), Brian Souza (Engineering and Computer Science), Kadina Koonce (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), Aja Johnson (Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies), and Nancy Nguyen (Health and Human Services). Each exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet, and we could not be more proud of them.

From among these extraordinary students, I selected Nancy Nguyen from the College of Health and Human Services to receive the President’s Medal. Nancy’s story begins in Vietnam, which her parents escaped after the collapse of South Vietnam. On their desperate journey, they encountered pirates, endured poverty, relocated to refugee camps in Hong Kong, and eventually sought asylum in the Philippines. After much hardship and a treacherous journey, her family finally landed in California. Her parents worked laborious, low-paying jobs due to their educational background and inability to communicate in English. At the age of 6, Nancy began teaching her father to speak, read, and write in English, which eventually enabled him to start his own business.

It is not surprising that Nancy developed a passion for language and communication that led her to the field of speech pathology. Her experiences and struggles with resettlement have formed her into the person she is today – a person who is committed to serving those in need. She has dedicated her time to volunteering with various outreach programs, including Improve Your Tomorrow, a college preparatory program for young men of color. After working with a student who was in need of better school supplies, she worked with Dr. Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin to start a community drive that secured more than 5,000 items. Nancy not only excels academically; she also leads with heart and a spirit of service to her community. This weekend, she will graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Speech Pathology, and she will return to Sac State in the fall to begin a master’s program in communication disorders.

Sac State is filled with thousands of stories of courageous students who are determined to get an education despite true hardship and incredible challenges. I am honored to award Nancy Nguyen the President’s Medal, and I know that she will continue to make us proud as a member of the Sac State alumni and a graduate student.

On May 16, there will an opportunity to obtain more Commencement tickets

May 3, 2017 - On May 16, there will be an opportunity for students in some colleges to obtain unclaimed tickets to Spring Commencement. At 10 p.m. on that day, students in those colleges will be able to log in and request additional tickets. A message will go out in advance to students that will detail where to go to request the additional tickets.

While I know that this will be a blessing to some students who are able to get additional tickets, I also understand that there will be other students in colleges that do not have extra tickets available who will be left disappointed. I know that each of you wants all of your friends and family to be there to celebrate this most important day.

We are graduating the largest class of Hornets in Sacramento State history – a momentous achievement. With that achievement comes an estimated 50,000 people who will be in attendance over a two-day period. I look forward to seeing you at Commencement and celebrating your graduation day at Golden 1 Center!

Search starts for a new vice president for University Advancement

April 27, 2017 - We have started the search for a new Vice President for University Advancement at Sacramento State. I am pleased to announce the membership of the search committee:

  • Garry Maisel (Chair), Community Member and Comprehensive Campaign Co-Chair
  • Lorelei Bayne, Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance
  • Fred Baldini, Dean, College of Health and Human Services
  • Matt Cologna, President, Sacramento State Alumni Association
  • Mark Orr, Director of Athletics
  • Lisa Woodard-Mink, Director of Planned Giving, University Advancement
  • Antoinette Vojtech, Director of Development, University Advancement
  • Paul Villaluz, Advancement Associate, University Advancement
  • Ken Soto, Development Associate, University Advancement
  • Julian Heather, Chair of the Faculty Senate
  • Jeffrey Dym, Professor, Department of History

The search for a Vice President for University Advancement is an exceptional circumstance. Because of the nature of the position, the need for a strong connection to the Sacramento region, and fundraising demands, I have appointed Garry Maisel, CEO of Western Health Advantage, to chair the committee. This choice may be seen as unusual by some, but I can assure you that Garry’s priority is the interests of the University and our students. We already have raised more than $40 million under his leadership of the Comprehensive Campaign, and we must maintain the campaign momentum.

Garry is a Sac State alumnus who has remained highly committed to our success. Along with Western Health Advantage, he has been a major supporter of the Folsom Hall physical therapy renovation, the Folsom Hall nursing campaign, and the 2015 Green and Gold Gala. He has sat on the planning committee for the Gala, and as noted above, he is currently a co-chair of the Comprehensive Campaign. He received a Distinguished Alumni Award in 2014 and is a lifetime Alumni Association member. Tonight, I will be recognizing his contributions and service to our campus with the President’s Medal for Distinguished Service. Garry’s involvement on campus, dedication to our students, and commitment to our Comprehensive Campaign emphasize why I believe that he is the ideal chair for the search committee.

University Advancement is a unique entity at Sacramento State, and finding a Vice President for University Advancement who can lead a division that is in the middle of a Comprehensive Campaign will not be an easy task. I have the utmost trust and faith in Garry’s leadership and ability to successfully lead the search.

I am thankful to each search committee member who has agreed to give his or her time and commitment to serve in this vital role. We will begin the initial phases of the application review process in the next couple of months with a goal of having applicants on campus this fall. I trust that the committee will ensure its work is timely and judicious.

In the interim, Lisa Cardoza, my Chief of Staff, will step in to lead University Advancement. Dr. Cardoza has the experience and knowledge to lead as Interim Vice President for University Advancement, and to continue the division’s important work for Sac State. She recently completed her doctorate in educational leadership from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. With almost 13 years of experience in higher education administration, she has served in various capacities, including outreach and student success; local, state, and federal grant programs; student affairs; and governmental relations. During her time as my Chief of Staff in Texas, Lisa directly assisted me with donor relations, fundraising, and alumni and community relations.

In Lisa’s absence, Cely Smart, Chief Communications Officer, will serve as the Interim Chief of Staff. I hope that you will be patient and flexible with our office during this transition.

I encourage the campus to utilize the Dreamer Resource Center

March 15, 2017 - In light of President Trump’s recent executive orders on increased border security and stricter enforcement of immigration laws, I would like to remind all students, staff, faculty, and administrators of the resources available at the Dreamer Resource Center (DRC) at Sacramento State to undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. I strongly encourage the campus community to utilize the DRC and familiarize themselves with the center and its multidimensional programming. We must take care of and support one another.

The DRC is designed to help make the dream of a college degree a reality for undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. The DRC offers programs and services that help students overcome the unique challenges that get in the way of achieving academic, personal, and professional excellence. DRC events are open to campus and community members.

Amongst its different services, the DRC hosts ongoing immigration briefings and consultations presented by attorneys from the California Rural Legal Assistance Foundation (CFLAF). The foundation makes presentations on know-your-rights, naturalization, and citizenship; updates on new executive orders; Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA); and other changes enacted by the new administration. The briefings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month (March 27, April 10 and 24, and May 8) from noon to 2 p.m. in the River Front Center, Room 1027. CRLAF is available for drop-in immigration legal consultations on the first and third Monday of each month (March 20, April 3 and 17, and May 1 and 15) from noon to 2 p.m. in the River Front Center, Room 1027.

The DRC also offers ongoing Dreamer Ally Trainings, which provide an overview of federal and state policies that impact undocumented students on a day-to-day basis, the unique conditions experienced by these students, activities to better understand the needs of this population, and tools to become allies and ultimately advocates for undocumented students and students with mixed-status families. Attendees receive a Dreamer Ally decal upon completion of the training. To RSVP for the next training on Thursday, March 30, at 2 p.m., please visit https://springdreamerallytraining.eventbrite.com. I highly encourage all staff, faculty, administrators, and students to attend a Dreamer Ally Training.

I also want to remind the Sacramento State community that we are aligned with and committed to Chancellor Timothy P. White’s statement:

“The California State University is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming institution of higher education that is enhanced by our global community. As such, we will continue to make every lawful effort to provide a safe and welcoming campus environment for all of our students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of our community.

“Our university policy departments will not honor immigration hold requests, and our university police will not contact, detain, question, or arrest individuals solely on the basis of being – or suspected of being – a person who lacks documentation.”

In the event of being approached by federal officials on campus, please contact the Sacramento State Police Department. If approached outside of campus, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) provides advice on its website.

I again highly encourage students, faculty, and staff alike to become acquainted with the programming the DRC offers so we can all do our part to help support undocumented students and students from mixed-status families. As I have mentioned before, we are a Hornet Family and are committed to ensuring that our undocumented, international, and DACA students can continue their studies without fear. This commitment extends to all of our students, regardless of political persuasion, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, disability, religion, sexual identity, nationality, or documentation status.

As always, we must band together to support one another.

Each student will be allowed to receive nine Commencement tickets

March 7, 2017 - I am pleased to announce that we have selected Golden 1 Center as our Commencement venue. We are excited that this partnership will allow our Hornet Family to experience and celebrate graduation in a setting that showcases the best of Sacramento and has a profound connection to the region.

Last Thursday, we posted preliminary information about the Commencement schedule and ticket availability online. We received many questions and heard from many frustrated students about the limit of six guest tickets for these ceremonies.

Our friends at Golden 1 Center worked with us throughout the weekend to determine how we could create a memorable weekend for our graduates and their guests, while accommodating more visitors. Thanks to the generous team at Golden 1 Center and our nimble Commencement Office staff, I am excited to share that we were able to find a solution that will allow each student to receive nine tickets.

I understand that for some students, this will still not be enough; therefore, the Sacramento State Alumni Facebook page will have a forum for graduates to exchange tickets with their classmates when the ticket reservation system opens on April 10. I encourage you to talk with your friends and classmates, and watch the Facebook page to get more tickets if you need them.

In order to make more tickets available, we have had to rearrange the ceremonies in a different order than what we initially published last week. The schedule has been updated on the Commencement website, and I encourage you to review it again, as your Commencement time and date may have changed.

While we are pleased to offer more tickets, our Commencement Office, as well as my office, has fielded questions about why winter graduates received 12 tickets, yet this spring’s graduates are receiving fewer. Winter Commencement had a total of 2,411 graduates; we are preparing for more than 5,000 in May. The numbers are significantly higher, and we must ensure that every student is able to have guests attend.

I know that many of you have friends and family who already have made arrangements to attend your graduation ceremony, and the news that you will still get fewer guest tickets than expected is upsetting. It was with great difficulty that the University came to this decision, and I believe that you deserve to know how we arrived there.

As many of you know, our last Commencement at Sleep Train Arena was held in December 2016. For the past year, University Advancement has worked tirelessly to find a new venue for our graduation ceremonies. The Commencement Committee looked at Cal Expo, the Memorial Auditorium, the Sacramento Convention Center, Sac State’s Union Ballrooms, Sac State’s outdoor theater, and Raley Field. All of those venues yielded fewer guest seats than Golden 1 Center. The committee also looked into the possibility of holding graduation outside at Hornet Stadium, but with all the rentals, labor, security, and maintenance requirements, the cost far exceeded the budget for Commencement and was higher than the cost of renting any other possible venue. In addition to the concern over potential weather issues at an outdoor event, the committee was concerned that guests in wheelchairs would be on the field behind the graduates and would experience very limited viewing.

With more than 5,000 candidates eligible for graduation in Spring 2017, the ADA-accessible Golden 1 Center is the best option to meet our needs. The Commencement Committee, with representation from across campus, agreed that the most financially feasible schedule would be to hold three ceremonies on Friday and three on Saturday.

We also will be changing the format of our ceremonies to make the program portion shorter. While some universities have made the hard decision, as graduation sizes increase, to stop reading the names of graduates and stop having them cross the stage, we believe that recognition is a vital part of the ceremony for our Hornet graduates. Therefore, ceremonies will be longer than they have been in the past, as there will be more Hornets graduating than ever before.

I know that you have a waited a long time for details about the Spring Commencement ceremonies, but I want to assure you that we have explored every available option in the area to give our Hornet Family the best graduation experience possible. I wish that every member of your family and all of your friends could attend the ceremonies. To allow more guests to participate in graduation, we will live-stream the ceremonies online and host a viewing party on campus in the University Union with complimentary parking for those who are unable to attend at Golden 1 Center.

After the May graduation ceremony, we will continue to modify and review the ceremonies to ensure that we are providing the best experience possible. I want to thank the leadership at the Golden 1 Center for working with us this weekend to expand our ticket availability. Additional tickets would not have been possible without their flexibility and generosity. I look forward to seeing many of you at Commencement, and I appreciate your patience as we adjust to a new location.

We must band together to protect and support one another

Feb. 16, 2017 - There have been and, increasingly, continue to be many reports in the news media, on television, and in social media about the detention and deportation of immigrants. Some of these stories have been verified; many have not. In light of the confusion and uncertainty caused by these stories, I want to share with the Hornet Family the interim policy that outlines Sacramento State’s commitment to creating a safe environment on our campus for all of our Family, including our undocumented students.

At the request of the CSU Chancellor’s Office, we began work on this policy last semester; it reflects the standard practices already in use by the Sacramento State Police Department.

Safety on our campus is critically important, and we are committed to ensuring that our undocumented, international, and DACA students can continue their studies without fear. This commitment extends to all of our students, regardless of political persuasion, ethnicity, age, sex, gender, disability, religion, sexual identity, nationality, or documentation status. We must band together to protect and support one another.

You can view the policy here.

Our thoughts are with those affected by this dangerous situation

Feb. 12, 2017 - We have learned that residents of Oroville, Yuba City, Marysville, Yuba County, Sutter County, and Butte County, as well as the surrounding valley floor have been ordered to immediately evacuate the area in anticipation of the failure of the auxiliary spillway at Oroville Dam. If you live in the area, please immediately evacuate as directed by your local law enforcement.

Our thoughts are with the members of our Hornet Family who are affected by this extremely dangerous situation. The utmost priority at this time is their safety and well-being. I ask that in the coming days, we remain flexible and understanding, and that we do everything that we can to help our students, staff, and faculty who are affected by the uncertainty and danger of this emergency.

An evacuation center has been set up at the Silver Dollar Fairgrounds in Chico. The Elks Lodge in Paradise is also opening its RV park for free to evacuees. Please be safe, evacuate, and, if possible, stay in contact with your professors and supervisors as the situation develops. The Hornet Family stands by to assist in every way possible.

John Volek will join Sac State as interim director of athletics

Jan. 10, 2017 - It is my pleasure to announce that former Hornets head football coach John Volek has agreed to join Sacramento State as the Interim Director of Athletics, effective Jan. 12, 2017. Coach Volek, who led Sacramento State football from 1995 to 2002 and recently retired as the dean of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Athletics at Sierra College, will serve in the position until a permanent replacement has been appointed. I will be naming a search committee whose membership will include campus representatives as well as Sacramento regional business and community leaders. I expect the hiring process to be complete by March.

Coach Volek has deep ties to the region’s coaching fraternity. A graduate of Placer High School, he was recruited to play football at Sierra College from 1965 to 1967. He went on to earn a master’s degree in education in 1972 from the University of California, Riverside. He enjoyed a long football coaching career, with head coaching stints at Walla Walla Community College in Washington state in the mid-1980s, then at Fresno City College, before taking the head football coaching position for the Hornets in 1995. In 2003, he returned to Sierra College to become the dean of athletics. He has been inducted into the athletic halls of fame at Sierra College and Walla Walla.

Our commitment to student success at Sacramento State is unwavering, and that commitment includes a resolve to elevate our Division I athletics programs and achieve excellence across the board, both inside and outside the classroom. The search will be national as we seek to build on our past successes and position our student-athletes to compete and succeed at the NCAA Division I level. In this effort, I am pleased that a stellar member of our Hornet Family, Coach Volek, has agreed to oversee our 21 Division I athletics teams in the interim period. I hope that you will join me in welcoming him back to Sac State.

I would like to thank Bill Macriss for his leadership and passion as the Director of Athletics for the past two and a half years. He will continue to serve on the athletics executive leadership team as the Executive Associate Athletics Director for Operations and Facilities. During his tenure as AD, Bill has focused on upgrading Sac State’s athletic facilities. Recent improvements include resurfacing the baseball and softball fields, installing lights for the baseball stadium, upgrading locker rooms, and adding a new football scoreboard. Bill will continue to focus on enhancing facilities and streamlining operations in his new role.

Bill has been a member of the Hornet Family for 20 years, and during his time as Director of Athletics, the program has seen unprecedented success both on and off the field. In the classroom, the Hornets have achieved their highest grades in school history, with four semesters in a row of a combined GPA of over 3.0. In 2015-16, 173 Hornet athletes earned academic all-conference honors.

Moreover, in the 2014-15 season, the women’s and men’s basketball programs achieved a combined total of victories that was the highest in the school’s NCAA Division I history. And in 2015-16, Sacramento State won the Big Sky Conference Women’s All-Sports Trophy for the second straight year.

In the community, Hornet Athletics worked with Advancement to generate just over $1 million in a grass-roots fundraising campaign, Power of 1,000 Hornets, for a new Event Center. While fundraising has shown improvement in the past two and a half years, we need to ramp up our community support and create transformational change if we are going to truly elevate the athletics program.

Few members of the Hornet Family have demonstrated the passion and engagement that Bill and Holly Macriss have shown during their time here. I am proud of what Bill has achieved, and I look forward to working with him in his continued role in Hornet Athletics.

Dr. Ching-Hua Wang will become provost and VP of Academic Affairs

Dec. 20, 2016 - After a yearlong search, I am pleased to announce that Dr. Ching-Hua Wang has accepted the offer to join Sacramento State as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Dr. Wang is currently at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, where she has been the Dean of the School of Health and Natural Sciences since 2012.

Prior to her role at Dominican University, she was at California State University, Channel Islands (CSUCI). She was one of the original 13 faculty who were recruited to start CSUCI. At CSUCI, she secured $6 million in CIRM and HSI-STEM grants, and worked with international institutions to establish global partnerships. She served as the Program Director for the Bridges Stem Cell Research Training Program and as the Director of the Master of Science in Biotech and Bioinformatics Program. Dr. Wang also served as a Special Assistant to the Provost.

Dr. Wang brings with her an impressive list of accomplishments at Dominican University, where, in addition to being Dean, she was a Professor of Immunology and Microbiology. She managed all extramural grants on campus and raised $9.3 million from private sources and corporations. She will join our campus Feb. 1, and I am confident that she will help us continue to excel in our mission to provide a high-quality education for our students. I look forward to working together to improve our students’ time to degree and their research experiences. I am excited about Sacramento State’s future under her academic leadership.

With the appointment of Dr. Wang, I must also express my deepest gratitude to Interim Provost Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee. Mike stepped away from his role as CFO and Vice President for Administration to serve as Interim Provost while we conducted our search. In one short year, he has been able to drive substantial changes in Academic Affairs, including adding 12,000 seats and 384 sections this fall to ensure that our students got the classes that they needed. I am profoundly grateful for his commitment and leadership at Sacramento State. Mike is an incredible asset to the Hornet Family, and I look forward to our continued partnership when he resumes his role as CFO and Vice President for Administration.

Mike’s success in Academic Affairs would not have been possible without the support and leadership of Stacy Hayano, who stepped up as Interim CFO and Vice President for Administration in Mike’s absence. My greatest appreciation goes to Stacy and to the entire Administration and Business Affairs division for their understanding, patience, and commitment during this time.

Academic Affairs and Administration and Business Affairs have shown what it means to be a Hornet throughout this most recent year. I am excited for the next phase, and I ask that you please join me in welcoming Dr. Wang to our Hornet Family.

Let's use the Hornet Honor Code to heal

Dec. 12, 2016 - I have worked with words my whole life. What I know is that words really matter – they shape who we are, and they directly affect everyone who is touched by them.

I have watched words rip families and communities apart. I have seen students cry when someone has called another person “illegal.” No human is “illegal.” “Illegal” applies to actions, not to individuals.

I am writing this SacSend because a group of students asked me to write it, to help our community – our Hornet Family – understand that in this time of uncertainty, we need to care for each other more than ever. But I am also writing this out of an abundance of pride in the progress that we are making at Sac State. As we enter into the holiday season, I hope that we will celebrate that progress and commit to continuing to “redefine the possible.”

For much of the past year, a committee has worked diligently to create a Hornet Honor Code, and we will begin the process of instituting it in the coming spring semester. The committee members understand that words and actions matter, and they understand that we want our campus to be a place where everyone, regardless of ethnicity, age, religion, sexual identity, political persuasion, or documentation or the lack of documentation, belongs.

The Hornet Honor Code is the result of a campus-wide collaboration to guide us as we establish our Hornet identity – indeed, as we bond as a Hornet family.

As proud members and representatives of the Sacramento State Hornet community, we commit ourselves to actively promoting honesty, integrity, respect, and care for every person, ensuring a welcoming campus environment, and striving to help every member of our Hornet Family feel a strong sense of belonging.

As Hornets, we will:

  • Promote an inclusive campus and community.
  • Listen and respect each other’s thoughts, interests, and views.
  • Value diversity and learn from one another.
  • Engage daily with mutual trust, care, and integrity.
  • Support a culture of honor and adhere to campus policies for honesty, ethics, and conduct.
  • Be proud to be Sac State Hornets.

The Hornet Honor Code is more than words – although these words truly matter. The Hornet Honor Code is more than “lip service.” The Hornet Honor Code is a commitment.

We are entering finals week. Every student deserves to feel safe on campus. No student should be taunted or suffer verbal abuse. No one should yell at a fellow student, telling him or her to “Go back to Mexico” or that “All Muslims are terrorists.” No one should inappropriately label someone “illegal.” Likewise, no one should shout the word “racist” in retaliation or use the “N-word” out of hate or fear. Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, and it is protected, but no one, especially no cadet from Sac State’s ROTC program, should be subject to verbal abuse and be spat upon while just walking between classes. All of these incidents actually occured on our campus this year.

The University Staff Assembly and Associated Students, Inc. (our student government) have endorsed the Hornet Honor Code, as has the Administrative Council and the President’s Cabinet. As 2017 rolls out, we will be taking the Hornet Honor Code to other constituencies, including the Faculty Senate. We also will be using it as a guide at our faculty, staff, and student orientations. The Hornet Honor Code must be central to the very core of our Hornet Identity.

Our country may be fragmented, but our Hornet Honor Code can – and will – bind us together as we “transform the lives of our students for leadership, service, and success.” Rather than using words as weapons to hurt others, let’s use the Hornet Honor Code to heal.

With the inauguration pending in January, the uncertainty over the status of our undocumented students and their families, as well as the future of our Muslim faculty, staff, and students, is greatly heightened. I ask that we treat each other with the compassion that every human deserves, and I sincerely hope that as a campus, we can stop using words such as “illegal” that so deeply wound so many members of our Hornet Family.

To our students and faculty, I wish you well during the final days of the semester. And to the entire Hornet Family, I hope that you have a safe and happy winter break. I look forward to the start of the new year as we roll out the Hornet Honor Code. Stingers Up!

We will always be strongest when we work together

Nov. 9, 2016 - Like many of you, the results of last night’s election were for me unexpected. I am proud of the diversity and inclusiveness at Sacramento State, and I do not want our ideals and values threatened by this election, regardless of which candidate you supported. I am deeply troubled by much of the rhetoric that has come out of the campaign, and I fear that it has emboldened some to act in hateful and hurtful ways. We must continue to be kind to each other and not let the divisiveness of this election change who we are and what we believe. Our commitment to an inclusive and safe campus must be stronger than ever as we prepare for new leadership in our country.

As a public university, our right of free speech and the right to peacefully protest are protected by the First Amendment. We are a diverse campus, and our opinions and beliefs will often be in conflict. We must create and ensure safe and civil spaces for these opinions to be expressed and debated. I encourage you to listen, participate, and engage in these exchanges of ideas and perspectives. Despite our differences, we are still a Hornet Family, and we will always be strongest when we work together. We must honor each other and stand in solidarity with the members of our community who feel afraid, unsafe, or threatened. While many of us may feel uncertain about what may come, I can assure you that the University will be here to listen and offer support.

For those of you who may need additional support during this time, I encourage you to use the services and resources below.

Students should visit our Counseling Services at The WELL or contact them at 916-278-6461. We have counselors ready to help.

Faculty and staff should contact our University Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-367-7474 or online on our Human Resources website.

Information on how to identify and assist students in distress may be found on the Red Folder website, or you can find information for downloading an app for mobile devices here.

As President Obama noted this morning, “We’re not Democrats first. We're not Republicans first. We are Americans first.” And as I said above, we are also a Hornet Family, and we will not let this election divide us or impede the important work that we are doing at Sacramento State to ensure that our University is welcoming and inclusive for all.

Oct. 27, 2016 - Over the summer, we revised our policies on time, place, and manner for speech and speech-related activities to make them clearer and easier to understand. We have updated several sections and clarified certain policies, such as those surrounding the rules for chalking on campus. The procedures have been consolidated into one document to make it easier for the campus community to know what is permitted and what is not permitted on our campus.

I encourage everyone to take some time to review the document and to familiarize themselves with the policies. It is our responsibility to protect the rights of free speech and peaceful protest on our campus, but we also must participate in such activities in a safe, respectful, and responsible manner as outlined in the policies. You can review the new policies and the accompanying procedures on our website.

A group with large, graphic images of fetuses is on campus today

Oct. 18, 2016 - After receiving complaints and messages of concern yesterday, I feel that it is important to let you know that a group with large, graphic images of fetuses is continuing to protest on our campus today near the library quad. If these images are upsetting to you and if you feel that they are as inappropriate as I do, then I encourage you to avoid that area. While the University does not take a position on these issues and honors the sacred privileges of the First Amendment, I personally do not condone this group's approach. Sacramento State, however, is a public space, and this group has a right to be present on our campus and to exercise their right to free speech. As a campus and as administrators, we will respect that right.

Concerned students who have been particularly disturbed by these graphic images should seriously consider visiting our Counseling Services in the WELL or contacting them at 916-278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you.

Concerned faculty and staff should contact our University Employee Assistance Program (EAP) at 1-800-367-7474 or online on our Human Resources website.

I am constituting a task force to develop a signature Literacy wWek

Oct. 17, 2016 - In collaboration with the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders (CSAD), I am constituting a Task Force to develop a signature Literacy Week at Sacramento State in spring 2017. Dr. Robert Pieretti and Dr. Celeste Roseberry-McKibbin from CSAD will co-chair the group. The purpose of the Task Force is to expand and bring even more awareness to the need for literacy development for children ages 3 to 12 in our community, to highlight the varying efforts that already exist here, and to unite our faculty and students in supporting literacy development in the greater Sacramento area.

The Task Force will be charged to design and develop a weeklong annual spring literacy event on our campus that highlights current research and best practices, bringing children, families, professionals, and politicians to Sacramento State to participate in engaging activities that promote literacy development at home and at school.

We already have several individuals who have volunteered to serve on the Task Force and who have done outstanding work in our community in the areas of language development and literacy, but to include input from the many important shareholders in literacy development (Education, Deaf Education, Child Development, Speech-Language Pathology, School Psychology, Special Education, Arts and Letters, and all areas of the University), I am asking for more participants from across the campus. We cannot be successful without broad representation and accumulated knowledge of all disciplines. The families in our community need you.

If you would like to nominate yourself or others, please send an email indicating your interest to pres-02@csus.edu by November 5.

i am constituting a Task Force on Housing and Food Security

Sept. 22, 2016 - At the suggestion of ASI President Patrick Dorsey and in collaboration with Student Affairs and the Chancellor’s Office, I am constituting a Task Force on Housing and Food Security. The purpose of the Task Force is to expand and bring awareness to the need for social welfare programs on campus while coordinating the varying efforts that already exist here. The coordination will ensure that we are not duplicating services and that our campus is united in providing for the needs of our students.

The Task Force will be organized into subcommittees that focus on specific issues that our students face. No student should be hungry or without a safe place to live, and I hope that, through the work of this Task Force, we are able to start finding solutions to these serious issues.

While we already have several individuals on the Task Force who have done excellent work around food and housing insecurity among our students, I am asking for more volunteers from the campus community. We cannot be successful unless we have broad representation and buy-in. Our students need you. If you would like to nominate yourself or others, please send an email indicating your interest to pres-02@csus.edu by October 5.

We must be leaders in giving

Sept. 21, 2016 - It is that time of year when the Hornet Family manifests who we are to the community in which we work and live by giving through the Our Promise campaign. Last year, the Sac State family gave almost $60,000 to local charities, and this year I hope that we can raise $100,000. We are leaders in the region, and we must be leaders in giving. Please join Jody and me in signing up for the Our Promise payroll deduction, showing Sac State’s support of this vibrant and beautiful region.

This year, I will be making a special donation to honor Hornet Don Nahhas's son. Don works in Risk Management, and his son, Josh, passed away from liver failure in August. Their church is raising money in his memory to create backpacks for homeless people in the area and homeless students at Hiram Johnson High School. The Our Promise Campaign allows you to contribute to any 501(c)(3) nonprofit. I will be writing in Winners Church Inc, 3940 60th Street, Sacramento, CA 95820, tax ID number: 46-1577468. Jody will be making her own choices about what organizations and causes to support. I hope that you can find a cause that moves you.

From my heart to yours, I thank you for your generous giving, and I look forward to the impact the Hornet Family will make in the community.

Together we will ensure the success of our students

Sept. 15, 2016 - As part of our effort to strengthen our role as California’s capital university, you have heard me time and again focus on increasing our four-year graduation rates. Not surprisingly, Governor Brown has tasked all CSU campuses with creating plans to improve student success, and Sac State was fortunate to receive $2.6 million to support our efforts this year. But I must note and express my gratitude that much work has already been done on campus as part of the Graduation Initiative 2025.

We all know that every year beyond four years in college leads to extra expenses and, often, debt for our students. Extra years don’t necessarily add up to a better education, and they certainly don’t ensure a secure pathway to a successful life.

Beginning this October, we will be launching the KEYS to Degree Toolbox (Kit to Empower Your Success). As part of the Student Success & Completion Initiative and the “Finish in Four” campaign, the KEYS to Degree Toolbox will connect existing advising tools and debut the newest advising tool – Smart Planner – which will make it easier for students, faculty, and advisors to plan for timely graduation.

This integrated approach will not only support our students and the faculty/advisors serving them but will also simplify their day-to-day interactions. The monumental effort to create the KEYS to Degree Toolbox came from dedicated staff and faculty from across the campus. I am extremely grateful for the hard work of everyone involved; it will make the process of planning, scheduling, enrolling, assessing, and ultimately graduating – quite simply – smarter.

The KEYS to Degree Toolbox will be rolled out in phases beginning in October, with more majors being added throughout the year. I invite you to learn more at the KEYS to Degree website. With a renewed sense of purpose this semester, together, we will ensure the success of our students.

I want to thank Larry Gilbert for his technology efforts on campus

Sept. 14, 2016 - Larry Gilbert, Vice President for Information Resources and Technology and Chief Information Officer, has decided to retire, effective this month. Larry joined Sacramento State in February 2007 as the Chief Information Officer. Due to significant additional responsibilities and an increased focus on the critical role of information technology in higher education, the title of “Vice President” was added in summer 2007.

Before joining Sacramento State, Larry served in senior information technology management roles at Western University; the University of Nevada, Reno; and the College of William and Mary. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary, and both an Ed.S. and Ph.D. from Indiana University in Instructional Systems Technology and Political Science.

One of the major achievements of Larry’s tenure was the creation of the Academic Computing Resources (ACR) unit in 2007. ACR focuses on supporting students and faculty with the use of technology both inside and outside the classroom. He has been heavily involved in the Accessible Technology Initiative to implement measures to improve the accessibility of websites, instructional materials, and the procurement of information technology. Larry has served as an active member of the President’s Cabinet and has consistently displayed a passion for making technology higher quality and easier to use for everyone on campus.

Larry has been a strong leader on campus, and I want to thank him for his efforts to make our campus more technologically advanced. I wish him the very best in the next phase of his life.

Christine Miller, current Administrator in Charge for Information Resources and Technology, has graciously agreed to step up as the Interim Vice President for Information Resources and Technology and Chief Information Officer. Christine joined Sacramento State in September 2014 from the University of Georgia, where she was the Assistant Dean and IT Executive Director for the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences. She brings 20 years of experience working in information technology, academic technology, and higher education.

Christine holds a bachelor’s degree in English, a master’s in Instructional Technology, and a doctorate in Higher Education, all from the University of Georgia. In her current role at Sacramento State, she serves as the IRT sponsor for Smart Planner, Platinum Analytics, and other student and academic success projects. I look forward to collaborating with Christine as we all work to improve technology at Sac State. A search committee is being constituted for a search for a new Vice President for Information Resources and Technology and Chief Information Officer.

We still need to address salary compression and keep our promise

Sept. 12, 2016 - As I mentioned in my Fall Address, we still need to address salary compression and keep our promise to the staff that we would follow through on the equity program that began last year.

This next phase of the equity program, the second of a three-year plan, will continue to address salary compression issues for the targeted group of staff employees from last year, as long as they are still eligible based on number of years of service in current classification/skill level and current salary in comparison with the targeted percentile of their salary range.

Staff who continue to meet the eligibility because their salaries are below the targeted percentile may be awarded with a permanent raise, on average, of $1,800. As before, some staff may receive less than $1,800 if the difference between their current salary and the targeted quartile is less than $1,800. Additionally, because this staff equity program is a management-initiated in-range progression, some individuals may receive more than $1,800 so that we can fulfill the requirements of the collective bargaining agreements.

The effective date for this equity increase will be Sept. 1.

If the campus budget remains constant, we hope to be able to replicate this program for 2017-2018 and provide additional incremental increases of up to $1,800 annually for those who still are below their targeted quartile. Questions about the program and its implementation should be directed to the Classification and Compensation unit in the Office of Human Resources, extension 8-6078. (Additional information about the Staff Equity Program can be found on our Human Resources website.)

I sincerely appreciate everything you are doing to advance Sacramento State and to make the campus a great place to work.

We have a moral duty to be a beacon of light and hope

Sept. 6, 2016 - As a new academic year begins, I want to welcome the newest members of our Hornet Family as well as our returning students, faculty, and staff. With our largest enrollment ever and 41 new full-time faculty on board, we are preparing for an outstanding year here at Sacramento State.

During my Fall Address to the campus, I laid out four imperatives that will be focal points for the coming year. The first imperative is reducing the time to degree for students. In the coming months, you will hear more about the “Finish in Four” campaign to provide incentives to students who sign the pledge to take 15 units. But we must never forget that life and responsibilities often get in the way of education. So let’s all be there for everyone, no matter how long it may take to complete the degree. After all, what we all want is for our students to graduate with a first-rate, highest-quality education.

The second imperative is markedly increasing diversity, inclusion, and equity in our student body, faculty, and staff. Our faculty, staff, and administration must reflect our student body, and our student body must reflect our region. And we must adopt the Hornet Honor Code to ensure that every member of our Hornet Family feels a strong sense of belonging on our campus.

Philanthropic giving is the third imperative. We must significantly increase giving if we are going to double our scholarships and obtain funding for the science building. We all know that money does not grow on trees, and I want to thank University Advancement again for surpassing our fundraising goal by almost $5 million. I see an events center in our future as well as state-of-the-art buildings, labs, and classrooms.

The fourth imperative is community collaboration. By working with our schools and our community, we can significantly decrease the number of students who need to do remedial work, and we can improve the health of our community. We need more college graduates in the Sacramento region, and Sac State can provide them.

We are just a week into the semester, and believe me, I have heard about the troubles with parking. I understand how difficult the situation is, and I wish that I had the perfect solution. I’d like to remind everyone that our remote Ramona parking lot is open and has plenty of spaces available, and that we are running shuttles regularly back and forth from the parking lot. Also, I encourage those who can to use alternative transportation – especially bikes. Construction is starting in the spring on a new 1,750-space parking structure, but if everyone is coming to our landlocked campus in his or her own car, we will never have enough spaces.

I also want to invite the campus to visit the remodeled, virtually new Dining Commons when it opens in mid-September. The Dining Commons will have 10 food stations with different cuisines at each and a diverse menu of new, healthy food options. What a huge improvement since my days of living in the “dorms.”

Finally, as we get closer to the November election and as tensions and passions rise, I ask us to remember that, first and foremost, we are a Hornet Family, and we must respect each other and each other’s opinions. The violence that I see on the news, and the bigotry and hate that I hear deeply sadden me, and I am sure that you are equally affected. We will have many difficult conversations over the next few months, but I believe that the difficult conversations that we have at universities are among the most important experiences in higher education.

Despite our differences, I am asking that we be civil. We can and will disagree while at the same time continuing to care and look out for our fellow Hornets. While our University values freedom of speech, we are committed to maintaining a safe and welcoming campus for all, and that remains our resolve. We have a moral duty to be a beacon of light and hope for our region, our community, and each other here at Sacramento State. I hope that you have a wonderful fall semester. Stingers Up!

With approval of the 2016-17 state budget, I remain optimistic

Aug. 4, 2016 - The Governor recently signed the 2016-17 Budget Act for the State of California. This year’s budget provides the California State University system with $154 million in additional permanent baseline funding beyond last year’s CSU system budget. This additional funding is based upon targeted enrollment growth and will support mandatory costs (including employer-paid benefits and the majority of the increases in faculty and staff salaries), student success and completion initiatives, and other system-wide priorities. More specifically, this allocation supports a total resident enrollment growth of 5,194 additional full-time equivalent students (FTES). For Sacramento State, our targeted enrollment growth is 1.3 percent (292 FTES) for a total of 22,837 resident FTES.

To meet the needs of our faculty, staff, and students, our campus will need to budget resources beyond the targeted 1.3 percent enrollment growth. Hence, for 2016-17, we will be budgeting student fee revenues based on a 1.9 percent resident enrollment growth model, or 427 FTES. With this increase in enrollment, our fee revenue for 2016-17 will be $152,355,000, which, when combined with our state appropriation of $144,684,837, will produce a campus budget of $297,039,837 for the coming year.

Unfortunately, even though we have budgeted student fee revenues beyond the targeted FTES, we estimate that our 2016-17 expenditures will exceed our available resources. Our total projected expenditures are $298,499,825. Because a portion of the faculty and staff compensation increases is not fully funded by the state, all campuses had to self-fund the difference. For Sacramento State, this self-funding of salary increases has created a budget deficit of approximately $1.46 million.

In order to achieve a balanced budget, our projected uses of funds (i.e., projected expenditures) for 2016-17 must match our projected sources of funds – the aforementioned $297,039,837. Although we have tried to mitigate the deficit by budgeting beyond target, reductions will be necessary in order to balance the budget. Therefore, each division will be allocated 1.03 percent less than it was allocated in its 2015-16 initial baseline budget. Because we fully understand that Academic Affairs is a key factor in addressing our “Finish in Four” campaign and in providing sufficient sections for our students, we are allocating $1,000,160 in increased funding for student success and completion initiatives and enrollment growth in order to offset the reduction to Academic Affairs’ baseline budget.

A summary of the University’s final budget for the 2016-17 General Operating Fund is provided on our website.

As for the All University Expenses (AUE), I concur with UBAC’s recommendations. It is important to note that UBAC did not allocate any one-time project funds for 2016-17 from our reserves as it has done in the past. This year, our campus’s central reserves are needed to help provide the funding for the Science II building ($20 million) until donations are secured.

I greatly appreciate the work of UBAC and the Office of Budget Planning and Administration in preparing this year’s budget, and I remain optimistic about our future. We have seen and will rightly continue to see increases in faculty and staff salaries on our campus, and we will continue to work together to support our students and to graduate them on time.

We must come together as a campus to talk about these terrible events

July 14, 2016 - Last week’s alarming and senseless deaths in Louisiana, Minnesota, and Dallas have weighed heavily on our hearts. Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, Lorne Ahrens, Michael Krol, Michael Smith, Brent Thompson, and Patrick Zamarripa should not have been killed. They were fathers, sons, brothers, and friends to many people. As a longtime resident of Dallas, I was heartbroken and horrified to learn of the loss of so many lives. As an American, I am devastated to see that Black lives are still being treated as less precious and valuable than other lives in this country.

It is important that we come together as a campus to talk about these issues and address these terrible events. On Monday, July 18 at 11:30 a.m. in the WELL Terrace Suite, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center, the PRIDE Center, the Centers for Diversity and Inclusion, and the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will host “Healing and Unification: A Dialogue of Support Regarding Recent Community Concerns.”

I encourage everyone to join us for this important conversation so that we can be leaders of change as we confront prejudice, hatred, and the dehumanization of Black lives in this country. We must come together as a Hornet Family not only to provide support, but also to love and protect one another.

We must unite to support each other and stop the killing

June 13, 2016 - At Sacramento State, in California, in Florida, and in our world, there is no room for hate. The horrific tragedy in Orlando should never have happened. Innocent people lost their lives. Our nation is deeply wounded. Families and friends are suffering. Hearts are irrevocably broken. We have seen these tragedies all too frequently – in Paris and Brussels, and here in California in San Bernardino.

We must embrace and unite to support each other but, more importantly, to prevent the killing. Universities exist to create a better world. Sacramento State’s mission is “... to transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success.” Let all of us – faculty, staff, students, and friends – be leaders in making this world, Sacramento, and our University a safe environment for all. Let’s use our classrooms, our lecture halls, and our offices to foster positive dialogue that will help all religions, ethnicities, races, genders, and sexual orientations understand one another. We need to be leaders in creating a safer world. We have to believe that we can prevent what happened in Orlando from happening again. We also must believe and work to ensure that what happened in the horrific sexual assault at Stanford can be prevented, even stopped. We have to stop hate crimes, and we have to stop terroristic violence.

As we mourn with those who lost so much in Orlando, I am asking that we reach out as a Hornet Family to those in Florida, to all victims, to all who need us. People are in hospitals in Orlando fighting for their lives – let our souls be with them.

Obviously, the horror that we have witnessed in these recent days is hard to process, let alone understand. Sacramento State’s counseling services are there to help. Please call (916) 278-6461 if you need to speak to someone. And please, if you ever experience anything on campus that makes you feel unwelcome or unsafe, contact faculty, staff, or the campus police immediately.

During the next few days and throughout the coming year, we will be looking for ways for the Hornet Family to come together and truly create a better world. Let us all join together to stop the violence.

I am honored to award Payam Hojjat the President's Medal

May 17, 2016 - As President, I have the honor of selecting one of the recipients of the Dean’s Award to receive the President’s Medal. The Dean’s Award honors one outstanding student from each college who exemplifies academic excellence, community involvement, and engagement within his or her college and on campus. Many of these students have overcome incredible odds and heartbreaking experiences to earn their degree. I was honored to meet and hear the stories of Dean’s Awardees Stephanie Gin (Arts and Letters), Payam Hojjat (Business Administration), Nicole Hunter (Education), Christopher Potts (Engineering and Computer Science), Melissa Bardo (Natural Sciences and Mathematics), Jennifer Herring (Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies), and Maricela Cortes (Health and Human Services). Each exemplifies what it means to be a Hornet, and we could not be more proud of them.

Out of these extraordinary students, I selected Payam Hojjat from the College of Business Administration to receive the President’s Medal. Payam was proclaimed a genius at the age of 8 and was set on the fast track to move through the educational system. At age 10, he began having seizures due to abnormal brain activity, and in the next few months, he experienced 72 grand mal seizures. He did not know his own name, and millions of his brain cells died with each seizure. It is a miracle that Payam survived.

Payam clearly has a natural talent and intellect, but it is his effort and determination to relearn and retrain his brain that makes his story incredible. He spent years in the hospital, but managed to complete high school in just two years. It takes him two to three times longer than other students to complete his schoolwork and understand the concepts he learns in class, but that did not stop him. Through his own force of will and with the help of his faculty and the Office of Services to Students with Disabilities, he has persevered through constant frustration and endless hours of extra studying time to graduate.

Although he has earned a high GPA and will graduate with honors, his achievements are not limited to academics. Payam served as President of the Management Information Systems Association and was one of the founders of the Sufi Psychology Association. He also gives back to the community as a soccer referee for youth programs. Payam will graduate Saturday with his bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems. After graduation, he plans to earn both his master’s degree and doctorate, and he hopes to return to Sac State and teach in order to give back to the students here in the way that his teachers gave to him.

Sac State is filled with thousands of stories of courageous students who are determined to get an education despite true hardship and incredible challenges. I am honored to award Payam Hojjat the President’s Medal, and I know that he will continue to make us proud as a member of the Sac State alumni.

With this new building, we are delivering on our promise downtown

May 17, 2016 - Today we made a historic move into downtown Sacramento with the purchase of a three-story building at 304 S St. As part of our effort to strengthen our role as California’s capital university, the space will house Sacramento State’s planned School of Public Affairs.

The purchase is about more than just brick and mortar. Expanding the University into downtown will allow more students to get the classes they need to graduate on time and to succeed in their careers.

University Enterprises Inc. (UEI), a nonprofit auxiliary of Sacramento State, bought the structure a few blocks southwest of the State Capitol for approximately $5.4 million. No state funds were used in the purchase. The 30,610-square-foot building, constructed in 1990, comes with 75 parking spaces.

The establishment of a downtown School of Public Affairs is exciting for both Sac State and the city of Sacramento. The dream of a downtown campus was born during the presidency of Don Gerth, developed during the tenure of former President Alexander Gonzalez, and is now a reality.

The city, the mayor, our public policy alumni group, and the citizens of Sacramento have been asking for Sac State to establish a presence downtown, and we are now #MakingItHappenAtSacState. We are the capital’s university and, with this new building, we are delivering on the promise to offer programs and courses near the State Capitol and City Hall.

The School of Public Affairs would be home to several signature government-related programs, including the Center for Collaborative Policy, the Institute for Social Research (ISR), and the Capital Fellows Programs, along with the master’s-level courses in urban land development, and public policy and administration.

Classes could be held at the new campus as early as this fall. The semester begins Aug. 29. A ribbon-cutting ceremony for the school will be held later this year.

Political leaders are praising our move into the downtown area:

  • Mayor Kevin Johnson: “To be a great city, you must have a great downtown, and you can’t have a great downtown without a university presence. We couldn’t be more pleased by President Nelsen's plan to establish a Sacramento State campus in our downtown, creating an economic boon for our region and our workforce. This campus will bring a new energy, vibrancy, and spirit, and will add to the incredible momentum we’re experiencing."
  • Congresswoman Doris Matsui: “Today’s announcement further solidifies Sacramento State’s role as a leading academic, cultural, and policymaking institution in our region. Having the School of Public Affairs downtown will place students, faculty, and staff at the intersection of the exciting growth and activity happening in our state’s capital. I know that the collaboration, learning, and innovation that will take place in the School of Public Affairs will leave its mark on our growing downtown community.”
  • Assembly member Kevin McCarty: “A downtown Sacramento State campus is great news for Sacramento. The ability for working professionals to be close to their campus, and for the downtown core to host our local state university is a win-win. I know this firsthand as a graduate of Sacramento State’s master’s program and as a public policy professional.”

Until now, the University’s downtown presence was largely limited to the Center for Collaborative Policy.

Potentially joining the center, ISR, and Capital Fellows Programs at the new school are: the Project for an Informed Electorate (PIE), the Sacramento Semester Program, and the Government Department Internship Program. The Center for California Studies, which administers the Capital Fellows Programs, will remain on the University’s main campus.

Also expected to have a presence at the new school are the College of Continuing Education, the Master’s of Business Administration for Executives program, the Center for Small Business, and the Education Insights Center. Some undergraduate government classes related to California politics also may move downtown.

“I view the School of Public Affairs project as Sac State’s pathway to living into its mission to truly be the capital university,” says Örn Bodvarsson, dean of the College of Social Sciences and Interdisciplinary Studies (SSIS).

UEI provides programs and services that enrich the Sacramento State experience and support the University community’s evolving needs. In addition to property services, such as the Julia Morgan House Event and Conference Center, UEI oversees research grants and contracts, the California Intern Network, the Hornet Bookstore, the Upper Eastside Lofts, and campus food services.

This is an exciting step for our University and for the City of Sacramento.

Come together to build the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

April 28, 2016 - I am excited to announce that Dr. Robin Carter has accepted the role of Interim Executive Director of Diversity. She will begin work on July 1 with the Diversity Task Force to create the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

Dr. Carter is “Made at Sac State,” earning both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work here. She also earned a master’s degree and doctorate in public administration from the University of Southern California. She began her career in social services before transitioning to academia.

For the past five years, Dr. Carter has served the College of Health and Human Services as the Associate Dean. She spent nine and a half years as the Department Chair for the Division of Social Work and has been a professor here since 1989. She has researched and published extensively on diversity issues within the field of social work. Dr. Carter brings both the administrative experience necessary to establish the office and the passion and empathy required to make the office impactful here at Sacramento State.

While I have complete faith and trust in Dr. Carter’s ability to establish a robust and effective Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, she cannot do it alone. The Hornet family must come together now more than ever to build a strong Office of E

Use this moment to move the conversation to a more beneficial level

April 19, 2016 - This weekend at Sacramento State, the Center for African Peace and Conflict Resolution (CAPCR) is hosting the 25th annual Africa/Diaspora Conference. This conference has provided 25 years of service to aid and assist the people of Africa. The work of the center and of the attendees at the conference is important not only to our University, but to the world.

This year’s theme is “Peace & Conflict Resolution in Africa, 25 Years Later: Lessons, Best Practices, and Opportunities.” The keynote speaker for the evening awards dinner will be Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, the former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was selected as a keynote speaker because of his successful and peaceful transition of power to the new democratic leadership. His willingness to step down peacefully upon his defeat in the election is a rare move in the region and an important example of the goals of CAPCR.

Dr. Jonathan’s visit to our campus has received both support and opposition. Even though the purpose of his talk is to discuss peaceful transitions of power and democratic reform, his visit will be difficult and even painful for many members of our community, including myself. While Dr. Jonathan is certainly a worthy example of peaceful transitions of power, his presidency also included the signing of the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act in 2014. This law established the penalty of imprisonment for gay marriages, relationships, or membership in any gay societies or organizations. Additionally, those with knowledge of LGBTQIA individuals may be imprisoned. This law is still in effect today. Personally, I find the legislation that was passed in Nigeria to be more than abhorrent – it is a travesty against humankind that must be rectified. I hope that Sacramento State can in some way be, at the very least, a catalyst for that change.

I believe strongly in respect, compromise, mediation, and tolerance – all core values not only of Sacramento State, but also of CAPCR. And as I have stated in my previous messages to campus, I am firmly committed to creating an inclusive and safe environment for all of our students. The intentions behind and the consequences of the legislation passed in Nigeria do not align with our mission or our vision here at Sac State, and Dr. Jonathan’s presence on our campus should in no way indicate that we, as a Hornet Family, condone what is happening in Nigeria because of the passage of these laws.

We have received many messages of concern from both the campus and the Sacramento community regarding his visit, and I understand that his legacy is a painful one that is still imprisoning people today. His visit will be problematic for many members and allies of the LGBTQIA community, and it is extremely problematic for me. It is difficult for me to understand how someone can stand for peace when it does not include the inherent human rights of safety and security in religion, partner, sex, race, ethnicity, creed, and gender. But after hearing from people across campus, the community, and CAPCR, we have concluded that Dr. Jonathan’s visit can provide us with the opportunity to raise awareness and bring attention to the need for human rights and awareness of LGBTQIA issues in Africa.

Dr. Jonathan’s Chief of Staff has agreed to meet with representatives from the campus and the community to specifically discuss U.S. and African relations regarding LGBTQIA issues. After his keynote address on Saturday night, Dr. Jonathan has also agreed to answer questions from the audience, including questions about Nigeria’s LGBTQIA legislation. I do want to note that Dr. Jonathan is not receiving an award at the event; he is only speaking. Because the event is a banquet, the event is not free. CAPCR has agreed to pay for concerned students who have expressed a desire to attend.

We are at yet another teachable moment at Sacramento State. On each and every campus in America, difficult conversations such as the one that is happening now should take place. I don't think that any of us yet knows what the lesson plan for this teachable moment should or will be. We must develop the plan together, and we must do so now. With the leadership of the soon-to-be-announced Executive Director of the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, we will be convening student, faculty, staff, and community leaders to find ways to create a richer and deeper dialogue about human rights and freedom of choice for all people.

Universities must be a space where free speech is actively encouraged. I ask that we treat Dr. Jonathan and all others at the conference with respect. My hope is that our campus can use this difficult moment to move the conversation to a much more beneficial level, for our campus and for Africa. I believe that we will be able to do so because the 2017 CAPCR conference theme of “Power, Peace, and Vulnerability” will include a focus on LGBTQIA rights in Africa. Let us start the momentum this year, so that next year’s conference will be more impactful than ever.

While we may not agree with or support Dr. Jonathan’s decisions as President, I hope that we turn this situation into an opportunity to show Dr. Jonathan what peace means to us, to our Hornet Family. As a Hornet Family, let’s come together to support each other and share our vision for a truly democratic world where we all have the right to love whom we freely choose to love.

We remain committed to an inclusive and safe environment

March 11, 2016 - Earlier this week, a U.S. Customs and Border Patrol vehicle was seen on campus. I want to assure students, staff, and faculty that there are no immigration enforcement activities occurring on our campus regarding undocumented students.

Sacramento State has a long history of partnerships with local, state, and federal government agencies. These partnerships allow for student internships, research, and career opportunities in a wide range of public service fields. We have confirmed that the aforementioned vehicle was here as part of a physical fitness test for potential federal employees. It was not here in association with any operations of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency.

Sac State's diversity and inclusivity are its strengths. We learn from one another, and an important part of that learning comes from our differing backgrounds and life experiences. I understand that this sighting was an alarming experience for many. While our campus is a public space, safety is always our utmost priority. I can assure you that this vehicle does not and did not pose a threat to the campus or your safety. We remain committed to maintaining an inclusive and safe environment.

Helping ensure that Sac State stays in compliance with disability laws

March 4, 2016 - We are pleased to announce that Michael Paravagna has been retained to facilitate the University’s Americans with Disabilities Act self-evaluation as mandated by the Act and California state law. Mr. Paravagna has twice been appointed by Governor Brown to serve on the California Commission on Disability Access. He also is a Sacramento State alumnus. Mr. Paravagna’s guidance will help ensure that the University remains in compliance with federal/state disability civil rights laws.

Mr. Paravagna will assist the University in assessing its current programs, services, and activities to ensure that they are readily accessible to and usable by persons with disabilities. It is incumbent on the University to correct any policy or practice that adversely affects the full participation of individuals with disabilities in its programs, activities, and services.

Your cooperation and support of this effort are much appreciated. Departments will be expected to complete a survey questionnaire and meet with Mr. Paravagna as appropriate. Policies identified as necessary to this process must be provided to the consultant. Additionally, if you are identified as part of the faculty and staff having information concerning prior measures taken by the University to address disability civil rights, it may be necessary for Mr. Paravagna to meet with you regarding your institutional knowledge.

Public comment sessions are tentatively set for Fall 2016. Mr. Paravagna’s full report will be available to the public and will include a work plan that will be utilized to implement any changes necessary to reach our end goal of barrier-free access to persons with disabilities.

Thank you for your support of this important project. I am certain that no one within our University community would ever rest easy if we were knowingly operating out of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

I am reopening applications for executive director of diversity

March 1, 2016 - After receiving feedback from individuals across campus and from members of the Diversity Task Force, I have decided to reopen the application period for the Interim Executive Director of Diversity and provide some clarification on the role.

The position is a one-year appointment that will require someone with strong leadership skills who can establish an Office of Diversity and work with the Diversity Task Force to transition ideas into the structure and function of the office. While the individual who accepts this interim role may apply for the permanent position of Executive Director of Diversity, we will be conducting a national search to hire someone for the permanent position. Furthermore, the title of the office or the position may change depending on the recommendations of the Interim Executive Director in consultation with the Diversity Task Force.

Although we wish to start the Interim Executive Director of Diversity as soon as possible, for the right candidate, I am willing to work to transition someone who has an appointment or teaching commitment that lasts through the end of this semester. The person who fills this interim role will have a full-time 12-month appointment and will not be able to make any outside commitments (such as teaching) during the period in which they serve as the Interim Executive Director of Diversity.

We already have a strong pool of candidates, and if you sent your CV/resume previously, you do not need to resubmit your materials. I am not reopening the application period based on a lack of qualified applicants, but on an expressed need to provide additional details for those who did not apply due to a lack of information.

If you are interested in this position and are currently employed at Sacramento State, please send your CV/resume in an email to pres-02@csus.edu by 5 p.m. Friday, March 18. Thank you for your support of this initiative, and I look forward to working with each of you to make our campus an inclusive place for all of our students, faculty, and staff.

If a strike occurs, all of the CSU's campuses will remain open

Feb. 19, 2016 - As you are no doubt aware, the California Faculty Association (CFA) recently announced plans for a potential strike at all 23 California State University (CSU) campuses April 13-15 and April 18-19, 2016. CSU representatives have not been able to reach a salary agreement with the CFA through the collective bargaining process. While we remain committed to the process and hopeful about its outcome, our campus leadership team and many others throughout the University have been planning for the possibility of a strike. I want to provide you with some important information.

I want to assure you that if a strike occurs, our campus, and all of the CSU’s campuses, will remain open. While some classes may be canceled, many classes will be held. Students are advised to check with their instructors about their individual class schedules, and if your class is scheduled, you should attend. We anticipate all campus operations and administrative services will be available and scheduled events will be held. A partial calendar of campus events, updated regularly, can be found on the University’s home page. The campus will remain open to students, staff, and the public. Our University Police personnel will be serving the campus to ensure a safe environment for all, which is always one of our primary goals.

The strike should not interfere with students being able to complete their courses and graduate on time. Faculty who strike will generally arrange for assigned reading or other work if their classes are canceled.

If a strike does occur, it is important to note the following:
– No individual, including students, can be compelled to take either the CSU administration’s position or the CFA’s position;
– Classroom time cannot and should not be used by faculty to discuss issues related to the strike;
– Students cannot be compelled to walk out of class, walk picket lines, stay away from campus, or support the strike as part of a class assignment or in exchange for a grade;
– Striking faculty may not block or otherwise obstruct student access to campus, campus services, or the classroom.

I also want you to be aware that should a strike occur, media may be on campus and may ask people to comment. I encourage you to direct any media inquiries to our Public Affairs staff at (916) 278-6156.

I again emphasize that in the event of a strike, we plan to maintain full campus operations with minimal disruption to students, faculty, staff, and guests. We respect our faculty’s rights and remain committed to the collective bargaining process. I encourage you to review this Q&A document.

As information becomes available, we will keep you updated via the University’s home page. Updates also will be shared through Sacramento State’s Twitter and Facebook.

Understanding America's past can help spread tolerance and compassion

Feb. 17, 2016 - Please join Congresswoman Doris Matsui and me, along with members of the Japanese American, the Muslim American, and the Sacramento State communities on the 74th anniversary of the day that President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, resulting in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in camps.

Friday, February 19, 2016
Harper Alumni Center

4:00-5:00 p.m. Reception
5:00-5:45 p.m. Opening Remarks and Keynote Address
5:45-6:00 p.m. Break
6:00-7:00 p.m. Panel Session
7:00-8:00 p.m. Dessert and Conversation

Keynote speaker:
Congresswoman Doris Matsui. Congresswoman Matsui was born at the Poston Internment Camp during World War II. After growing up on a farm in California's Central Valley, she met her husband, the late Congressman Bob Matsui, while attending the University of California at Berkeley. She replaced her husband in Congress in 2005 and is in her sixth term as Sacramento's congresswoman.

Panelists:
Marielle Tsukamoto, internment survivor, educator, and activist
Basim Elkarra, Executive Director, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Sacramento Valley
Alham Abdul-Rahman, Sacramento State graduate student in the English Department

As part of this important discussion, I encourage you to visit our internationally recognized Japanese American Archival Collection, curated at the University Library. The collection documents the WWII removal and evacuation of Japanese Americans from their communities, the living conditions of the internees in the camps, the military service by men of Japanese descent, and the reinstatement of internees in mainstream society. The collection also tells the story of Japanese American settlement in the region – mainly Florin, California – beginning circa 1880. It reflects not only the tremendously successful efforts of Japanese Americans in establishing farming and business enterprises, but also the powerful integration of Japanese traditions into American culture in the face of legalized and societal exclusion and intolerance.

Understanding America's past and how that past can shed light on our current climate and culture can help spread tolerance and compassion, thereby helping us grow stronger as a community and as a Hornet family. I hope to see you there.

This university, our faculty and staff, care about our students

Feb. 12, 2016 - In my Spring Address, I announced two initiatives: 1) a renewed focus on graduating our students in four years (“Finish in Four”), and 2) the hiring of an interim Executive Director of Diversity who will oversee the creation of a Diversity Office and a permanent Diversity Council. These two initiatives dovetail with the three important values enunciated in our 2014-2020 Strategic Plan: Student Success; Scholarship, Research, and Creative Activity; and Diversity and Inclusion. We are committed to funding these two initiatives as top priorities in the coming year.

We are, however, facing a tight budget for 2016-17. The governor’s budget falls $100 million short of what the CSU system requested, and given that we have to pay retirement costs for those employees hired after 2013-14, and the majority of enrollment growth funding is earmarked to Academic Affairs and associated benefit costs, we expect a relatively flat budget. As you will remember and as I pointed out in my Fall Address, we allocated all available funds for 2015-16 and did not budget to add anything to our baseline reserves. And while we do have $19 million in one-time reserves, that $19 million is specifically committed to the new science building. With the $19 million in reserves and the $71 million that we were awarded from the CSU system, we will still need to raise additional funds to build and finance a state-of-the-art science building with a planetarium.

Without the cushion of reserves, we must look closely at each division’s – indeed, at each department’s – budget. We cannot assume that a department’s budget is justified merely because the department received that funding last year or the year before. Moreover, we cannot base our budget on simple formulas calculated by full-time equivalent students. Instead, I am asking that every budget for every department be justified by showing how the expenditures will help our students graduate with a great education in a more timely fashion and how the expenditures will help make the University more inclusive of everyone at the University and in the community.

Specifically, while safety will remain paramount in budget decisions, I am asking that every budget request be tied to the strategies identified in Goal 1 (“Enhance Student Learning and Success”) and Goal 2 (“Foster Innovative Teaching, Scholarship, and Research”). Of course, requests can be strengthened by aligning the appeals to the strategies that are associated with the other four goals in the Strategic Plan, but primary emphasis must be on helping our students graduate without the debt that every year of college past four years causes.

To provide additional input, I am asking that the Faculty Senate, the University Staff Assembly, and Associated Students Inc. (especially in its role as student government) forward their priorities to help the University Budget Advisory Committee, the President’s Cabinet, and me make decisions about the 2016-17 budget.

Our overall budget process will change this year. Instead of individual divisions presenting their budget requests to the University Budget Advisory Committee, all requests will be initially previewed by the President’s Cabinet and a designated member of the Faculty Senate, the University Staff Assembly, and Associated Students Inc. We are also asking that all Deans present their budget requests for their respective colleges. Doing so will ensure that each division knows what the other divisions are recommending to help our students – in particular, what initiatives are being proposed so that the divisions, colleges, and departments can coordinate and collaborate – before they make formal presentations to the University Budget Advisory Committee. Once the budget of each division is finalized and approved, we will publish the budget to ensure transparency and collaboration.

Because we are expecting a flat budget and because we are emphasizing student success, I am also asking that every budget presentation include a section on what initiatives/efforts/funding the departments will be redirecting so that they can prioritize initiatives and efforts that will help our students graduate with a great education much more quickly and with less debt. We must redirect our resources to what we know has been and will be successful. Every budget presentation must present data showing that what they are proposing will be successful and must show a shift of resources to those initiatives that will help our students.

In shifting the resources to more productive initiatives, we must not forget our employees. To the contrary, we must use the assets of our exceptionally talented family to maximize their contributions, to boost morale, and to retain the superb faculty and employees who do so much for Sacramento State.

What I have learned in these few months is that this University, its people, our faculty and staff, care about our students. The task at hand is to make sure that our efforts are fully focused on our students and that we are using our precious and limited resources to help them graduate with a premier education that can’t be rivaled by any other institution.

Stingers up!

We have started the search for a new provost

Feb. 8, 2016 - As announced in my Spring Address, we have started the search for a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at Sacramento State. Dr. Zachary Smith of Witt/Kieffer will serve as our lead consultant. I am pleased to announce the membership of the search committee:

Chevelle Newsome, Search Committee Chair, Dean, Graduate Studies
Sylvester “Jim” Bowie, Chair, Faculty Senate
Benjamin Fell, Chair, Civil Engineering
Annette Reed, Director of Native American Studies
Stacy Hayano, Interim Chief Financial Officer
Elvia Ramirez, Assistant Professor, Ethnic Studies
Christine Miller, Professor, Communication Studies
Jai Lee, Associate Professor, College of Business Administration
Ernest Uwazie, Professor, Criminal Justice
Linda Roberts, Professor, Chemistry
Kevin Murphy, Engineering Manager, Office of Water Programs
Tucker Caruso, ASI Vice President of Academic Affairs

I would like to personally thank each member for his or her time and commitment to serve in this very important role. The timeline is aggressive. The committee will review applications and conduct interviews over the next several months with a goal of bringing recommended finalists to campus in early May. I trust that the committee will ensure its work is timely and judicious.

Dr. Smith is accepting nominations and suggestions at sacstateprovost@wittkieffer.com. In addition, you may send comments directly to Dr. Newsome at cnewsome@csus.edu.

I look forward to working with each of you

Feb. 4, 2016 - As announced in my Spring Address, we will be establishing an Office of Diversity and an Interim Executive Director of Diversity. This individual will serve for one year and will report to the Office of the President, with dotted reporting lines to the Offices of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Human Resources. The Interim Executive Director of Diversity will be charged with proposing the structure and delineating the functions of the office, based upon the recommendation of the Diversity Task Force and discussions with faculty, staff, and students.

If you are interested in this position and are currently employed at Sacramento State, please send your CV/resume in an email to pres-02@csus.edu by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 17. Thank you for your support of this initiative, and I look forward to working with each of you to make our campus a better place for our students, faculty, and staff.

We must foster an environment of inclusion and belonging

Jan. 27, 2016 - With the beginning of the semester underway, I was planning to send out a message of welcome and joy to encourage our students, staff, and faculty this spring. Sadly, my plans changed when my office was notified of written hate speech toward our Muslim community on campus. I was heartbroken and angered to learn that this happened on our campus. We are a Hornet family, and we will not stand for this kind of treatment of our family members.

We are investigating the incident and reviewing video footage of the area. We will not tolerate hateful and racist behavior on this campus, and we will pursue sanctions against those who are identified. We have a choice in how we treat each other, and every person on this campus deserves to be treated with dignity and respect. As I have stated before, I believe in the value of free speech and the opportunity to disagree with each other, but in our disagreement, we must treat each other with care and foster an environment of inclusion and belonging.

I am proud of those who came forward to report this hateful act, and I encourage you to please do the same if you ever see, hear, or experience anything that makes you feel unsafe. We must take care of each other, and the only way to ensure that happens is by letting the faculty, staff, and administration know of these incidents as soon as they happen. You can directly contact William “Skip” Bishop, Director of Equal Opportunity, at william.bishop@csus.edu; or Beth Lesen, Associate Vice President for Student Engagement and Support, at beth.lesen@csus.edu. We cannot stop something of which we are unaware.

We have an incredibly diverse campus, and that diversity makes us strong and enriches the experiences of everyone here at Sac State. As a Hornet family, we are carefully investing in initiatives that are aimed at creating an inclusive campus environment that is safe and equitable for all of our students, staff, and faculty. As mentioned in my Spring Address, you will see many events in the coming months that celebrate diversity and inclusion on this campus, as well as stimulate the dialogue that is necessary for us to learn about each other and grow together.

On Feb. 19, in coordination with The Japanese American Archival Collection, the University will hold a symposium that will not only explore the internment experiences of Japanese Americans during World War II, but also will connect those actions to the current experiences of Muslims in the United States. On Feb. 25, President Obama’s sister, Dr. Maya Soetoro-Ng, will be on campus to give a lecture on “Leadership and Conflict Resolution.” On March 9, the History Department will host a lecture by Roxanne Dubar-Ortiz, who is the author of An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. The Martin Luther King Jr. Center will be sponsoring many events throughout February and March in celebration of Black History Month. Those events are available in detail at the Martin Luther King Jr. Center website.

Sacramento State has many other events planned this spring, and I encourage you to watch for upcoming announcements. I hope that you will join me in attending as many of these events and lectures as you are able so that we may promote a more inclusive campus and community.

Let us come together as a Hornet family. Let us move forward to embrace care and respect, and to reject hate.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jim Dragna

Jan. 20, 2016 - I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. James “Jim” Dragna as Executive Director of University Initiatives and Student Success, effective Jan. 27, 2016.

Dr. Dragna brings over 25 years of experience in higher education administration and management. His professional career includes demonstrated progressive responsibilities in Student Affairs and Services at North Dakota State University, the University of North Carolina Wilmington, and the University of South Florida.

Most recently, Dr. Dragna served as Director of Student Success at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, where he gained international experience in overseeing student services professionals dedicated to furthering successful learning opportunities both inside and outside the classroom. Over a three-year period, Dr. Dragna initiated and innovated programs and processes that contributed to significant increases in student retention and progression-to-graduate rates while improving the measured quality of the student experience. His work included the fostering of high school transitional programs, integrated curricular and co-curricular content development, and residential/nonresidential learning opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. He guided the use of analytics in identifying and promoting targeted success variables.

In addition to his Student Affairs administrative background, Dr. Dragna has taught undergraduate, graduate, and medical school students in psychology and psychodynamic theory. He has practiced as a licensed professional counselor in North Dakota and North Carolina, and is currently a licensed psychologist in Minnesota. His area of professional interest centers on the integration of adolescent and young adult affective and cognitive development.

Dr. Dragna holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and graduate degrees in Counseling Education from the University of Colorado. Jim Dragna is known for his collaborative working style with students, families, faculty, staff, and community members in combining vision with informed decision-making while advancing success for individual students and diverse student groups. He brings to Sacramento State both enthusiasm and demonstrated skill in promoting a student culture of personal, academic, and career success.

Dr. Dragna journeys to Sacramento with his wife, Janine, who also has extensive experience in higher education administration. Janine and Jim are the parents of three adult children, J.D., Danielle, and Peter, who are currently pursuing their educational and professional goals in the United States.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Jim Dragna to Sacramento State.

Provost Frederika Harmsen has accepted a position as special assistant

Jan. 4, 2016 - I am pleased to announce that Provost Frederika “Fraka” Harmsen has accepted a position as Special Assistant to the President for Sustainability here at Sacramento State. Provost Harmsen joined the University in February 2014 from California State University, Chico, where she was Dean of the College of Natural Sciences and a Professor of Geology. Prior to her role at CSU, Chico, she spent 26 years at California State University, Fresno, working her way up from Professor to Department Chair and finally to Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics.

With over 30 years of experience in the California State University system, Provost Harmsen brought with her both knowledge of the CSU system and demonstrated leadership experience. She arrived on our campus during a key transitional period with several academic administrator vacancies, as well as tenure and promotion processes in progress. She successfully hired several deans and academic leaders, strengthening the leadership team in Academic Affairs. She positively addressed many of the equity and salary issues, and facilitated the increase in tenure-track hiring.

During her tenure as Provost, she tackled many critical issues on campus with excitement and passion. Highlights of her work include investment in high-impact practices to improve student success; an initiative to globalize the campus, including the establishment of the Office of International Programs and Global Engagement; and the cultivation of external relationships in the Sacramento community. She has been a true force in driving University research initiatives for faculty and students by promoting collaboration through interdisciplinary centers such as the newly created Institute for the WEST (Water, Energy, Sustainability, and Technology). In short, she has provided excellent academic leadership during her tenure as Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. Her dedication and intelligence have raised Sacramento State’s stature in the region and the state.

Her transition to the President’s Office will take effect today, Jan. 4, 2016. Our Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs, Dr. Ming-Tung “Mike” Lee, has agreed to step in as Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, effective immediately. Administration and Business Affairs will be in the capable hands of Stacy Hayano, who will serve as Interim Chief Financial Officer, and Ali Izadian, who will serve as Interim Vice President for Administration. A search committee is being constituted for a search for a new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.

I look forward to working with Fraka in her new role as we all work to build a stronger and better Sac State for our students.

Sac State will now have full use of Folsom Hall

Dec. 23, 2015 - I am pleased to announce that Sacramento State has received permission from the CSU Chancellor’s Office to use all of the space in Folsom Hall for academic and classroom purposes. Previously, California Northstate University leased the third floor of the building, but that lease has ended, and Sac State will now have full use of the building. This is an exciting day for our students and faculty.

We can and will be stronger because of our Hornet Family

Dec. 7, 2015 - Our hearts go out to the families in San Bernardino who have lost loved ones and to all those who were injured. Together as a Hornet family, we mourn for those individuals affected by this tragedy and the many tragedies that continue to occur here in the United States and throughout the world.

There is no doubt that it is extremely difficult to process the many acts of senseless violence that have been occurring in our world. We often feel grief-stricken, confused, and even angry when confronted with media images and reportage of such terrible violence, pain, and loss. Now more than ever, we must come together to support one another.

As we approach finals week, news of these international and domestic tragedies confronts us when our campus community is already experiencing the stress that comes with nearing the end of a semester. Emotions are heightened, and many people are stretched thin. I ask that we all take time to consider how we give voice to our emotional responses – let us commit to being gentle, kind, inclusive, and patient with one another. We are all Hornets, and together we can and will be stronger yet because of the diversity of our Hornet family.

If you or anyone you know is struggling to make sense of these recent tragedies, remember that help is available. Counseling is available for students at The WELL (916-278-6461), and drop-in urgent care is available. Faculty and staff may access the Employee Assistance Program, which offers 24/7 assistance by calling (800) 367-7474. If you are unsure what to do for a student, the Red Folder on the desktop of University computers is a good resource for faculty and staff. Everyone may always contact the Office of Student Affairs (916-278-6060) for support and guidance.

Wishing everyone the best on finals and a peaceful holiday season.

This achievement is monumental for our campus

Nov. 19, 2015 - I am proud to announce that Sacramento State has received approval to begin construction on our state-of-the-art Science II building. We are thankful that the California State University Board of Trustees approved this momentous project at its meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 18.

This achievement is monumental for our campus, providing classrooms and laboratory space for programs and departments that are in desperate need. The addition of Science II will enable us to relocate many of our current laboratories on campus. The space formerly used by those labs will be converted into much-needed classroom space for our students.

Construction will begin in spring 2017, and the building will be located in what is currently a parking lot next to the Hornet Bookstore. What an exciting day for our students and faculty.

The University is taking steps to further embrace our diversity

Nov. 12, 2015 - As a follow-up to my Oct. 5 email to campus, I am pleased to announce that, after thoughtful discussion at the latest meeting of the President's Cabinet, the Cabinet approved additional funding for the Multi-Cultural, Women's Resource, and PRIDE Centers, at $10,000 each. Along with this well-deserved increase in financial support, we approved the hiring of two coordinators, so that each center will now have its own full-time leader. I am very impressed with the efforts at the centers, and I am convinced that this added support will increase the valuable programming that these centers provide, as well as strengthen our student body as we strive to become a national model for inclusive dialogue.

Furthermore, with the Cabinet's approval, I have asked Human Resources to draft a job description for an ombudsperson for the University. Before making a final decision on the precise duties of the ombudsperson, we will need to have a larger conversation with the Faculty Senate, University Staff Assembly, Associated Students Inc., Diversity Task Force, and others about the role of this position and the functions this individual would manage (as well as those functions this person would not manage).

I hope that you agree with me that the University is taking steps in the right direction to further embrace our diversity and to make the University an even better place to work and to study. Some changes may take more time and energy to implement than others, but, working together, we can make a difference and can build an even stronger Hornet family. I look forward to seeing you around campus.

I am pleased to share the 2015-16 general operating fund budget

Oct. 8, 2015 - As announced during my Fall Address, I am pleased to share the details of the 2015-16 General Operating Fund Budget. In the coming weeks, we also will be announcing a budget forum that I encourage you to attend. I would particularly like to express my appreciation for the work of the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC) and the Office of Budget Planning and Administration in preparing this year's budget.

Permanent Baseline Budget

The State of California's 2015-16 budget provides the entire California State University system with additional permanent baseline funding of $225 million. There is an expectation that much of the funding will be used to increase California resident student enrollment. For Sacramento State, our targeted enrollment growth is 2 percent (460 FTES). Our total state appropriation and student fee revenue sources for 2015-16 combine to create an overall $286,592,137 budget. This budget includes $2.6 million in funding for the 2 percent enrollment growth and $968,000 for student success and completion initiatives.

In order to achieve a balanced budget, our projected uses of funds (i.e., projected expenditures) for 2015-16 purposefully match our projected sources of funds – the aforementioned $286,592,137. As I said in my Fall Address, there is no margin for error.

After reviewing UBAC's recommendations, in addition to approving divisional allocations of $2,917,559, I also have approved adopting UBAC's proposed two-tiered (1.9 percent and 1.5 percent) divisional increases. Hence, Academic Affairs and Student Affairs will receive 1.9 percent increases to their budgets. It is important to note that Academic Affairs also will receive $1.36 million in permanent baseline funding for instruction (e.g., hiring faculty) associated with enrollment growth. The remaining divisions will receive 1.5 percent augmentations. I added supplemental funding to two divisions (Athletics and University Advancement) for new, needed personnel. To help meet NCAA reporting requirements, Athletics is receiving funding for two Business Office positions, and to protect the safety of our student athletes, we also are adding a trainer to Athletics' budget. We are gearing up for the University's first Comprehensive Campaign, so gift officers have been added to Advancement's budget to ramp up the campaign and to supplement the colleges' fundraising efforts. Another $1.56 million has been allocated to help address our Student Success and Completion Initiatives.

Given the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 goals for the University and given our priority to increase our retention rates and graduation rates, and to decrease our students' time to degree, we will be hiring someone to evaluate, oversee, coordinate, and improve our student success initiatives. For me personally, it is important that we measure and demonstrate success at every step of the way. It is also important that we work strategically and that we effectively and efficiently use these funds to ensure the success of our faculty and students.

As for the All University Expenses (AUE), I agree with UBAC's recommendations. In addition to normal cost increases, the Neulion Ticketing System cost was moved back into the AUE category. This system serves a variety of University entities (e.g., Athletics, Theatre Arts, Music, etc.), and the expenses can be erratic from year to year.

A summary of the University's final budget for the 2015-16 General Operating Fund is available on our website.

One-Time Budgets

The two areas where I have made changes to UBAC's recommendations are for the Short-Term Strategic (one-time) Funds and One-Time Project Funds. For the Short-Term Strategic Funds, I have decided to fund the new positions in University Advancement and Athletics mentioned above via permanent baseline funds; hence, those costs were removed from the list. I also added $100,000 in one-time funding for operating costs associated with the Comprehensive Campaign – we will not be able to raise money without appropriately investing in the campaign. A summary of the Short-Term Strategic (one-time) Funds is available on our website.

With regard to the One-Time Project Funds, of the $31,601,833 in requests, I have approved $16,554,700 in total projects. Funded projects are identified on our website. Upon reviewing the initial recommendations and after discussing those recommendations in Cabinet and with key leaders, we believed that it was important to focus on projects critical to the University's mission and to funding some very serious deferred maintenance items such as hazardous waste abatement and water exposure problems. We also added items that directly affect the safety of our faculty, staff, and students, such as work on trip hazards and fire walls. We were able to reduce the funding for some items such as elevator replacements and repairs by finding funding in existing divisional budgets, and I did not fund the renovation and furnishing of a downtown School of Public Policy because space for the school has not yet been found. Finally, because we already are funding enrollment growth with the additional baseline funding of $1.3 million as described above and because, in principle, enrollment growth should not be funded by one-time funding, I reduced the request from Academic Affairs from $4,389,632.95 to $1,000,000. This $1,000,000 is to be used to hire instructors to fill sections of needed courses, especially so-called bottleneck courses.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that a budget is a moral document. I concur. We are allocating more than $1,000,000 in this year's budget for equity raises, and, obviously, we are being aggressive with enhancing safety, and even more so with supporting student success and completion initiatives. In the fall, we will be reinstituting an annual budget presentation during which we will roll out the budget in more detail. At the end of the fiscal year, we also will be instituting an annual financial review, where we will discuss how the actual budget was spent.

We have important work to do as we increase freshman and transfer graduation rates, decrease the time to degree, provide the classes that our students need, and close the achievement gaps. I look forward to working with all of you.

Neither Professor Wiseman nor Ms. Johnson violated University policy

Oct. 5, 2015 - I have spoken with many faculty, staff, students, and community members about the Sept. 4, 2015, classroom exchange between Professor Maury Wiseman and Ms. Chiitaanibah Johnson. I also have read various descriptions and analyses of the incident. Using the Sacramento State guidelines set forth in "Academic Freedom and Responsibility," "Statement on Faculty Responsibilities and Professional Ethics," "Policy on Faculty Responsibilities and Professional Ethics," "Faculty Responsibilities to Students in the Instructional Environment," "Dealing with Incidents of Disruptive Student Behavior in the Classroom," and "Student Conduct Code," I have concluded that neither Professor Wiseman nor Ms. Johnson violated any University policy. We are, therefore, closing the inquiry into the incident.

While people may agree or disagree with the decision, we can all agree that change must happen. We cannot and should not stop the conversations that the incident has provoked. To the contrary, we as a university must learn from this incident and the discussions surrounding it. My most sincere hope is that our university can become a national model of inclusive dialogue regarding issues such as genocide and its lasting effects. I am very impressed that the History Department is reaching out to Native American tribal leaders, and I was equally impressed by the panel discussion last Thursday regarding "Native Americans/American Indians: Myths and Misconceptions." The questions raised by the panelists and members of the audience were thoughtful, direct, and honest. I was particularly pleased to hear that Ethnic Studies is planning to offer a minor in Genocide and Holocaust Studies.

I understand the importance of academic freedom, but I also know that no one at the University wants any of our students to feel that they have not been heard. Thoughtful dialogue and sometimes-heated debate are at the heart of any university, but so is compassion. The discussions surrounding this incident provide us with the opportunity to improve what happens in our classrooms and in the lives of our Native American students – indeed, in the lives of all our students. We not only must be more inclusive and compassionate, but we also must be true to education's universal charge to expand knowledge and understanding. In that spirit, we must seize this opportunity to encourage respectful discussion of controversial topics in the classroom, even if these discussions may interrupt a planned lecture. We also must continue to have regularly scheduled forums similar to last Thursday's panel and the International Conference on Genocide (scheduled for November 2016) in order to increase public awareness and understanding.

We all know how critically important our faculty are to achieving our institution's mission to "transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success," and we depend upon the faculty to provide an excellent education to our students. As I have said in many venues, I am very impressed with our faculty and their dedication to our students. Not only are our faculty delivering critical information and encouraging dialogue inside the classroom, they also are offering guidance, advice, and personal instruction outside the classroom, often going beyond the call of duty. We must support our faculty and provide them with the tools and help to be successful inside and outside the classroom.

I am directing Academic Affairs to ensure that new faculty orientations include culturally sensitive instruction about the makeup of our student body. Additionally, I am asking that we initiate an orientation program for all part-time faculty that is culturally relevant, that details the traditions and resources available at Sacramento State, and that introduces the part-time faculty to our diverse student body. Both orientations should focus on effective classroom management that creates a respectful learning environment and encourages constructive discussion of important issues relevant to the classroom material and the students' lives. The instruction also will focus on how to engage students and encourage discussion and questions from students. And I am asking that the materials generated as a part of these enhanced orientations be made available to all faculty members.

Additionally, I am directing Student Affairs to enrich the discussion of student conduct and decorum in the classroom during student orientation sessions and in the various training sessions in which students participate. The goal of this discussion will be to increase students' abilities to engage in classroom discussions and hear not only the words of their professors but of their peers as well. I will be working with Student Affairs and my Cabinet to provide more funding for programming for the Multi-Cultural, Women's Resource, and PRIDE centers, and for hiring coordinators for all three centers.

Finally, I am asking Academic Affairs and Student Affairs to work with the Faculty Senate, Associated Students Inc., and the University Staff Assembly to constitute a committee to develop a Hornet Honor Code – an agreed-upon set of principles and guidelines that will encourage honesty, integrity, and mutual respect amongst students, faculty, staff, and administration. As part of their discussions, I also am asking the committee to make a recommendation for or against hiring a Student Ombudsperson, i.e., a student advocate, charged with ensuring the protection of students' rights and with helping to resolve student complaints.

Sacramento State has the seventh most diverse student body west of the Mississippi River. In diversity there is strength, I believe. We must build on that strength. As California's Capital University, we can show the nation how an excellent education can be provided in an inclusive, nurturing, respectful environment by understanding and learning from all cultures. Let's move forward and, hand in hand, make our great university even greater.

I encourage all to join in this difficult but important conversation

Sept. 29, 2015 - In my previous messages to you about creating a productive, nurturing, and academically stimulating campus environment, I announced an upcoming series of panel discussions and dialogues to continue a positive campus conversation. As a result of the meetings of last Friday – and with feedback from the Native American/American Indian community, students, faculty, and staff – the first panel and dialogue session will be focusing on the myths and misconceptions that impact Native Americans/American Indians on a daily basis.

The panel will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 1, in the University Union's Orchard Suite. The session will open with Native Americans/American Indians offering their personal testimony, to be followed by facilitated dialogue.

I encourage all of our students, faculty, and staff to attend and participate in this difficult but important conversation.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Cely Smart to Sacramento State

Sept. 28, 2015 - I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Cely Smart as Special Assistant to the Office of the President, effective today.

Before joining Sacramento State, Cely served as the Assistant Registrar over Official Publications in the Office of the Registrar at The University of Texas at Austin. She supervised a department of four who reviewed, edited, and published all curriculum changes to five university catalogs and degrees as well as an inventory of more than 10,000 courses. She managed the yearly assessment plan for the office and worked as part of the management team in the Registrar’s Office to design curriculum and curriculum-based policies.

After graduating from Texas Tech University with her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies, and her M.Ed. in Elementary Education in 2007, Cely moved to Corpus Christi to pursue a doctorate at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi.

While pursuing her degree, she worked in the Mary and Jeff Bell Library and eventually joined the Provost’s Office in 2009 as Assistant to the Provost. In 2010, she graduated with a Doctorate in Educational Leadership – Higher Education.

As Assistant to the Provost, then Director of Academic Policy and Administration, she managed the revision of university policies and rules, curriculum changes for the university catalogs, faculty credentialing, and undergraduate program evaluation. She also worked with the campus accreditation team to complete the reaffirmation report for university accreditation.

Please join me in welcoming Dr. Cely Smart to Sacramento State.

We will be holding events to address the concerns I have outlined

Sept. 23, 2015 - We are quickly approaching Native American Day this Friday, Sept. 25. I am out of town and unable to be with you because my father has passed away. But I wanted to let everyone know that I received feedback last week from the President's Committee to Build Campus Unity, along with representatives of our Native American students, faculty, staff, and ASI, that the proposed campus-wide Friday discussion panels might detract from the Native American Day Celebration at the State Capitol taking place on the same day.

There was strong sentiment that we should reconsider the timing of the panels while retaining the goals of having continuous conversations about inclusion, academic freedom, respect, tolerance, and the value of and means for difficult discussions on campus and in society.

I have taken the feedback to heart, and therefore, we are changing our plans. Instead of the panels, we will be holding a breakfast celebration and blessing in honor of Native American Day in a concerted effort to show solidarity and support for our community partners who already had planned to attend the State Capitol celebration. The morning send-off will be held from 9 to 10 a.m. in the University Union Ballroom. Ms. Connie Reitmann-Solas, executive director of the Inter-Tribal Council of California, Inc., will serve as a guest speaker.

I encourage students, faculty, and staff to attend the breakfast, especially those students, faculty, and staff who will be traveling to the State Capitol celebration, which begins at 10 a.m.

For those unable to attend the festivities at the Capitol, we invite you to be part of a dialogue that will be facilitated in a Breaking of the Bread Ceremony at the Multicultural Center from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m.

In the coming weeks, we will be holding a series of forums, conferences, town halls, and events on our campus, addressing the concerns I have outlined in my previous messages to campus. We also are establishing a webpage to include all upcoming campus activities involving these efforts.

The first panel and dialogue is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Oct. 1 in the University Union's Orchard Suite. Another important event – a campus Healing and Renewal Ceremony, beginning with a Sunrise Gathering to which we are inviting the elders of the Native American/American Indian community – will be held Oct. 12. Further details will follow.

I encourage all of our students, faculty, and staff to partake in all these activities that I hope will help facilitate difficult but constructive conversations about controversial subjects without violating academic freedom or the welfare of our students.

Thank you for your support for strengthening our University by utilizing recent events as teachable moments.

I regret that, because of my father's passing, I will not be there on Friday. I will be speaking at my father's services. He was a great man, an inspiration, a true cowboy at heart. I am at peace knowing that he is no longer suffering.

We want to ensure our campus is a productive, nurturing environment

Sept. 15, 2015 - Our priority at Sacramento State must be our students. As many of you know or may have read, we had a confrontation between a student and a faculty member in one of our history classes at the start of the semester. The incident has prompted thoughtful dialogue and sometimes heated debate on the campus and in social media.

Dialogue and debate are at the heart of any university, but the welfare of Ms. Chiitaanibah Johnson and of all of our students is quintessential to Sacramento State's mission to "transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success." We must work together to ensure that our students succeed and that we have a campus where all individuals – staff, faculty, and students – feel at home. We must truly be a Hornet family. I, like everyone at the University, want to ensure that Ms. Johnson is able not only to move beyond this incident but also to thrive personally and academically.

Even though we are still in the midst of evaluating what happened in the classroom, I am writing today to give you an update.

Upon learning of the confrontation, we contacted Ms. Johnson. I met with her and her family. I also met with the professor involved and with his representatives. The Provost is currently conducting the investigation of the incident. As I indicated in my earlier message to the campus: Our university must be a place of mutual respect, with processes in place to ensure that the rights of students and faculty are protected, and that respect must reach into our classrooms.

Because this investigation is also an ongoing personnel matter and because of FERPA, I cannot discuss details of the findings at this point in time. But I can say we are following the guidelines in the following policies: "Academic Freedom and Responsibility," "Statement on Faculty Responsibilities and Professional Ethics," "Policy on Faculty Responsibilities and Professional Ethics," "Faculty Responsibilities to Students in the Instructional Environment," "Dealing with Incidents of Disruptive Student Behavior in the Classroom," and "Student Conduct Code."

Please allow me to reiterate that, in spite of statements made during the confrontation, Ms. Johnson was never expelled or disenrolled from the history course.

I want to assure all members of the Sacramento State community that we hear and respect Ms. Johnson's concerns – and the concerns of many throughout the country. We are also very cognizant that we must respect and uphold the principles of academic freedom that are the foundation of higher education in the United States. As such, we have an opportunity – indeed, a responsibility – to continue the conversation in an even broader, campus-wide arena.

To that end, we intend to devote our upcoming Native American Day celebration (Friday, September 25) to a focus on positive dialogue and raised awareness. We are planning three panel discussions: one on genocide; another on the day-to-day lives of Native Americans in California and the harmful myths that daily affect Native Americans; and finally a panel on how, in academia and on our campus, we can have difficult but constructive conversations about controversial subjects without violating academic freedom or the welfare of our students.

The conversation cannot end with these panels. We are also planning to have what some have called a "teach-in" on "Columbus Day." And we hope to extend an invitation to members of the Native American community to join us in all these conversations. We cannot afford to let this learning moment pass us by.

Going forward, we want to make certain that our campus is a productive, nurturing, and academically stimulating environment for our students. As I have said many times, we have important work to do. I have sincere faith in and respect for our faculty. Together, we will create the leaders of tomorrow.

We believe in academic freedom, civility and rigorous research

Sept. 7, 2015 - A university, our university, must be a place of mutual respect, a place that allows for frank discussion in the classroom. Sometimes, discussions can become difficult and even heated, but we must always strive to understand and respect each other. Upon being notified of an alleged incident of intolerance in one of our history courses last week, we have taken immediate action to investigate the situation.

You may have read or heard about this matter. We released the following statement to media outlets:

Sacramento State was very concerned upon learning about this incident and the allegations surrounding it. The University would like to make it clear that our student, Chiitaanibah Johnson, was not expelled or disenrolled from this history course. Under University policy, a professor cannot unilaterally disenroll a student from a class.

President Robert S. Nelsen is looking into what was alleged to have happened. "I take this matter very seriously. I intend to talk to Chiitaanibah Johnson as we work to gather all the information necessary to resolve this situation positively."

I write to you today to let you know that I have reached out to Ms. Johnson and that the original article has been updated.

We at the University believe in academic freedom, and we also believe in civility and rigorous academic research. Our standards must be high, and we must follow the processes that we have put in place to ensure that the rights of students and faculty are protected. Most of all, we must remain true to our mission: “As California’s capital university, we transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success.”

We have important work to do. I ask for your patience and understanding.

Please enjoy the rest of the Labor Day weekend, and let’s come back energized to teach and learn together.

Hero Anthony Sadler embodies Sacramento State's mission

Aug. 28, 2015 - I am proud to announce that Sacramento State has established the Anthony Sadler Community Scholarship in response to community requests to support his continued studies at the University.

Anthony, a kinesiology major who begins his senior year next week, made international news Aug. 21 when he and two childhood friends, Oregon National Guardsman Alek Skarlatos and U.S. Air Force Airman Spencer Stone, thwarted an alleged terrorist attack on a train between Amsterdam and Paris.

Members of the Sacramento community approached us about supporting Anthony’s education. They are in awe of his selflessness and want to recognize his bravery.

Because the funds will go directly to Anthony, contributions to the scholarship are not considered philanthropic gifts to the University and are therefore not tax-deductible, in accordance with IRS regulations. The funds may be applied toward tuition, books, and other expenses.

Anthony embodies Sacramento State’s mission to prepare students for leadership, success, and service. Those are qualities that he, along with his friends, exhibited on that train. Their courageous acts potentially saved hundreds of lives.

Supporters of the Anthony Sadler Community Scholarship may contribute online on our website. Contributions also may be made by check, payable to The University Foundation at Sacramento State, and mailed to: The University Foundation at Sacramento State, c/o University Development, attn: Tracy Newman, 6000 J St., M/S 6030, Sacramento, CA 95819. Please include “Anthony Sadler Community Scholarship” in the memo line.

For additional questions about supporting the fund, please contact Tracy Newman, associate vice president of University Development, at (916) 278-6989.

We can provide the affected staff a permanent raise averaging $1,800

Aug. 6, 2015 - In the spirit of absolute transparency, I need to be honest – in the excitement and rush to have an equity plan within my first 30 days, when calculating the cost of the equity raises for staff with inverted salaries, we made a huge mistake and vastly underestimated the cost of the proposed plan. The real cost of raising eligible staff to their respective targeted 25th, 50th, and 75th quartiles is approximately $1,850,000. Under the constraints of this year's budget, we cannot possibly afford that amount. We would have to cut services drastically.

I apologize for the error. I am very sorry that the increases outlined in the original plan cannot be fully funded this year. We must live within our means, and we need to dedicate our resources to helping our students get a great education in the most appropriate time possible.

By being very strategic and efficient, what we can do within the current budget year is provide the affected staff with a permanent raise on average of $1,800. In other words, we still intend to give annual raises to those staff members identified in the original plan at Steps 1, 2, and 3 in order to begin to address the salary inversion that they are experiencing. Again, in the spirit of transparency, I need to note that some staff members may receive less than $1,800 if the difference between their current salary and the targeted quartile is less than $1,800. Additionally, because this staff equity program is a management-initiated in-range progression, some individuals will receive more than $1,800 so that we can fulfill the requirements of the collective bargaining agreements.

My hope is that over the next two years (2016-2017 and 2017-2018), if our budget remains constant, we will be able to replicate the same program and repeat these incremental increases of up to $1,800 annually for those who still are below their targeted quartiles.

Overall, we need to examine all potential compensation disparities across our campus. With these three years of staff equity raises, we will have solved many salary inversion issues. But there are other deserving staff members whose compensation will not be addressed through this initial program. These staff members, I am told, may also be experiencing the effects of salary compression and salary inversion. During the coming years, we will initiate compensation equity studies. We need to get it right in the long term.

Again, I sincerely apologize for raising expectations that we cannot meet. I hope that you will join with me as part of the Hornet family to move forward and to find the best solutions that we can.

Guidelines and more information regarding this management-initiated in-range progression and those staff members who are part of the salary inversion equity plan will be forthcoming from Human Resources.

i am pleased to announce Sac State's 2015 equity program

Aug. 3, 2015 - I am very pleased to announce Sacramento State's 2015 equity program for staff employees. This program is designed to complement the recent general salary increases received by most staff.

Because I am well aware of how important the contributions of the staff are to meeting the needs of our students and faculty, it was a priority for me to establish a staff equity program within my first 30 days on campus. Without the commitment and hard work of the University's staff, we would never fulfill our mission to "transform lives by preparing students for leadership, service, and success."

While there are not enough resources to resolve fully all staff equity issues at Sacramento State in one fell swoop, the 2015 equity program is intended to address salary inequities that developed over the past few years due to salary inversion. The goal is to address some of the most serious inequities first in a way that makes it relatively easy to implement so that there will be minimal delay. The plan will be effective July 31, 2015.

Plan Provisions *

Employees must have a minimum of five (5) years of service in their current classification and skill level (e.g., Administrative Support Coordinator I, Administrative Support Assistant I, or Custodian) to participate in the equity program. Each classification's salary range has been divided into four equal quartiles from the minimum to the maximum of the salary range. Employees in each classification have been placed into one of the four quartiles based on years of Sacramento State service in the specific classification that they currently hold. Employees with less than five years of service will not receive an equity increase under the program; employees with five to 10 years of service whose salary is currently below the 25th percentile of salaries for that classification will have their salaries adjusted upward to reach the 25th percentile; employees with 11 to 14 years of service whose salary is currently below the 50th percentile of salaries for that classification will have their salaries adjusted upward to reach the 50th percentile; and employees with 15 years or more of service in the classification at Sacramento State will have their salaries adjusted upward to the 75th percentile.

In Step 1 of the plan, employees with 15 years or more of service in the same classification at Sacramento State as of July 31, 2015, will receive a salary increase bringing them to the 75th percentile of the salary range for their classification. Employees with 15 years or more of service in the classification who are already at or exceeding the 75th percentile of the salary range will not receive an increase.

In Step 2 of the plan, employees with 11 to 14 years of service in the classification as of July 31, 2015, will receive a salary increase bringing them to the 50th percentile of the salary range for their classification. Employees with 11 to 14 years of service in the classification who are already at or exceeding the 50th percentile of the salary range will not receive an increase.

In Step 3 of the plan, employees with five to 10 years of service in the classification as of July 31, 2015, will receive a salary increase bringing them to the 25th percentile of the salary range for their classification. Employees with five to 10 years of service in the classification who are already at or exceeding the 25th percentile of the salary range will not receive an increase.

All three Steps will be implemented using management-initiated in-range progression protocols effective July 31. Questions about the program and its implementation should be directed to the Classification and Compensation unit in the Office of Human Resources: Extension 8-6078.

I sincerely appreciate everything you are doing to advance Sacramento State and to make the campus a great place to work.

* The UAPD (Unit 1) and CSUEU (Units 2, 5, 7 and 9) collective bargaining agreements require a minimum 3% increase for an In-Range Progression. Therefore, some employees may receive an increase beyond the percentage required to reach the quartile thresholds.

Please join me in welcoming Lisa Cardoza to Sacramento State

July 23, 2015 - I am pleased to announce the appointment of Lisa Cardoza as the Chief of Staff in the President's Office, effective Aug. 3, 2015.

Most recently, Lisa has served concurrently as Associate Vice President for Governmental Relations at the newly established University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, as well as Chief of Staff and Governmental Relations Officer at The University of Texas-Pan American. Lisa had worked at The University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA) since 2004.

After graduating from Stanford University with a B.A. in Economics and an M.A. in Social Sciences of Education, Lisa joined UTPA as Associate Director of a newly established Valley Outreach Center, implementing the Mother Daughter Program, Go Centers, and Pre-College Academic Programs, all in support of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's Closing the Gaps campaign with efforts to increase the college-going rate in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas.

In 2007, Lisa served as the Assistant to the Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, and returned to lead the Outreach Department as Director of College Access and Support Programs/Senior TRIO Director in 2009.

In that position, she oversaw three federal TRIO programs (Educational Talent Search, Upward Bound, Upward Bound Math & Science); two federal migrant programs (High School Equivalency Program, College Assistance Migrant Program); an institutional migrant program (Migrant Student Success Office); a state engineering pre-college program (Texas Pre-Freshman Engineering Program); and a college access outreach center (Valley Outreach Center).

In 2010, Lisa joined the UTPA Office of the President as the Chief of Staff. That same year, she was named to the Texas Women in Higher Education Board of Directors. In 2013, she was named as a director of the statewide leadership organization known as the Texas Lyceum, and was subsequently elected to serve on the Annual Nominating Committee.

Please join me in welcoming Lisa Cardoza to Sacramento State.

I look forward to working with each of you to transform lives

July 17, 2015 - The first two weeks at Sacramento State have been a whirlwind for Jody and me, but we both already feel that we are at the right place, at the right time, and at a home and with a family that we are already beginning to love. Sacramento State is truly a magnificent university.

We have been deeply moved by the warm welcome that we have received from the faculty, staff, and students on campus and from the community at large. On July 1, we started the day with 200 first-year students at Orientation. We initiated them into the Hornet Nation, and we posed for dozens of selfies. Those students are precisely why we wanted to be a part of Sacramento State more than any other university. The diversity was amazing, and the energy of those students and of the Orientation leaders was contagious. Hornet pride was everywhere.

I made a promise to the students, and I am making the same promise to you: As I said in the op-ed I wrote for The Sacramento Bee, we are going to dedicate ourselves to shortening their time to degree and to improving our graduation rates. I believe that our students can and will be successful because of the outstanding faculty and staff whom I have met.

Our campus is one of the most caring campuses that I have ever experienced, and we have strong support from our alumni and our many partners in the region, especially from our elected officials. As I have told so many at so many gatherings, Jody and I believe that what is happening here on our campus will determine the future of Sacramento, of California, and (if I may be so bold) of the nation.

I am grateful for the work done by Chancellor Tim White and the California State University Trustees, and for their devotion to our students. Their work as student advocates is paying dividends: Gov. Jerry Brown recently signed a state budget that will bring our system an increase of $217 million for the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Yes, for the first time in many years, California is fully funding the Trustees' budget request; and as a consequence, 12,000 more students will be able to enroll at California State University campuses, and we will have the resources to help guarantee their and our continuing students' success.

I am thrilled that we will have a better budget than we have had in a long time. We will be meeting next week in Long Beach to determine how the money will be allocated among the CSU campuses. No matter what is decided, the future is bright.

It is a privilege, an honor, and a blessing to be allowed to serve as the president of Sacramento State. I look forward to working with each of you to transform the lives of our students and to make California's Capital University and the city itself even greater than they already are.

Stingers Up!