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Presidential Communications - Fall 2022
President Robert S. Nelsen’s messages to students, faculty, and staff.
Rosh Hashanah begins Sunday
Sept. 23, 2022 - This Sunday marks the beginning of the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur. Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, begins at sundown on Sunday, Sept. 25, and is celebrated through nightfall on Tuesday, Sept. 27. Rosh Hashanah is a time of celebration for the Jewish community to look back and reflect on the previous year while looking forward to set intentions for the year ahead. Yom Kippur, which will be celebrated this year on Oct. 4-5, is a time of atonement that includes fasting for many Jews. To those who will be observing these High Holidays, I wish you Shanah Tovah, a happy, healthy, and sweet new year.
I do not usually send out messages to acknowledge religious holidays, but in light of recent attacks against our Jewish community in the form of vandalism on and around local campuses, and the general rise in antisemitism we are witnessing nationwide, I want to take this opportunity to make sure that the Jewish members of the Hornet Family feel seen and supported. I hope everyone took the time to read the message from Inclusive Excellence about multi-faith religious and cultural inclusion. It is my wish that in the coming year, people of all religions, backgrounds, and identities feel safe, supported, and a true sense of belonging on campus, in the community, and in the world. Stingers Up!
Reminder: Sac State's 75th birthday party is this Thursday
Sept. 20, 2022 - This Thursday, Sept. 22, the Hornet Family will gather in the Main Quad at 10 a.m. for a birthday party that no one will ever forget. Come out to sing “Happy Birthday” to Sac State, and help Herky blow out the candles on our birthday cake as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the first day of classes at Sacramento State. There will be treats for everyone, music, photo areas, and exhibit booths from campus organizations.
ASL interpretation and captioning for the program will be provided. Please contact University Events to request additional accommodations at email@example.com.
At 11 a.m. we will gather for this year’s Swarm photo, which I expect to be our biggest and best yet. All members of the campus and the community are welcome.
I am looking forward to celebrating together. Stingers Up!
Call for nominations for honorary doctorates
Sept. 19, 2022 - Sacramento State’s honorary degrees selection committee invites nominations for honorary doctorates to be conferred during 2023 Commencement.
The California State University (CSU) awards honorary doctorates to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, the nation, and/or the world. Recipients serve as examples to be recognized and honored for their exemplary contributions. More information about honorary doctorates, including past recipients, can be found on our Honorary Degrees page.
To learn more about the criteria and to submit a nomination, please review the nomination form. The submission deadline is Oct. 21, 2022. If you have questions about the nomination process, please contact Gladys Glaude at (916) 278-4952 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about the upcoming general election
Sept. 15, 2022 - Sacramento State is devoted to the civic engagement of our students, and I am pleased that once again Associated Students Inc. (ASI) has made participation in this year’s election a priority. The simple act of voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and has never been more important.
Our nation’s general election is on Nov. 8, 2022, when we will vote for governor, legislators, local officeholders, and on a number of state propositions.
All registered California voters will be mailed a ballot starting 29 days before Election Day. Polling places will be open on campus, as well as across Sacramento and the state. The deadline to register to vote in the upcoming election is Oct. 24, 2022, but eligible voters are encouraged to do so well in advance, as ballots will begin to be mailed in early October. You can register to vote and check your existing registration status on the California Secretary of State’s website.
To vote in California, you must be:
- A United States citizen and a California resident.
- At least 18 years old on Election Day.
- Not currently in state or federal prison or on parole for a felony conviction.
- Not currently found mentally incompetent to vote by a court.
I sincerely hope that each eligible individual will register to vote and take part in this year’s election. For more information, please visit Sacramento State’s voting website at www.csus.edu/vote. Stingers Up!
Celebrating National Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) Week
Sept. 13, 2022 - This week, Sacramento State joins other Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) in celebrating National HSIs Week with the goal of raising awareness about the work being done by the nation’s 559 HSIs, work that is a critical to ensuring access to educational opportunities and empowering Hispanic youth. On Monday, President Biden issued a Proclamation acknowledging the important work HSIs do to advance equity for all traditionally underserved students. We have increasingly been doing this critical work at Sacramento State since our founding.
As I shared in my fall address, the earliest data we have about the ethnicity of our students is from 1977, when just 3.4% of our students identified as Hispanic/Latino. By 1997, that number had grown to 12.5%. It wasn’t until 2013 that our undergraduate enrollment of Hispanic students reached 25%, earning us the designation as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). This year, 36.6% of our students report that they are Hispanic/Latinx, making this the largest population of students on our campus.
The HSI designation, an official certification by the U.S. Department of Education, allows us to apply for grants specifically created for HSIs to help recruit and support Hispanic and low income students. Since 2015, Sacramento State has received $16 million in such grants. Most recently, in 2021 we received $8 million in grants to support two major projects. The first grant, a $3 million Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (DHSI) grant from the Department of Education, launched the Degree with a Purpose: Integration of Career and Development and Financial Wellness Into the College Experience project. We also received a $5 million HSI STEM grant to fund Stem4Equity, a project to create more culturally responsive courses to align with employer needs while helping students succeed in courses with high fail rates. Our faculty, staff, and students are doing incredible work on these and other exciting programs.
But we still have work to do to better serve our Latinx students. For example, we must extend our Anchor University efforts to ensure that parents and families of our Latinx students are engaged, supported, and honored. While I am pleased that this year we welcomed 10 new Latinx faculty members, we must continue our deliberate, intentional hiring practices to ensure that our faculty, staff, and leadership better resemble our students. We must also acknowledge the rich tapestry of our Latinx community, recognizing and honoring the diversity therein through programs and services that support and enrich identities and develop a sense of familia on our campus.
The Serna Center and the College Assistance Migrant Program are hosting La Bienvenida 2022 from 3 - 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 14, in the Library Quad. This community-building event introduces and reconnects Chicanx/Latinx students, staff, and faculty to Sacramento State and the Hornet Family and features speakers, music, and snacks.
Sept. 15 marks the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, and there will be numerous events on campus to honor and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanics and Hispanic culture. As a part of this month of celebrations and events, on Oct. 1 Sacramento State will host the 10th annual Feria de Educacion in partnership with Univision 19. This free community event empowers Spanish-speaking students and parents with the information and resources they need to access higher education.
I am proud that Sacramento State is an HSI, and I am even more proud of the work that we have done and will continue to do to ensure more students can access higher education and achieve their dream of being Hechos en Sac State.
Sept. 9, 2022 - It is hard to imagine that it has been 21 years since our nation was forever changed by the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. For many, including myself, it still feels like yesterday.
This Sunday, Sept. 11, let us all take a moment to remember all who were lost that day, and to honor the bravery of the first responders who heroically rushed into burning buildings. And let us not forget the loved ones – the children, the mothers, fathers, wives, partners – who were left behind. Let us also remember and honor the members of our armed forces who were deployed in response to the Sept. 11 attacks and who have served and sacrificed for our nation.
To honor the 21st anniversary of this solemn occasion, please watch this short 9/11 commemoration video. I’m sure that you will find the experience moving, as I do.
We will never forget those who were lost. We must not. They are who we are.
Announcing the launch of Sac State's Policy Library
Sept. 9, 2022 - I am pleased to share that the Sacramento State Policy Library is ready for campus use. The Sacramento State Policy Library replaces the University Policy Manual as the repository for all University policies. This improved new system features multiple ways to search for University policies including keyword, title, area (e.g., Academic Affairs, University Advancement, etc.), and policy owner, and it makes University policies more accessible to the campus community. It also includes persistent URLs for policies, as well as policy histories as policies are updated.
I would like to thank the cross-divisional team of Dr. Nadya Lucas, Kathy Garcia, Dr. Adam Rechs, Karyl Burwell, Amy Brown, Sagan Bachtold, Dr. Margaret Hwang, and Ántonia Peigahi for their work and efforts over the previous academic year and summer.
As we transition to this new system, the University Policy Manual will be maintained, but not updated, for at least the 2022/2023 academic year. Please reach out to Ántonia Peigahi, director of Policy and Records Management at email@example.com if you have questions.
You're invited to Sac State's 75th birthday party and swarm photo
Sept. 8, 2022 - Let’s have a birthday party that no one will ever forget – a birthday party that Sac State so rightly deserves.
Please join me and the rest of the Hornet Family in the Main Quad at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 22, as we celebrate the 75th Anniversary of the first day of classes at Sacramento State. Come out to sing “Happy Birthday” to Sac State, and help Herky blow out the candles on our birthday cake. There will be treats for everyone, music, photo areas, and exhibit booths from campus organizations. Don’t miss your opportunity at 11 a.m. to be in this year’s Swarm photo, which I expect to be our biggest and best yet. All members of the campus and the community are welcome.
ASL interpretation and captioning for the program will be provided. Please contact University Events to request additional accommodations at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I look forward to celebrating Sacramento State’s 75th Anniversary throughout the 2022-23 academic year. Stingers Up!
This week is National Suicide Prevention Week
Sept. 7, 2022 - This week we honor National Suicide Prevention Week, Sept. 4-10. Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of 1,100 students each year (Active Minds, 2018). Youth and young adult mental health and suicidal ideation has become a public health crisis over the past several years and has been compounded by the pandemic and other local and national events.
Thanks to the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 (S. 2661), the U.S. has a new national 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline. The fully operational new number, 988, is easy to remember and accepts calls to better address the critical issue of suicide prevention in our country. Another source of help is the Crisis Text Line, which you can contact by texting HOME or STEVE to 741741.
At Sacramento State, for immediate help during business hours students can come to Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS) in The WELL to meet with the urgent care counselors, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Fridays.
We are proud to provide peer counselors who are ready and dedicated to support our students, providing nonjudgmental, confidential meetings about any topic students want to discuss. The peer counselors are not licensed professionals but, rather, students trained to be supportive, helpful listeners, and problem solvers alongside their peers. They are trained to refer the students to additional care and crisis support as necessary, and can help connect students to other health and wellness support programs on campus. Students can book an appointment and learn more about peer counselors online. Come out to The WELL from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. today, Wednesday, Sept. 7, to meet our peer counselors and learn more about the program.
SHCS also offers students holistic and integrated physical, mental, and emotional health care with licensed clinicians and mental health providers. Please visit the SHCS webpage or call 916-278-6461 for additional information. Another valuable resource is the Red Folder, located on each campus desktop, which contains information about how to best support a student in distress.
For employees, the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is designed to provide professional assistance to employees and their families (dependents and permanent household members) in assessing and resolving personal problems that may be affecting well-being. Visit the EAP webpage for more information. Another valuable resource is the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, an organization that provides education, community groups, and support to those who have experienced suicidal ideation or have lost someone to suicide.
We must continue to take care of one another. A connection to campus and community support creates a sense of belonging that can greatly reduce feelings of loneliness, isolation, and suicidal ideation, and can increase support for mental health. Let us continue to be a Healing University by remembering and honoring those whose lives have been lost to suicide, and by taking action to help raise awareness surrounding the topic of mental health and suicide so that no one ever feels alone or afraid to seek support.
President's 2022-23 Budget Update
Sept. 6, 2022 - This past fiscal year has continued to bring many challenges as we shift back to on-campus work while still dealing with the pandemic. For instance, the budget projections and state outlook changed several times during the past several months. In the May Revise, Gov. Newsom confirmed the following increases to the California State University’s ongoing base general fund appropriation of the 2022-23 budget:
- $211.1 million General Fund unallocated.
- $81 million General Fund to support enrollment growth.
- $12 million General Fund to support foster youth.
Newsom also announced many one-time allocations, including $100 million for deferred maintenance and energy efficiency projects. Notably, he committed to a multiyear compact with the CSU through 2026-27 to provide general fund base increases of 5% per year (2.8% of the total CSU Operating Fund). This year, I asked the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC) to consider two scenarios for baseline funding: 1), where we maintain the same allocation as last year; and 2), a scenario where $3 million in additional baseline could be given to divisions for new positions and operations.
We were optimistic about the state’s economic outlook and hopeful that it would translate to an increase to baseline for the CSU. However, the additional $100 million from the Legislature was later reversed. Smaller ongoing allocations were added for specific programs, which include:
- $35 million for Graduation Initiative 2025.
- $10 million for Student Basic Needs.
- $8 million for Project Rebound.
- $8 million for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Student Achievement Program.
- $300,000 for the Center for California Studies.
- $200,000 for Cradle-to-Career.
- $100,000 for the Corporation for Education Network Initiatives in California.
The final one-time allocations from the state totaled approximately $1.1 billion, with $125 million for deferred maintenance and infrastructure projects, $497 million for student housing projects on certain campuses (unfortunately, not ours), and $460 million for a variety of projects at several campuses (again, not ours) and the Chancellor’s Office. The final Budget Act of 2022 includes $365.7 million in new ongoing funding for the CSU.
While we appreciate the state’s investment in the CSU, the reality of this year’s budget cycle is that our Sources and Uses remain tight, with little extra baseline. Last year, we were able to restore the divisions’ baseline from the pandemic reductions and give out some strategic ongoing funding. This year, however, there is little funding to distribute to the divisions outside of supporting 7% salary increases and COVID-19 service awards, plus a portion of the $3 million scenario. Therefore, divisions will need to be strategic with the same resources as last year and find efficiencies to offset inflation. Funding for our employees’ raises was our top priority, and any unallocated baseline was used to offset increases to divisional salary costs. Faculty and staff salaries have remained flat for two or more years and though the strategic imperatives remain incredibly important to the future of Sac State, we are committed to focusing on the welfare of our existing employees. The CSU was not given enough state allocation for mandatory cost increases to fully cover the salary increases. Thus, we are not able to fully implement the $3 million UBAC scenario at this time. We only had a fraction of that remaining in baseline to allocate. After a careful review of the divisional requests and in consultation with Cabinet, we are providing baseline for the following new positions and expenses, totaling the remaining unallocated baseline of $1,198,500:
- Academic Affairs - Faculty New Hires: $250,000
- Admin and Business Affairs - Clery UBIT Director: $84,000
- Admin and Business Affairs - Emergency Operations Director: $84,000
- Inclusive Excellence - Title IX Investigator: $84,000
- Public Affairs and Advocacy - Local Relations Director: $84,000
- OIREP - Associate Director: $118,000
- Student Success Operating Support - Chatbot: $125,000
- Student Affairs - First Star Director: $65,000
- Student Affairs - Project Rebound Coordinator: $50,000
- Student Affairs - Regional Admissions Recruiter: $52,500
- University Advancement - Annual Giving Associate: $52,000
- University Advancement Operating Support - Donor CRM: $125,000
- Positiion pool for final offer variances: $25,000
- Total Baseline: $1,198,500
For the above approved positions, associated benefits will not be required from the divisions. However, any other new positions added this year through the exception process will require funding from the divisions to the benefits pool to cover associated costs.
Our Sources for the 2022-23 budget total $395,769,000. This allocation does not include the additional Graduation Initiative 2025 (GI) and Basic Needs funding, which will come as a separate allocation. Our Uses also total $395,769,000, which directs funding primarily to compensation and benefits increases. Salary increases effective in 2021-22 and 2022-23 are an estimated additional $15,173,000 for all operating fund units on campus. This increase necessitated a $5,603,000 increase to the central benefits pool. While these raises are a step in the right direction for our employees, we must work together to see that the Legislature and the governor fully fund the CSU staff salary study in 2023-24 (at a cost of approximately $287 million). We must ensure that we are paying fair market rates for our talent.
In July, following UBAC’s advice, Cabinet approved the recommended increases to All University Expenses (AUEs) and 2022-23 Lottery allocations. Considering recent discussions since UBAC’s recommendation and the Final Budget memo, we are moving to fund $1,198,500 in divisional costs. For the one-time awards, I am authorizing an additional $200,000 for the implementation of University Advancement’s CRM and $100,000 for Hornet Launch. To offset these adjustments and keep the total one-time allocations under $10 million, we are reducing the following:
- Academic Affairs: professional development reduced from $200,000 to $100,000 (there should be funding from the GI to help replenish the funds).
- Administration and Business Affairs: lighting survey reduced from $200,000 to $100,000 (more of the work should be able to be done internally).
- Inclusive Excellence: $75,000 block party eliminated (funding was given for events and grants last year); executive sponsorship reduced to $25,000 (the President’s Office already pays for most of these events).
I am grateful we are able to allocate a large amount of one-time funding this year. Although this $10 million puts pressure on our reserves, many of the one-time awards are for critical academic and infrastructure projects. The largest portion is to backfill Academic Affairs’ lecturer costs at $1,800,000. Unfortunately, we were not able to cover this cost with baseline, but continue to make doing so a priority for future years. The College of NSM will receive $426,505 for a new Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometer, replacing the one that suffered a catastrophic instrument failure in 2020. Construction awards include:
- $755,000 for multiple renovation projects for the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Center, the MLK Center, the Scholarship Office, and space in Lassen Hall.
- $640,000 for renovations in the Library, Kadema Hall, and an existing lab in Amador Hall.
- $500,000 for various campus safety projects.
- $280,000 for all gender and lactation rooms.
We are also dedicating $500,000 for additional loaner laptops for students, $300,000 for classroom refreshes, and $750,000 for a campuswide computer refresh.
I want to thank the vice presidents and deans for their collaboration on their requests for existing resources and focusing their one-time submissions on the University’s strategic imperatives. I also want to thank the members of UBAC for their commitment and dedication to making these difficult budget decisions. Lastly, thank you to the faculty and staff who have endured the last few years and persevered through the turbulence of the pandemic. I look forward to seeing many of you this fall on campus. Stingers Up!
We strongly condemn and will act against antisemitism on campus, beyond
Sept. 2, 2022 - On Thursday, Sept. 1, a student reported finding a swastika on a classroom wall, and this morning, an employee reported a swastika on J Street near the entrance to campus. We are working to remove the offensive images this morning. While I do not believe that the two instances are related, the appearance of these symbols on and near our campus is a reminder that we must consistently and proactively stand against antisemitism, white supremacy, and all other forms of hate on our campus, in our region, and in our nation. We condemn this and all expressions of hate. These symbols and what they stand for violate the values of the Hornet Family – they do not represent who we are.
Defacing property is a criminal act, and it erodes the culture of care and belonging that we are working so hard to cultivate at Sacramento State. University police are investigating these incidents. Perpetrators of such crimes will always be held accountable.
I want to commend the student who reported seeing the swastika in the classroom and the employee who reported the symbol near campus. If you see a symbol of hate or any other concerning images or language on campus, please report it using our campus anti-bias reporting tool. Reporting these incidents ensures that we can quickly remove hateful images and publicly condemn them.
But that is not enough. In consultation with Inclusive Excellence, we are crafting a new goal in our Antiracism and Inclusion Campus Action Plan which will codify how we will respond to this type of defacement. We will also be instituting regular walk-throughs of all campus property by administrators to ensure our environment reflects our culture of care. We must remain committed to proactively creating a campus culture that is safe and welcoming, and where everyone feels that they belong.
I will say it again and again: There is no place for hate at Sacramento State.
Tailgating at football game and campus tabling suspended due to heat
Sept. 1, 2022 - Due to the excessive heat that is anticipated over the next several days, and in consultation with Sacramento County public health officials, we have made the difficult decision to suspend tailgating activities at this Saturday’s football game. Assuming conditions are deemed safe by NCAA referees, kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Water stations will be available inside and outside of Hornet Stadium, and a cooling room will be open in The WELL before and during the game.
We also are suspending all student tabling across campus after 1 p.m. beginning today until further notice. When temperatures come down, the Student Organizations and Leadership team will notify student groups that restrictions on tabling have been lifted.
No matter what your weekend plans are, please make sure that you take necessary steps to stay cool, hydrated, and out of the heat as much as possible. Sacramento County has published tips about how to stay cool and signs of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Continue to take care of yourselves and each other. Stingers Up!
Updated game times for football, men's and women's soccer due to heat
Aug. 31, 2022 - It is exciting to see campus buzzing with activity once again. Students are back on campus taking classes, clubs are tabling around the quad, and even the parking lots are full. Several fall sports also are underway, and I hope you will come out to see our talented student athletes. Jody and I will be there. Unfortunately, because of the anticipated heat wave, we have decided to change some game schedules. Please note the following updated game times:
- Thursday, Sept. 1: Women’s Soccer v. UC Davis, Hornet Field at 1 p.m.
- Saturday, Sept. 3: Football v. Utah Tech, Hornet Stadium at 7:30 p.m.
- Sunday, Sept. 4: Men’s Soccer v. UOP, Hornet Field at noon.
Let’s show our Hornet Pride and support our student athletes as we start what is sure to be a great season of competition. Remember, students get in free to games with a valid OneCard, and discounted tickets are available for faculty and staff. For football tickets, be sure to claim or purchase your tickets online.
Let the games begin. Stingers Up!
Thank you to all those who made Hornet Nest Fest a success
Aug. 30, 2022 - Thank you to all who made the 2022 Hornet Nest Fest, our student welcome-back event on Aug. 26, such a tremendous success. Being together on the Housing Quad with our students, their families, and other guests as they ate, played games, socialized, and danced, warmed my heart and fed my soul. I truly believe that our students and all the employees who were there working or volunteering felt the same.
I am extremely grateful for members of the Hornet Family who put together this outstanding event for the 6,400 students and their guests who claimed tickets. Staff and volunteers arrived at the Housing Quad well before 6 a.m. to start setting up, worked through the heat all day, and were there to greet our students with a smile until after 9 p.m. that night. I was particularly impressed by the efforts of our Sustainability team and the volunteers who worked diligently to ensure this was a low-to-zero waste event. Standing by the compost and recycle receptacles for hours directing people about how to sort their trash is a thankless but critical job. As usual, everyone went above and beyond for our students.
Please join me in thanking:
- University Events: Director of University Events Gladys Glaude, Special Events Coordinator Leah Walukones, and Special Events Finance Analyst Carmen Zorick.
- University Housing Services, Executive Director Samuel Jones, and Conference and Marketing Coordinator Joe Loera.
- All the staff who helped plan and execute the event, including Aramark, Epicure Catering, Dining Commons, University Enterprises, Inc., Athletics, Campus Conservation, Housing Team, Facilities Management, Admissions and Outreach, Administration and Business Affairs, KSSU, Information Resources and Technology, University Communications, Student Health and Counseling Services, Risk Management Services, University Print and Mail, Central Receiving, Procurement and Contract Services, University Transportation and Parking Services, University Police Department, Services to Students with Disabilities, ASL and Deaf Studies Program, and Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning.
- Hornet Nest Fest event volunteers.
- Sac State Marching and Pep bands.
- Sac State Dance and Cheer.
- Athletic Coaches and Student Athletes.
- Metro Media.
- Celebrations Party Rentals.
- Marching Order.
I know this list does not include every person or group who helped make this event a success, so please know that whatever role you played, large or small, I am grateful for your help. We truly are a Hornet Family, and I am so proud that we are together again. Stingers up!