Support Page Content
Presidential Communications - 2020
President Robert S. Nelsen’s messages to students, faculty, and staff.
Dec. 21, 2020 - On Dec. 17, Mother Jones published an article regarding a 2018 incident between two members of the Sacramento State faculty where the police were called on a Black colleague. The incident has been subject to several grievance proceedings and is still pending arbitration, and we remain unable to provide additional details of the case. Nonetheless, I believe it is important to address this situation and the impact it has had on our campus, and especially on Dr. David Moore.
Anyone who feels in danger should not hesitate to call for help. In this particular instance, our campus police quickly assessed that there were no safety issues warranting their involvement. As detailed in the article, an investigation was initiated. I believe that I should have informed the campus of the incident, but I did not. I own that failure. The dialogue on our campus must be open and transparent.
Sacramento State is striving to be a welcoming and caring campus for all. The United States has a long history of Black people being harassed, stalked, killed, and accused of wrongdoing for simply existing. We must acknowledge that reality and the fear with which many members of the Hornet Family live every day. I take responsibility and am sorry for the pain that my silence has caused, especially for Dr. Moore. We cannot let bureaucratic processes stop us from coming together as a community to discuss racially charged incidents.
The feelings and concerns regarding this incident are real. I also think it is important to recognize that the administrators mentioned in the article investigated and reviewed this matter within the parameters of the law and University policy. Nevertheless, as President of Sacramento State, I have a duty to confront concerns within our campus community regarding racism. We must do the work to become a truly safe and inclusive campus for the entire Hornet Family.
In these very troubling times, especially since the killing of George Floyd, we have learned a lot. These lessons, however, should not be at the expense of our Black community members’ safety and well-being. We must continue to learn from the past as well as our present as we move forward. This work is our collective responsibility, and we must keep learning and pushing to do better. And we must be willing to be pushed to do better.
DACA: What you should know about the recent court ruling
Dec. 17, 2020 - Many of the messages I have sent over the past few months have not been filled with happy news. We are collectively experiencing serious and traumatic events that are impacting our lives daily - racism, political strife, and COVID-19. Today, I am relieved to share the good news that last weekend a federal judge in New York ruled that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program should be restored. I do not have the words to describe what a relief this news is and how happy I am for our DACA-eligible students. They deserve to continue their studies and work without fear. I know that this ruling does not change the reality for all undocumented students and those who are part of mixed-status families. This is only part of the progress we must make on immigration reform. Sacramento State remains committed, and we will continue our advocacy so that everyone can step out of the shadows and live without fear.
We have received many inquiries about the ruling and what it means for students. Below is an explanation of the decision, as well as recommendations for first-time DACA applicants.
I encourage everyone to follow the Dreamer Resource Center on social media for the latest news. Go to @sacstatedrc to follow on Instagram, and @drcsacstate to follow the Dreamer Resource Center on Facebook.
1. Over the weekend, a federal judge in New York ruled that the Trump administration must restore DACA to its original form. This is what the decision means:
- If you are eligible for DACA, you can apply for the first time.
- Advance Parole is back in its original form.
- DACA recipients who received a one-year renewal will have their protections extended to two years.
- DACA renewals will continue for those who have DACA or had it in the past.
2. USCIS is complying with the court's ruling and has started accepting applications. However, we expect the Trump administration to respond soon. Legal experts also believe that a second case involving DACA (State of Texas v. Nielsen), which will be heard on Dec. 22, could alter the program once again. Therefore, the future of DACA remains uncertain, and those looking to apply for the first time should do so ASAP.
3. The DACA eligibility criteria is as follows:
- Came to the US before your 16th birthday.
- Lived in the U.S. continuously since June 15, 2007.
- Were under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012.
- Were physically present in the U.S. as of June 15, 2012.
- Are currently in high school, graduated from high school, received a GED, or were honorably discharged from the US military.
- Have not been convicted of a felony, significant misdemeanor, or three or more misdemeanors, and do not pose a threat to national security or public safety (must pass background check).
4. First-time applicants should consider seeking advice from an immigration attorney or trusted legal advisor. The DRC offers free immigration consultations and services to Sac State students and their immediate family members. To inquire about availability or schedule an appointment, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
5. That said, an immigration attorney is not required to apply for DACA. Individuals who feel comfortable completing the application on their own may want to do so. Visit the links below for resources:
- DACA information from USCIS:
- Annotated DACA Application Guide (IRLC):
- Webinar on Initial DACA materials:
- Initial DACA application checklist:
- Steps to apply for DACA for the first time:
- Legal service providers in the region:
6. Residents of California can also contact the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA) for assistance by calling 213-201-3797, although demand may be high at this time.
Update on Spring 2021 and Spring Break
Dec. 15, 2020 - I know that many of you have been waiting for news about the Spring 2021 calendar, especially because of the ongoing surge of COVID-19. All indicators point to the current spike continuing through January and maybe into February. The safety of the Hornet Family remains our top priority, and we must make difficult decisions based on the health of our campus community and the wider communities in which we live. Please keep in mind that any and all plans are subject to change at a moment’s notice as the pandemic continues to challenge us.
After consultation with faculty, staff, and students, the spring semester will begin as planned on Jan. 25. The first week of instruction for face-to-face classes (Jan. 25 – 29), however, will be conducted virtually. Programs that have accreditation or certification requirements for in-person instruction that may be impacted by being virtual should contact Provost Steve Perez at email@example.com to discuss options. While we anticipate that those courses approved for face-to-face instruction will meet in-person during the second week of the semester, faculty should be prepared to continue remotely if there is not a significant decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in our region. Student Housing is working on an adjusted move-in schedule for students who will be living on -campus in the spring.
Spring Break will occur as planned during the week of March 22-28. Spring Break serves as a much-needed mental health break for students and faculty. Still, I am concerned about what will happen during the break. I strongly encourage everyone to avoid traveling and other behaviors that increase risk of transmission. For those who do travel and gather with others, please be considerate of the health of the people with whom you may come into contact after you return. Unfortunately, we are now seeing the devastating and deadly ripple effects of Thanksgiving travel and gatherings. We have a collective responsibility to do everything we can to prevent the spread of this virus. If you do travel, the CDC recommends isolating up to 10 days after returning to prevent transmission of COVID-19.
During the spring semester, faculty may continue research that is currently approved for in-person activity; however, research involving students for the spring must be approved by the Provost prior to the start of the semester and must be necessary for graduation. Any new research must follow the current Return to Research protocol and must ultimately be approved by the Provost.
All employees who are teleworking shall continue to do so until instructed otherwise. For departments that have employees with approved Return to Work plans, managers must re-assess their operational/business needs for the spring semester to determine which employees need to report physically to campus to conduct standard University operations.
All employees who have not received affirmative clearance, in writing, from their appropriate administrator/MPP to physically return to campus for the spring semester must receive such written clearance before returning to work physically on campus for the upcoming spring semester.
As we come to the end of a year that for many of us will have been one of the most challenging we will ever experience, I want to reiterate my gratitude to everyone who worked to keep Sacramento State operational through these difficult times. I am, and always will be, a proud Hornet, but never prouder than I am after this year. Hornets have grit, determination, and drive. We may be exhausted, but together we will not only survive, but also thrive. The vaccine arrived today, and we will soon be together again. I hope that you have a restful winter break, and I look forward to “seeing” you in January.
Hate cannot be tolerated at Sac State
Dec. 14, 2020 - Hate cannot be tolerated on Sac State’s campus, nor can it be tolerated in any Sac State chat room. That anyone would use the “N***word” in a Sac State chat room is abominable, and that anyone can hide behind false credentials is unacceptable.
On Dec. 3, during the conclusion of the virtual event “Sac State’s Got Talent,” hosted by UNIQUE, two supposed attendees filled the chat function of the Zoom meeting with vile and hateful racial slurs. The University immediately began an investigation to determine who was involved. I am sad to say that we have failed. We cannot identify who the persons were who posted the hateful comments, nor can we determine if the users were members of the University community. In any and all cases, we condemn the perpetrators and their postings. Now we must work together to stop future incidents.
But the reality is that we must change the world in which we live, and we must continue with Sacramento State’s Antiracist Initiative. The work that the seven committees are doing must directly address this incident and must provide actual actionable actions to make certain that such reprehensible behavior is thwarted in the future.
Sacramento State condemns the hateful, racist comments that were posted, and we must come together, as a caring campus, to support one another when faced with this type, or any type of racism. We want to assure our entire campus community that we take such instances very seriously and that Information Resources & Technology (IRT) has provided resources to our faculty, staff, and students to guard against Zoombombing. By implementing smart practices, we can effectively guard against future occurrences here at Sacramento State. All students, faculty, and staff deserve to learn, work, and come together in community in a safe environment, even when the environment is a virtual classroom, office, or event.
Please also take a moment to review the Zoom security strategies on Sac State IRT’s website. These include enabling the waiting room feature, setting a password, managing participants, and managing the screen-sharing and annotation settings. For support, please contact the IRT Service Desk team. In the unfortunate event that an incident of bias and/or Zoombombing occurs, please immediately report it to the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. OEO will work closely with stakeholders, including IRT, to take appropriate action, as we will not tolerate bias, harassment, or obscene disruptions.
I repeat that I am deeply saddened by what occurred because it is yet another reminder of how far we need to go in our efforts to become an Antiracist and Inclusive campus. But being sad is not enough. That the perpetrators could not be identified as members of the Sacramento State community is no excuse. That they still felt emboldened to spread their hate during one of our virtual community events is extremely telling about where our society is today. The incident highlights the need for the Hornet Family to continue the important Antiracism & Inclusive Campus planning work that began this semester. There is no place for hate at Sacramento State. We must work together to create a campus where all our students, faculty, and staff are welcomed and belong.
Regional Stay at Home Order to go into effect at midnight tonight
Dec. 10, 2020 - Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Wednesday that ICU bed availability in the Greater Sacramento Region (including Alpine, Amador, Butte, Colusa, El Dorado, Nevada, Placer, Plumas, Sacramento, Sierra, Sutter, Yolo, and Yuba counties) has dropped below 15%, and therefore the Regional Stay at Home Order will go into effect at midnight tonight.
Given that we depopulated campus on Nov. 23, the new order will have minimal effect on Sacramento State as we continue to support our operational needs. Please review the following for updates and clarification about University operations.
Classes and labs:
- All face-to-face classes and labs scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 10, and Friday, Dec. 11, may meet at their scheduled time and place.
- There will be no changes to finals.
- Residence halls will remain open.
- Protocols established by each department during the spring will be observed for equipment return. If changes or new procedures are needed, Environmental Health & Safety (EHS) will provide prompt review (call 916-278-2020).
- The Hornet Bookstore will remain open with limited hours to allow pickup and return of course materials. Please check the Bookstore website for holiday closure dates and other updates.
- Student Health and Counseling Services remains open. Please check their website for holiday closure dates and updates.
- The ASI Children’s Center will remain open. Please check the Center website for holiday closure dates and updates.
- Limited outdoor activities will continue to be available by appointment at The Well and Aquatic Center. Please check their website for holiday closure dates and updates.
- Previously approved on-campus research involving students may continue if deemed necessary for graduation by the Provost.
- Previously approved on-campus research that does not involve students may continue.
- All employees who are teleworking shall continue to do so.
- In departments that have employees with approved return-to-work plans, managers must reassess operational/business needs to determine which employees need to report physically to campus to conduct standard University operations.
- All employees who have not received affirmative clearance to report to campus since we depopulated on Nov. 23 must receive new clearance via email from their appropriate administrator/MPP for Dec. 12 – Jan. 4, and possibly longer.
- All employees who come to campus must have completed COVID-19 Safety Training and received their Safety Equipment Package with face coverings and hand sanitizer. Wearing face coverings while on campus is mandatory. Direct any questions about safety training or safety equipment to EHS.
- We are consulting with the Sacramento County Health Department about the Men’s and Women’s Basketball schedules and other athletic activities.
- We will follow all NCAA Resocialization protocols in determining next steps.
It is not lost on me that this update, and the Regional Stay at Home Order, come one day after the CSU Chancellor’s Office announced plans for an in-person Fall 2021. We know there are many questions and concerns about what it will mean to repopulate campus in the fall. We do not have answers to those questions yet, but we will continue to communicate what we know, as we know it.
Meanwhile, I have to reiterate that I am extremely proud and appreciative of the Hornet Family for your commitment to keeping our community healthy. I am deeply grateful for the care that you have shown in creating and supporting classes while adhering to public health protocols. We have worked hard to keep the Hornet Family safe. And we will continue to do so.
I know that life has been extremely stressful since the arrival of COVID-19 and that the holiday season can exacerbate feelings of stress, depression, and loneliness. For those who need additional support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online, or call (916) 278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online, or call (800) 367-7474. I hope that everyone has a safe and restful holiday season.
Fall 2021 to be in-person, according to CSU Chancellor's Office
Dec. 9, 2020 - The CSU Chancellor’s Office released a memo today announcing that it is “planning for an anticipated return to delivering courses primarily in-person starting with the Fall 2021 term.” Of course, the number and extent of in-person classes, University operations, and campus services will depend on the level of COVID-19 risk, but given the current progress with multiple vaccines, we believe that science will allow us to return safely to campus next fall.
Please note that the CSU has extended its Fall 2021 application deadlines, and high school and transfer students have until Dec. 15 to complete their applications. Prospective students should apply to Sacramento State online through the Cal State Apply website. Application fee waivers are available, and there are robust financial aid programs for eligible students with need.
I sincerely hope that we can repopulate our beautiful campus next fall. I miss you, and Sacramento State misses you. Meanwhile, please continue to stay safe. Take care of yourself and one another and enjoy a restful holiday season. Stingers Up!
Holiday drive-through celebration cancelled due to COVID-19
Nov. 30, 2020 - Due to the ongoing surge of COVID-19 in our region, the President’s Cabinet has made the difficult decision to cancel the faculty and staff holiday drive-through celebration and toy drive scheduled for next Monday, Dec. 7. An announcement of the event was in the Monday Briefing this morning, and an updated version with the cancellation will be sent shortly.
We remain committed to supporting foster children this holiday season through the Ticket to Dream Foundation. Unwrapped gifts can be dropped off at the Sacramento State Police Department through Dec. 10. Monetary donations can be made directly to the Ticket to Dream website, or you can select gifts through Amazon on the Ticket to Dream Wishlist.
I am disappointed that I will not be able to see you personally next week to wish you a wonderful Holiday Season. Still, I want to tell you (virtually) how much Jody and I appreciate all that you are doing for our students and our community, especially in these difficult times. I know that cancelling the toy drive is the right decision for the health and safety of the Hornet Family and our community; I also know that we will all find ways to support each other in this coming year. Again, thank you for your continued generosity and willingness to support young people in the Sacramento region. Stay safe and healthy.
Reporting illness or exposure to COVID-19
Nov. 24, 2020 - COVID-19 cases are increasing rapidly across the country, but particularly in Sacramento County. I would like to remind everyone that whether you are on or off campus, it is still absolutely critical that students and employees report any COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, or positive test results via the COVID-19 illness/exposure report form. And if you need to be on campus for any reason, be sure to use the daily health screening app. These data are critical to our ability to mitigate spread, conduct contact tracing, and protect the Hornet Family. Both the daily health screening link and the illness/exposure form are located on the home page of the University website.
If you have questions regarding Sacramento State’s safety protocols, please contact Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020 and/or visit their website. A dedicated group of campus leaders, including the President’s Cabinet, the Faculty Senate, Risk Management, Student Health and Counseling Services, and others, remains focused on keeping our community safe. I thank them, and all of you, for all that you are doing to protect the Hornet Family. We will endure, and we will do it together.
Depopulating campus as of Monday, Nov. 23, 2020
Nov. 20, 2020 - Given the significant increase in COVID-19 cases in our region, and in collaboration with the Chancellor's Office, and state and local public health authorities, we have made the difficult decision to make every effort to depopulate campus, effective Monday, Nov. 23. As members of a community, we must make decisions that are in the best interest of our campus and the Sacramento Region. It is clear that COVID-19 is surging, and we must do our part to mitigate the spread by significantly decreasing the number of people traveling to and interacting on campus. Additionally, I strongly encourage faculty, staff, and students who plan to travel for the Thanksgiving break to stay remote, if possible, through the end of the year. Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for additional guidelines on safely celebrating the holidays.Campus leadership has heard from many of you over the past week. We listened to your concerns, ideas, and questions, and have worked to create a flexible plan for the remainder of the semester. We understand that this is extremely short notice, so we have worked to develop options that we believe will address a wide variety of concerns. Thank you for caring deeply about our students and their success. As we transition yet again, it is important that everyone continues to check their email, Canvas, and social media channels for critical campus updates.
Classes and labs:• All face-to-face classes and labs scheduled for Monday, Nov. 23 – Wednesday, Nov. 25, may be cancelled by faculty to give them time to pivot their last two weeks of instruction to previously designed virtual delivery.• Faculty currently teaching face-to-face classes who feel they do not need the additional preparation time to pivot to virtual instruction after Thanksgiving will be allowed to hold them Monday, Nov. 23 – Wednesday, Nov. 25.
• Face-to-face internships, clinical placements, field placements, or student teaching assignments will continue as planned for the semester if the site remains open.• Virtual instruction will continue Monday, Nov. 23 – Wednesday, Nov. 25. Only face-to-face classes and labs may be cancelled for those days.• Faculty should communicate as soon as possible to students if face-to-face instruction will be cancelled or altered next week.• All faculty are strongly encouraged to pivot the remainder of the semester to virtual delivery.• Faculty who believe their course must be completed in a face-to-face format must receive approval from the Provost and President. Academic Affairs will share additional information on this process as soon as possible.• Starting Nov. 30, specific approval from the Provost and President will be required to continue meeting face-to-face.• Every student must be afforded the opportunity to finish the semester virtually, without penalty, as was outlined at the beginning of the semester.• Formerly face-to-face classes will resume on Monday, Nov. 30, in their virtual format or in person, if approved.• Faculty currently teaching face-to-face courses must send a message to their students regarding their plans to finish the semester before Monday, Nov. 30.
For students:• Permitted course withdrawals will be extended through the end of the semester, without penalty.• Students living in the residence halls will be given the option to end their fall room-and-board assignment when the Thanksgiving break begins.• A refund will be processed for their room-and-board assignment effective Thursday, Nov. 26, or a later date if more time is needed to move out. • Students are not required to move out early.• Students in residence halls should check their email for additional instructions from University Housing Services.• For more immediate questions, students should speak to their RA or RLC.• The Hornet Bookstore will remain open with limited hours to allow pick up and return of course materials.• Student Health and Counseling Services remains open.
On-campus research:• Previously approved on-campus research involving students may continue if it is deemed necessary for graduation.• The supervising faculty must attest to the Provost and President that students participating in research are doing so based upon a graduation requirement.• Previously approved on-campus research that does not involve students may continue.
For employees:• All employees who are teleworking now must continue to do so.• All employees currently reporting to campus who can telework must now do so.• Managers must assess their operational/business needs to determine which employees need to report physically to campus.• Employees who previously were cleared to return to campus should reach out to their appropriate administrator/MPP to explore ways to meet the operational needs of the department while fully teleworking.• All employees must receive new affirmative clearance via email from their appropriate administrator/MPP for this time period in order to report to campus.
Decreasing the campus population is something I hoped we might avoid this semester, but clearly it is now necessary. Sacramento State has worked diligently to develop and uphold the COVID-19 health and safety protocols, and thus far we have been relatively successful. However, given the current and likely future rise of COVID-19 cases as well as the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday, we must change course to avoid putting each other, our community, and ourselves in danger.I cannot express how proud and appreciative I am of the Hornet Family for your commitment to keeping our community healthy. I am deeply grateful for the care that you have shown in creating and supporting classes while adhering to public health protocols. We have worked hard to keep the Hornet Family safe. Now, we must take the next necessary step to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and to keep our extended families and communities healthy by transitioning back to remote learning and operations.Life has been extremely stressful since the arrival of COVID-19. For those who need additional support, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online or call (916) 278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online or call (800) 367-7474.I hope that everyone has a safe and COVID-free Thanksgiving break.
Virtual operations will continue through spring semester
Nov. 18, 2020 - Earlier this semester, Chancellor Timothy P. White, in concert with the 23 CSU campus presidents, state and local agencies, and health officials, determined that the Spring 2021 semester would be virtual, with very few exceptions for a small number of in-person classes. We shared that announcement with you knowing that conditions could change; unfortunately, they have not changed for the better.Due to an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, Sacramento County Public Health has moved Sacramento County back into the “purple tier” of the Blueprint for a Safer Economy. This change presents a more restrictive set of guidelines for business and educational operations in an effort to slow the spread. The new restrictions also reinforce the CSU’s decision to remain virtual through the spring semester. Much like this fall, a small percentage of our classes will be delivered face-to-face, but the vast majority will be delivered virtually.
For students, courses are up to date in the Student Center. If the class lists a building and room number or other campus space, then it will be in-person. Courses without a building and room number will be delivered virtually.
For employees, everyone who is teleworking should continue to do so through the spring semester, including those who are teaching virtually. Employees who have been cleared to report to campus should continue communicating directly with their manager/appropriate administrator for additional direction.
As we approach the holiday season, we must all commit to take every precaution to keep our loved ones, our communities, and ourselves safe. I know that the past nine months of living with the COVID-19 pandemic has been exhausting. We all want it to be over, but the virus does not care that we are tired. We all must continue our personal and collective responsibility to be vigilant with safety protocols, including masks and social distancing. For those who may need additional support during this time, please consider the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit Student Health and Counseling Services online or call (916) 278-6461. We have counselors ready to help you through this difficult time. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online or call (800) 367-7474. We will be back together again when it is safe to do so. I look forward to that day, as I am sure you do. Until then, please take care of yourself and one another. We will endure together.
Honoring Veterans Day
Nov. 10, 2020 - Every Commencement we pause to celebrate our veterans who are graduating and the veterans in the stands. It is a moving and humbling moment. Campus will be closed tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov. 11, in observance of our veterans. I hope you will join me in recognizing and honoring the members of our Hornet Family and all of those who have served and sacrificed for our country. The day is especially poignant this year as we just witnessed a historic election where more than 146 million Americans exercised their civil right to vote. Fair and free elections are the heart of our democracy, and those who served and are currently serving help ensure that these freedoms are protected. I am grateful for your service, and I hope you enjoy a peaceful Veterans Day. Stingers Up!
Nov. 4, 2020 - I saw a tweet yesterday that said, “After the election: If you win, don’t gloat. If you lose, don’t despair.” You may question my choice of referencing a tweet the day after the most divisive national election in our memory, much of which unfolded over social media. But the past few years have been increasingly difficult, and I know that we have been feeling the pressure.
As a nation lately, we have faced significant sadness and fear. Far too many lives have been lost to COVID-19. This summer saw months of civil unrest as citizens marched in the streets for justice and accountability for the Black lives cut short. For many, yesterday’s election was a source of hope for change and for a better future. Unfortunately, the election is not over, and the results are still unknown. We have no choice but to continue to wait, because every vote must be counted and every voice must be heard.
I know many of you are feeling anxious and afraid. The Hornet Family is here to listen and offer support, regardless of your political belief. The results of the election will be a source of joy for some and pain for others. For those who may need additional support during this time, I encourage you to use the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit our Student Health and Counseling Services online or call (916) 278-6461. We have counselors ready to help. Faculty and staff should contact our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) online or call (800) 367-7474.
Regardless of the election’s outcome, we must commit to finding common ground. We must remind ourselves that we are more alike than we are different. I am proud of the work Sacramento State is doing to increase equity and inclusion and to mitigate the opportunity gap and the digital divide. We can choose to make positive changes in our own lives and in our communities. Even when we are facing uncertain times, we can continue to support one another. We are a Hornet Family. We cannot let an election rip us apart. Our Hornet hearts are who we are. Tomorrow and every day we will come together to support each other. This election, no election, will divide us. What we do today and tomorrow will define us. We will define our future together. Stingers Up! #MakingItHappenAtSacState
Vice President Phil Garcia will retire Nov. 13, 2020
Oct. 29, 2020 - It is with mixed emotions that I share that Phil Garcia, vice president for Public Affairs and Advocacy, will retire on Nov. 13. He has been an outstanding member of the Hornet Family for over 15 years, and he will be greatly missed.
Vice President Garcia joined Sacramento State in September 2004 as executive director of the Office of Governmental and Civic Affairs, where he led the University’s state and federal governmental relations and fostered meaningful and lasting relationships with the city of Sacramento and other local and regional governmental bodies. During his tenure, he has made a significant impact on the University and our community. In 2010, then-President Alexander Gonzalez appointed him vice president of the newly created Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy, which combined University Advancement’s Office of Public Affairs with the Office of Governmental and Civic Affairs. Vice President Garcia eventually led an office that combined government relations, civic affairs, media relations, social media, and university marketing.
Vice President Garcia is known to have helped coin the phrase “Made at Sac State,” an ongoing and successful initiative that underscores the value and return on investment of a Sacramento State degree and the impact of alumni in our community and region. Under his leadership and in partnership with Senior AVP Jeannie Wong and the entire communications team, “Made at Sac State” has become a multifaceted, award-winning marketing campaign that is now the signature brand among higher education institutions in the region and a source of pride for Sacramento State alumni everywhere.
Key among Vice President Garcia’s countless accomplishments is his leadership in Sacramento State’s Anchor University initiative. When I announced the initiative in 2018, I appointed him to serve as co-chair of a 50-member volunteer Anchor University Task Force. Following a year of outreach to campus stakeholders, community partners, and nonprofit groups, the Task Force produced a white paper that provided more than 50 recommendations to transform Sacramento State into an Anchor University. And thanks in large part to Vice President Garcia’s leadership, I announced the establishment of the Sacramento State Anchor University Advisory Council on Oct. 26, culminating his stewardship of the initiative.
The Division of Public Affairs and Advocacy is critical for Sacramento State, especially as our University and our region navigate significant challenges. The division will remain intact and will report to the President’s Office for the immediate future.
I am grateful for Phil’s leadership and for his service to Sacramento State. In his annual evaluation, I told him that it has been a privilege to work with him. His guidance, expertise, and experience have helped shape Sacramento State into the University we are today. Please join me in expressing our appreciation for Phil’s commitment, service, and heart for Sacramento State. He is a Hornet for life, forever “Made at Sac State.” Stingers Up!
Election Day is less than a week away
Oct. 28, 2020 - It is hard to believe that Election Day is less than a week away, and we have many important decisions before us as a nation. Shortly we will not only will we be choosing the next president of the United States, but we will also be electing legislators and local officeholders, and voting on a number of state and local propositions.
The election comes in the midst of an already stressful and divisive time for our country. Emotions are running high as we each carry our own fears, concerns, and hopes about the outcome of next week. I anticipate even more anxiety for our country because the result of the presidential election may not be known for several days, perhaps even weeks, after the election. Whether you are celebrating or protesting the eventual outcome, I ask that you please take precautions to keep yourself safe. COVID-19 infections continue to accelerate, and we must all remain vigilant and comply with appropriate safety protocols. Wear your mask and keep distanced from others, especially when inside. I ask that everyone exercise caution and remain aware of their surroundings. For those who may need additional support during this time, I encourage you to use the services and resources offered by Sacramento State. Students should visit our https://www.csus.edu/student-life/health-counseling 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 (800) 367-7474 or https://www.csus.edu/administration-business-affairs/internal/your-hr/benefits/employee-assistance-program.html. Many of us were eager to vote in this election and have already cast our ballots – Jody and I dropped ours off last week. If you have not yet voted, Sacramento State’s Ballot Drop Box is available during regular business hours on the first floor of The WELL now through Election Day. Sacramento State is hosting a Vote Center again on campus at Modoc Hall. The Vote Center, operated by the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections, replaces traditional Election Day-only polling places. It will be open for the three days immediately before the election and on Election Day. All registered voters in Sacramento County can vote there in person or drop off their completed ballots. Physical distancing and safety precautions will be in place. The Vote Center’s schedule is:
- 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 - Monday, Nov. 2
- 7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 (Election Day)
Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Planning Group
Oct. 27, 2020 - I am pleased to announce appointments to the seven Action Planning Groups for the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus planning process.
Students, faculty, staff, and administrators from throughout the University who comprise these planning groups will be responsible for identifying goals, strategies, and tactics for the respective content areas that will be used to create the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan. This plan will identify what an antiracist campus looks like and the meaningful actions that need to be taken as we move forward together.
The complete roster of the Action Planning Groups is available on the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan webpage.
Finally, I want to encourage the entire Hornet Family to engage with this critical work.
Please continue to care for yourself and one another. Stingers Up!
Anchor University Advisory Council appointments
Oct. 26, 2020 - Today I am pleased to announce campus appointments to the inaugural Anchor University Advisory Council, a standing body that will offer overall direction, support, and feedback to sustain the work of the University’s anchor mission.
The 35 individuals appointed to serve on the Advisory Council represent students, faculty, staff, and administrators from across all academic colleges, administrative divisions, Associated Students, Inc., and the University Staff Assembly. The seating of this body is a true milestone in our efforts to establish Sacramento State as an Anchor University that addresses inequities and improves the quality of life in our community and region.
The complete roster of the Advisory Council is available on the Anchor University homepage (csus.edu/experience/anchor-university). The inaugural meeting of the Advisory Council is currently being scheduled, and a monthly meeting schedule will be set.
The Advisory Council will directly advise the President’s Cabinet. And as previously noted, I will appoint a senior administrator to lead our Anchor University initiative once the current fiscal uncertainty is resolved. This position will be housed in the Office of the President, and the senior administrator will have a seat on the President’s Cabinet, ensuring that implementation of the initiative will be a university-wide priority.
In the near future, I also will appoint external community partners to serve on the Advisory Council to ensure that community voices are present at the outset. These appointments will consider the community priorities highlighted in the Anchor University Task Force report (https://www.csus.edu/experience/anchor-university/report).
Finally, I want to encourage the entire Hornet Family to engage with this critical endeavor as we move forward with the work of the Advisory Council. As I have said before, our work as one of the nation’s “most transformative colleges” must extend beyond J Street. Please join us in the enduring work to develop mutually beneficial relationships with our external partners in pioneering endeavors to meet the challenges confronting the diverse communities we serve.Please stay safe.
Oct. 21, 2020 - 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. It is even more important now, during the COVID-19 pandemic, to be aware of both of these NCAA issues. 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. If a member of the campus community thinks a student-athlete is in need, please notify a member of the Athletics Department.
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 (e.g., plagiarism, academic fraud) 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 becomes 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 have purchased season tickets for a certain sport. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list.
Athletics activities have been postponed until the spring semester, but our student-athletes will do 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 email@example.com 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.
Endorsing International Pronouns Day
Oct. 21, 2020 - 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 intersectional identities of all members of the Hornet Family.
On Oct. 11, we celebrated National Coming Out Day, and today, Oct. 21, 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. To learn more about pronouns and why they are important, please review GLSEN’s Pronoun Guide.
My pronouns are he/him/his, and I am proud to celebrate the LGBTQIA members of our Hornet Family. Please join me, the PRIDE Center, the Queer & Trans Faculty & Staff Association, and the Hornet Family in celebrating the evolution of identity and pronouns by showcasing your pronouns today. A short video montage created by Strategic Student Support Programs and celebrating pronouns is provided here: International Pronouns Day.
Voting reminder as Election Day nears
Oct. 14, 2020 - Sacramento State is devoted to the civic engagement of our students, and I am pleased that, again this year, Associated Students Inc. (ASI) has made participation in the election a priority. The simple act of voting is the cornerstone of our democracy and has never been more importantOur nation’s general election is on Nov. 3, 2020, when we will vote for president, legislators, local officeholders, and on a number of state and local propositions.Because of the pandemic, all registered voters in California will be mailed a ballot, but polling places will still be open. The deadline to register to vote is midnight Oct. 19, but eligible voters are encouraged to register well in advance. You can register to vote and check your registration status online.To vote in California, you must be:
A United States citizen and 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 by a court to be mentally incompetent to vote
While each county in California conducts its own election, we are excited that Sacramento County voters who choose not to mail in their ballots may use the Ballot Drop Box that is on the first floor of The WELL. The drop box is available during normal business hours now through Election Day.Sacramento State again will host a Vote Center on campus at Modoc Hall. The Vote Center, operated by the Sacramento County Department of Voter Registration and Elections, replaces traditional Election Day-only polling places. It will be open for the three days immediately before the election and on Election Day. All registered voters in Sacramento County can vote there in person or drop off their completed ballots. Physical distancing and other safety precautions will be in place.The Vote Center’s schedule is:
8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 31 - Monday, Nov. 2
7 a.m. - 8 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 3 (Election Day)
The Vote Center also will allow Sacramento County residents the opportunity for same-day registration and voting. Those ballots will not be counted until after the county elections office has verified registration, so it’s best to register before Oct. 19. Additionally, Sacramento County voters can pick up replacement ballots at the Vote Center.I sincerely hope that each eligible student will register to vote and take part in this year’s election. For more information, please visit the Community Engagement Center’s voting website.
2020-21 academic year holiday schedule
Oct. 14, 2020 - It is hard to believe that we are already in the seventh week of fall classes. I know that many people will be interested to know when campus will be closed for holidays, particularly now, when a break is so desperately needed. The holiday schedule for the remainder of the academic year is listed below:
Wednesday, Nov. 11:
Campus is closed in observance of Veterans Day.
Thursday, Nov. 26:
Campus is closed in observance of Thanksgiving Day.
Friday, Nov. 27:
Campus is closed. This is an academic holiday for Academic Year (AY) faculty and other AY Unit 3 employees. Staff, management, and Unit 3 employees holding 12-month appointments 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.
Thursday, Dec. 24:
Campus is closed (anticipated total of up to eight hours tentatively gifted from Gov. Newsom and President Nelsen).
Friday, Dec. 25 – Friday, 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 Monday, Jan. 4, 2021.
Monday, Jan. 18
Campus is closed in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Wednesday, March 31:
Campus is closed in observance of Cesar Chavez Day.
Monday, May 31:
Campus is closed in observance of Memorial Day.
Honoring Indigenous Peoples' Day
Oct. 12, 2020 - Today, on the 28th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples' Day, the Hornet Family remembers and honors the original native people of this nation and the original stewards of the land on which Sacramento State stands: the Nisenan, Patwin, Miwok, Wintu, and Maidu. Sacramento State’s Associated Students Inc. resolved in 2017 that our University recognize the 25th anniversary of Indigenous Peoples' Day. We continue to recognize the lived experiences of the native people of the Americas and acknowledge 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, not only today, but every day, and that we seek to understand our shared history so that we can build a better future together.
2020 Sacramento State budget message
Oct. 5, 2020 - As we all know, last year was not a normal year, not once the pandemic arrived. And next year will not be a normal year either. Largely because of COVID-19, this year, California is facing a $54 billion budget shortfall. To make up for that shortfall, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature reduced the California State University system’s 2020-21 budget by $299 million. The CSU system also is expecting to suffer a $24.2 million reduction in tuition revenue due to changes in student enrollment patterns. All in all, the CSU system’s budget for 2020-21 is $323.2 million less than it was last year. We do not expect the budget for 2021-22 to improve and will be preparing for a similar reduction. I am sorry that I do not have better news. However, I am pleased to report that with a combination of reductions in each division and the use of reserves, we have managed to balance the budget for this year.
To meet the decrease in state and CSU system allocations, the President’s Cabinet made the difficult decision to cut every division’s budget by 10%. Unfortunately, because of increases in employer-paid health care premiums, unfunded operations and maintenance costs for new facilities, increased retirement benefits, and minimum wage increases plus COVID-19 expenditures, the 10% reductions were insufficient, and we had to pull funds from our reserves. The 10% reductions for the divisions are substantial, and they will be felt throughout the University:
- Public Affairs and Advocacy: -$52,811
- Athletics: -$498,509
- University Advancement: -$404,807
- President: -$372,649 (including University Communications; Commencement; University Initiatives and Student Success; and Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning)
- Inclusive Excellence: -$96,364
- Student Affairs: -$1,363,435
- Information Resources and Technology: -$864,422
- Administration and Business Affairs: -$2,121,345 (including Human Resources)
- Academic Affairs: -$11,519,936
On Sept. 21, following the advice of the University Budget Advisory Committee (UBAC), the President’s Cabinet finalized Sacramento State’s budget. Overall, because of the reduced allocations from the state and (hence) the CSU system, Sacramento State’s budget will be reduced from $357,947,737 in 2019-20 to $348,296,000 in 2020-21. In other words, we have $9,651,737 less this year than we had last year. We are clearly facing a very difficult year, especially given the loss of revenue from housing, meal plans, rental income, NCAA allocations, cancelled events, parking, contracts and grants, etc. Usually, people say that we will have to do more with less. The truth is, as I said in my Fall Address, we will have to learn how to do less with less. We know how much the less costs, but we don’t know yet what “the less” actually will be.
- Estimated sources of funds = $348,296,000
- General Fund allocation $184,006,000
- Student tuition fee revenue $162,190,000
- Education Insights $1,100,000
- Federal Work Study $1,000,000
These funds do not meet UBAC’s recommended overall budget:
- Estimated uses of funds = $355,335,776
- Includes compensation pool and benefits cost increases, which contains campus contributions to fund the shortfalls in state general funding
- $709,664 increase in All University expenses for a total amount of $27,469,006
- $155,433,392 for division allocations. This allocation amounts to a $17,294,279 decrease to division allocations (10%) to assist with the budget shortfall, in addition to the President’s Office additional contribution of $215,123
- $6,888,626 for the Graduation Initiative (the same as last year – these funds are recurring)
- $5,500,000 one-time-use funds to Academic Affairs for additional sections (the same as last year)
- $200,000 one-time-use funds to Administration and Business Affairs for repairs related to safety
To make up the shortfall, the President’s Cabinet concurred with UBAC’s recommendation that we utilize central University reserves to cover the deficit of $7,039,776. But, as UBAC noted, continuing to utilize reserves to cover ongoing permanent costs is not sustainable.
A summary of the University’s final budget for the 2020-21 General Operating Fund is provided here. The baseline allocations to each division are as follows:
- Public Affairs and Advocacy: $487,873
- Athletics: $4,648,181
- University Advancement: $3,730,649
- President: $4,345,598 (including University Communications; Commencement; University Initiatives and Student Success; and Institutional Research, Effectiveness, and Planning)
- Inclusive Excellence: $1,285,572
- Student Affairs: $14,312,025
- Information Resources and Technology: $8,414,598
- Administration and Business Affairs: $19,459,596 (including Human Resources)
- Academic Affairs: $109,787,681
This balanced budget is built upon the use of reserves. Reserves are one-time funding; they are not recurring. As noted above, the majority of the budget is recurring funding, mostly in salaries. Many of you will be wondering if we have enough reserves to survive. Truthfully, we do not. Each month, we spend $16 million on salaries ($24.2 million with benefit costs). We have a history of using our reserves to move projects forward. In 2019-20, Sacramento State transferred more than $18 million in funding for the completion of the Ernest E. Tschannen Science Complex. I know that we made the right decision to invest in our academic facilities, but that decision left us with significantly decreased reserves. In campus central reserves, we currently have $19,496,213. We have another $7,192,291 in interest earnings. But we have a $743,023 shortfall in benefits and a $1,143,926 shortfall in salaries. And then there are the unknowns for athletics (a moving target because of potential testing, travel or no travel, etc.) and additional commitments for items such as the $325,000 for the audiology lab. In short, after balancing this budget, we have approximately $17,000,000 in reserves as our protection during this pandemic.
We will have to make significant reductions in recurring expenses this year and next. We cannot rely on reserves. Hence, we have initiated the Early Exit Program. This program will assist with the reduction of the permanent baseline expenses in the budget (the $18 million that I mentioned above) for future years. Our goal is to avoid layoffs and furloughs, but we will have to find creative ways to eliminate recurring expenses and increase efficiencies.
This year and next year will be difficult, and we must be prepared for difficult budget discussions. As always, I would like to extend my gratitude to UBAC for its patience and attentiveness to the budget recommendations. I also am thankful for the work of the Budget Office and every budget officer who helped us determine this year’s 10% reductions. We will continue our commitment to investing in student success, health and safety, and inclusive excellence. We will not slow down on our philanthropic, Anchor University, and antiracist campus imperatives. But we must join together and be courageous as we manage our budget so that we can continue the tremendous success that we have experienced as thousands and thousands of our students have graduated with the excellent education that we have provided.
Response to possible ICE operations
Oct. 1, 2020 - Earlier this week, we learned that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) is planning a series of immigration enforcement operations in sanctuary cities across California. The increased pressure from the federal government around immigration enforcement will be a source of stress, anxiety, and fear for many members of our campus community, causing added trauma for many on top of the trauma caused by the pandemic, racial violence, the economy, and the ongoing wildfires. I want to reaffirm my personal commitment and our institutional promise to support our students, staff, and faculty who are undocumented or from mixed-status families and communities. Below is critical information that I hope will be shared with anyone who may be impacted by these operations.
The Constitution of the United States guarantees certain rights for everyone, regardless of immigration status. These rights include the right to remain silent and not answer questions from the police or immigration authorities, the right to deny law enforcement entry into one’s home without permission, and the right to speak with an attorney if detained. It is critical that individuals consult with an immigration attorney regarding their specific immigration situation, especially if they have a prior deportation or other previous contact with immigration authorities. It is also critical that everyone understands their legal rights and uses the campus and community resources and services.
In 2019, Sacramento State approved the interim policy “Protecting Undocumented Individuals and Immigration and Customs Enforcement on Campus.” This policy outlines protocols and procedures for the protection of the undocumented population at Sacramento State. The Sacramento State Police Department will cooperate with immigration enforcement only when required by law. If anyone is approached by immigration officials on campus, they should immediately contact the Sacramento State Police Department, which will then review the legality of any warrants, court orders, or subpoenas and determine if we are required to cooperate.
The Dreamer Resource Center (DRC) offers numerous resources and services to support undocumented members of the campus community. You can contact the DRC at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 278-7734. The DRC offers free immigration clinics with attorneys who can help with DACA renewals, citizenship petitions, status adjustments, and general inquiries. The clinics are open to students, staff, faculty members, and their immediate family members. Dream Connections is a weekly social support group that helps students address the challenges of undocumented status. The DRC also can provide referrals to counseling and psychological services as well as information about community resources, immigration services, and legal support.
These are difficult and uncertain times, and I encourage anyone who is impacted by these operations to seek mental health support.
Additional resources are available:
- “Know Your Rights” Resource – https://immigrantsrising.org/support-for-immigrant-families-targeted-for-deportation
- ACLU “We Have Rights” information – https://www.aclu.org/issues/immigrants-rights/ice-and-border-patrol-abuses/we-have-rights?redirect=we-have-right
- Sacramento Family Unity, Education, and Legal (FUEL) Network – https://www.sacfuelnetwork.org/
To our Dreamers, DACA recipients, undocumented individuals, and those with mixed-status families, you are valued members of our Hornet Family. We support you, and we will continue to advocate for your rights and stand beside you.
Please join the Our Promise Campaign
Sept. 24, 2020 - For decades, 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. As an anchor institution, we must find ways to support and enrich our surrounding communities, especially with the ongoing pandemic that has devastated so many businesses and families. Donating to a local charity or to Sacramento State can be one of the many threads we weave within the anchor institution tapestry.
This year, Our Promise has transitioned to a digital platform. Whether you are new or returning to the Our Promise program, you will need to create an online profile. I encourage everyone to create a profile, even if you choose not to donate. After Oct. 31, you will not be able to create a profile, so please begin the process now so that after October, you will have the opportunity to donate if you so choose. Please follow this link to register for the program.
Please email email@example.com with any questions or concerns, or call Megan at (916) 278-4263.
Once again, I am challenging the Hornet Family not only to increase the number of donors from the previous year but also to bolster the overall donation total. I know we can do this because the Hornet Family gives from the heart. Please consider giving to one of the many worthy organizations that need our help. Also, if there is a Sacramento State program that you would like to support, you can find more information about online giving and payroll deduction options on our Sacramento State Guide to Giving page.
Thank you for your generosity. Stingers Up!
Dr. Joe Castro named as next CSU chancellor
Sept. 23, 2020 - This morning, the California State University announced the eighth chancellor of the CSU, Dr. Joe Castro. Please click this link to read the announcement.
Please consider attending a “Conversation with the Chancellor-Select” hosted by Monica Lozano, president and CEO of the College Futures Foundation. Scheduled for 11 a.m. this Friday, Sept. 25, at www.calstate.edu/chancellorconversation, the event is a unique opportunity for the CSU’s students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders to learn more about Dr. Castro and his vision for the CSU.
Congratulations, Dr. Castro. We look forward to your leadership.
New framework for drafting an Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan
Sept. 21, 2020 - In these challenging times, Sacramento State recognizes the need to commit to transformational change and create and implement an Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan. President Nelsen and the Cabinet have developed a framework that will allow our campus to collectively draft that plan while ensuring that it addresses the various ways a truly antiracism and inclusive campus must engage and operate.
The plan will be created through a structured collective process where individuals from across campus have the opportunity to provide input and feedback and serve on planning groups. The framework identifies seven content areas and establishes a separate Action Planning Group for each. Please follow this link to learn more about the Antiracism and Inclusive Campus Plan framework.
We encourage the entire campus to review the framework, provide input and feedback throughout the process, and consider applying to serve on a planning group. Students, staff, and administrators interested in serving on a planning group can apply online. Faculty interested in serving should look for the separate call and application process from Faculty Senate. The planning process also will be supported by up to four fellows who will be hired to support it. Students, faculty, and staff interested in serving as a Planning Fellow can apply online. The President will announce appointments by mid-October and the initial orientation meeting will be held on Oct. 23, 2020.
Robert S. Nelsen, President
Diana Tate Vermeire, Vice President for Inclusive Excellence and UDO
Steve Perez, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
Ed Mills, Vice President for Student Affairs
Jonathan Bowman, Vice President for Administration and Business Affairs and CFO
Lisa Cardoza, Vice President for University Advancement
Mark Hendricks, Interim Vice President for IRT and CIO
Phil Garcia, Vice President for Public Affairs and Advocacy
Machelle Martin, Senior Associate VP of Human Resources
Jim Reinhart, Executive Director, University Enterprises, Inc.
James Dragna, Executive Director of University Initiatives and Student Success
Jeannie Wong, Senior Associate Vice President of University Communications
Cely Smart, Chief of Staff
Sarah Billingsley, Deputy Chief of Staff
Seeking nominations for honorary doctorates
Sept. 21, 2020 - Sacramento State’s honorary degrees selection committee invites nominations for honorary doctorates to be conferred during the 2021 Commencement ceremonies.
The California State University 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.
Click here to submit a nomination.
Click here to learn more about honorary doctorates and to meet previous recipients.
Submission deadline: Oct. 16, 2020
For questions about the nomination process, please contact Gladys Glaude at (916) 278-4952, firstname.lastname@example.org.
University-related outdoor activities may resume Sept. 15
Sept. 14, 2020 - Sacramento is experiencing slightly improved air quality. Therefore, University-related outdoor activities may resume Tuesday, Sept. 15. Despite the improvement, the forecast shows that due to wildfires, our air quality will likely remain unhealthy for sensitive groups.
Employees who are scheduled to work on campus should contact their managers for guidance. Environmental Health & Safety has identified classifications and/or positions that, based on their job duties and subsequent time working outdoors, may be provided with N-95 dust masks. Those who have not been identified by EHS, but who would like to request an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth, should also contact their managers for guidance. Sacramento State has a limited supply of N-95 masks available. If needed, students and employees can pick up an N-95 mask at the AIRC.
Please remember that a face covering that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face coverings and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates.
Student Health and Counseling Services will be open. Services are also available through telehealth at (916) 278-6461.
For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Please note that everyone who is currently teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely.
Suspending outdoor campus activities on Sept. 14
Sept. 13, 2020 - Sacramento continues to experience poor air quality due to the wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will suspend all University-related outdoor activities Monday, Sept. 14. Classes are not cancelled. We will continue monitoring the situation. If the poor air quality persists, we will announce any additional suspensions of activities by 5 p.m. Monday, Sept. 14.
Employees who are scheduled to work on campus should contact their managers for guidance. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates. Sacramento State has a limited supply of N-95 masks available. Students and employees who need an N-95 mask can pick one up at the AIRC on Monday, Sept. 14.
Student Health and Counseling Services will remain open. Services also are available through telehealth at (916) 278-6461.
For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Weekend suspension of outdoor activities
Sept. 11, 2020 - Sacramento continues to experience poor air quality due to the wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will suspend all University-related outdoor activities Saturday, Sept. 12, and Sunday, Sept. 13. Classes are not cancelled. We will continue monitoring the situation. If the poor air quality persists, we will announce any additional suspensions of activities by 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 13.
Employees who are scheduled to work on campus this weekend should contact their managers for guidance. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates.
Student Health and Counseling Services will remain open. Services are also available through telehealth at (916) 278-6461.
For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Never forget: Honoring those we lost on 9/11
Sept. 11, 2020 - Today marks 19 years since we witnessed the horrific events of Sept. 11, 2001. Nineteen years. It is hard to imagine that it has been so long, and yet for many, it feels like yesterday.
Our nation changed on that day, and it is important that we take a moment to remember all who were lost that morning, and to honor the sacrifices and service of the members of our armed forces who have served in subsequent military actions.
Last year, we invited the campus community to a flag ceremony on the morning of 9/11. We heard from those who were on campus for the ceremony that it was meaningful and important – a tradition we should continue. Of course, COVID-19 has interrupted many of our traditions, old and new, so we were unable to invite you to a similar flag ceremony on campus today.
However, even though we cannot be together in person to honor the 19th anniversary of the solemn occasion, please watch this short video of a ceremonial lowering of the flag by members of the Sacramento State Army ROTC. I’m sure that you will find the experience very moving.
We will never forget those who were lost.
Suspending outdoor activities due to poor air quality
Sept. 10, 2020 - Congratulations on a successful beginning of the fall semester. You are all working incredibly hard despite being displaced by COVID-19. Virtual classes and operations are not what any of us wanted for this fall, but I remain impressed and encouraged by your ability to adapt and thrive under such circumstances.
Now that the fall semester is underway, it is natural to wonder what will happen in the spring. Today, the California State University system announced that the Spring 2021 semester will be virtual, with very few exceptions for a small number of in-person classes. Of course, much can (and likely will) change in the coming months, but Chancellor Timothy P. White, in concert with the 23 CSU campus presidents, state and local agencies, and health officials, believes it is highly unlikely that conditions will improve enough to repopulate our 23 campuses. Health and safety continue to be our top priority, and while this decision will not be popular with everyone, I believe it is the right choice to keep our campus and our community safe.
While we cannot predict what will happen, we believe it is better to plan for a virtual spring than to hold out hope and force students and employees to scramble to prepare at the last minute. Now that the decision has been made, we will use the time to continue to improve our remote class delivery and virtual operations, and to reassess how to succeed despite diminishing resources.
I know that many questions remain. Will we have athletics and performances? Will we have Commencement ceremonies? When will facilities such as the AIRC or The WELL be fully open again? Will most employees still be teleworking through the spring? We do not know the answers to these questions yet, but we know how important they are for many of you. We will be transparent with our communication and continue to share decisions with the Hornet Family as soon as we are able. The COVID-19 pandemic is a dynamic situation that continues to evolve. I appreciate your patience and understanding as we all do our best to provide a high-quality education for our students.
Sacramento State will get through this pandemic, and we will endure as a Hornet Family. I know that many of you are facing significant challenges in your personal and professional lives, and I urge you to take care and to be kind to yourself. This is hard on everyone, and we are truly in this together. Thank you for all that you are doing. I am proud of Sacramento State, and I am proud of you. Stingers Up!
Early Exit Program reminder
Sept. 9, 2020 - On Aug. 19, Human Resources announced Sacramento State’s Early Exit Program. The deadline to apply is Oct. 3. As a reminder, the Early Exit Program provides eligible employees the opportunity to exit the University with a payment approximately equivalent to six (6) months’ salary, with a minimum payment of $25,000 and a maximum of $70,000 (prorated for employees working less than full-time). Employees must separate from the University by the timelines outlined in the program, though there is some flexibility at the discretion of appropriate administrators. Sacramento State cannot provide additional service credit or similar benefits that are the purview of CalPERS.
I know that choosing to exit the University is a major life decision and maybe one you had not considered (or at least thought would come down the road), and it truly saddens me to offer this program. All of you are important parts of our Hornet Family. We are offering this program as a way to support our employees who have other alternatives or who are ready to retire and, to be honest, as a critical way to avoid layoffs and furloughs that may result from the budget crisis caused by COVID-19.
Program information can be found by following this link. Please contact Human Resources with questions. Faculty-specific questions not addressed on the website should be directed to email@example.com. We will endure together. Stingers Up!
Short-term, extended power outages possible
Sept. 8, 2020 - True to form for 2020, our region is facing the possibility of even more disruption in the next 24 to 36 hours. High temperatures, high winds, and the threat of fires in the area have made short-term and extended power outages a distinct possibility. If a power outage prohibits you from going to class, teaching a class, or teleworking, please see the following information for appropriate actions:
- Please contact your instructor as soon as you are able and explain your situation.
- If needed, you may come to campus and use the AIRC to complete your work. You must bring your student ID and verification that you reside in an area that is affected by a power outage.
- Please be patient with your faculty as they may also be impacted by the power outages.
- If you cannot deliver a synchronous class, please contact your department chair.
- If you are unable to contact your students, please work with your chair or associate dean to get a message to them.
- Please be understanding with students who are affected by power outages.
- If needed, once you contact your appropriate administrator, you may work from your Sac State office to complete your work.
- You must complete the COVID-19 safety training before working on campus.
- Please contact your manager as soon as you are able.
- Managers should work with employees to determine options for completing their work or taking time off.
- Managers will seek approval from their appropriate administrator if employees need to come to campus.
- You must complete the COVID-19 safety training before working on campus.
All students, faculty, and staff are strongly encouraged to complete the Daily Health Self-Screening each time they come to campus. Before you come to campus, please use the Sac State Mobile App or click on this Daily Health Self-Screening link; based on your result, you will receive an immediate message stating you are cleared to come to campus or to stay home with further instructions.
I must reiterate that everyone who can study or work remotely should continue to do so. Let’s continue to care for ourselves and one another.
U.S. Census deadline is approaching
Sept. 8, 2020 - As we continue to confront the enormous challenges facing our Hornet community and the world, I understand if you may be feeling tired, fatigued, and overwhelmed. However, now is the time to empower and uplift one another through civic action by making sure you and your family are counted in the 2020 Census. The Census affects the very healthcare, education, and social service systems that we are currently relying on to help move us forward and overcome this pandemic.
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 is allocated in federal funds to communities across the United States. Achieving 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 only be calculated when we have an accurate count of every person in the United States.
Please note that the extended deadline for self-responding to the U.S. Census questionnaire is now Sept. 30.
I hope you will make sure that you are counted by responding through mail, phone, online, or in person at a kiosk or center. 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 https://www.census.gov/.
If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Dr. Viridiana Diaz, Associate Vice President, Strategic Student Support Programs, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (916) 278-7241. Stingers Up!
Fall 2020: We will move forward together
Aug. 31, 2020 - Today marks the start of a new academic year and a new semester, a day that we normally greet with excitement and joy. This year does not have that same feeling. Due to poor air quality, I postponed my Fall Address until Thursday, Sept. 3, at 9 a.m. I will miss the energy and enthusiasm that we feel each fall as we join together for the first time, but I will miss most that I did not have a chance to welcome the Hornet Family before the first day of classes.
I cannot let the semester begin without reaching out to you and explicitly acknowledging the challenges and painful realities facing us as a community and a nation. Seeing another horrific shooting of a Black man and learning that he, Jacob Blake, was handcuffed to his bed afterward, even though he was paralyzed from the waist down, cuts each of us to our core.
Many people are hurting right now and have experienced severe trauma over the past six months, trauma that many of our faculty, staff, and students have experienced throughout their entire lives. The trauma is real. For some of us, it is overwhelming to even think about attending classes, teaching classes, or continuing to work remotely. Sadly, many of us are feeling angry, depleted, and frustrated. Last semester was hard. The trauma and pain that has rippled through the nation over the past few months is significant for everyone, but especially for communities of color, specifically our Black students and colleagues. I ask that we do our best to be kind, understanding, and supportive of one another.
Despite the hardships that we are facing, I am glad that you have chosen Sacramento State. You belong here. You are important, and each of you is part of the Hornet Family. We must take care of one another. You must also take care of yourself and pay careful attention to your own mental well-being. Students have access to healthcare resources, including emotional support, from Student Health and Counseling Services. The LifeMatters Employment 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. You do not have to deal with these emotions alone.
I do not want this message to detract from the promise of a new semester. I simply want to acknowledge where so many of us are. I know you will do, and are doing, amazing work. Our faculty and staff have worked all summer to prepare for this semester – we’ve seen it with our faculty in Summer Camp, and we see it every day with the grounds crew as they prepare for the return of at least a few Hornets to campus.
These are challenging days, but we must join hand in hand in virtual support of one another. We are resilient. We will endure, and we will move forward together. I wish you all a successful fall semester, and I look forward to the day we are on campus together again. Stingers Up!
Approved on-campus activities can resume Thursday, Aug. 27
Aug. 26, 2020 - Perhaps as a sign of better days ahead, the air has cleared enough that Sacramento State can finally resume normal on-campus activities on Thursday, Aug. 27.
Maybe it would be more appropriate to say “abnormal.” The campus should be filled with Hornets right now. Hundreds of students should be moving into the residence halls, rather than just a few dozen each day. Athletes should be practicing in the fields; musicians should be rehearsing inside and outside Capistrano Hall; and I should be delivering my Fall Address tomorrow instead of the postponed date of 9 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 3.
However, while the air is clearing, we still face all the challenges presented by COVID-19, so we cannot really return to normal. Therefore, as much as we wish we could all return to campus, everyone who can telework should continue to do so.
The wildfires in our region are still not completely contained, and faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to work should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
The Hornet Bookstore will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this week so that students can get their books, and the ASI Children’s Center will open as of Thursday, Aug. 27. Student Health and Counseling Services is open but is also available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461.
Whether you are on campus or off campus, stay safe and healthy. Stingers Up!
Virtual Fall Address postponed to Sept. 3
Aug. 26, 2020 - Due to the potential for poor air quality from nearby wildfires, I have decided to reschedule my virtual Fall Address until next week. While the address will be delivered virtually, a team of technical personnel will need to set up the streaming equipment and be present during the livestream, and I do not want to bring folks to campus who do not absolutely need to be here until we are confident that the air has cleared.
Please plan to join me Thursday, Sept. 3, at 9 a.m. for the President’s Fall Address, when we will be discussing where we have been and where we think we are going. You will be able to access the livestream on Sacramento State’s website.
The Fall Address also will be recorded so that it will be available for those who are not able to watch the livestream. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations to view the Fall Address, please contact Gladys Glaude (email@example.com).
As I mentioned last week, I was hoping to welcome you back to campus in person, but true to form, 2020 had other plans. I remain grateful for all the work that you have done to ensure the academic year can begin safely and productively, and I look forward to when we can safely gather in person again. Meanwhile, please take care of yourself and one another. Stingers Up!
Limited operations will resume on Wednesday
Aug. 25, 2020 - Sacramento is currently experiencing somewhat improved air quality. On Wednesday, Aug. 26, we will resume limited on-campus operations. We will continue to monitor the situation and will announce any further changes to operations via campus message and the Emergency Notification System.
Essential employees should contact their managers about reporting to campus on Wednesday. Anyone who can telework should continue to do so. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to work should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
The Hornet Bookstore will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this week. The ASI Children’s Center will remain closed until further notice. Student Health and Counseling Services is open and is also available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461. For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Campus will remain closed Tuesday, Aug. 25, due to poor air quality
Aug. 24, 2020 - Sacramento continues to experience poor air quality due to wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will suspend on-campus operations tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 25. All non-essential employees should remain off campus. Essential employees with questions should contact their managers for guidance. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. We are not canceling classes at this time. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
Unfortunately, the poor air quality has forced us to reschedule move-in days for the few students who were scheduled to move in to the residence halls. If you are affected, please look for communications from University Housing Services with information about how and when to proceed. We are aware that it can be frustrating not knowing when you can move in, but safety must continue to be our priority. We continue to monitor the situation and will announce plans for Wednesday as soon as possible.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates. Student Health and Counseling Services will remain available for in-person and telehealth appointments; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461. The ASI Children’s Center will be closed until further notice.
Any changes to operations will be communicated via campus message and the Emergency Notification System. For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Suspending on-campus operations Monday due to smoke
Aug. 24, 2020 - Sacramento is currently experiencing increasingly poor air quality due to the wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will suspend on-campus operations today, Monday, Aug. 24. All non-essential employees should remain off campus. We will continue monitoring the situation and will announce plans for Tuesday’s campus operations by 5 p.m. today.
Essential employees with questions should contact their managers for guidance. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. We are not canceling classes at this time. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates. Student Health and Counseling Services will remain available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461. The ASI Children’s Center will be closed until further notice.
Any changes to operations will be communicated via campus message and the Emergency Notification System. For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
On-campus operations will resume Monday
Aug. 23, 2020 - Due to a shift in wind patterns, Sacramento is currently experiencing somewhat improved air quality despite the smoke caused by wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will resume on-campus operations on Monday, Aug. 24. We will continue to monitor the situation and will announce any changes to operations via campus message and the Emergency Notification System.
Only essential employees should report to work on campus. Employees should contact their managers about reporting to campus. Anyone who can telework should continue to do so. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to work should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
The ASI Children’s Center will remain closed until further notice. Student Health and Counseling Services will reopen and remains available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461.
For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Campus remains closed through the weekend
Aug. 21, 2020 - Sacramento continues to experience poor air quality due to the wildfires in our region. Therefore, we will suspend on-campus operations through Sunday, Aug. 23. All non-essential employees should remain off campus from now through the weekend. We will continue monitoring the situation and will announce plans for Monday’s campus operations by 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23.
Essential employees with questions should contact their managers for guidance. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. We are not canceling classes at this time. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates. Student Health and Counseling Services will remain available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461. The ASI Children’s Center will be closed until further notice.
For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Operations on campus suspended due to air quality
Aug. 20, 2020 - Sacramento continues to experience poor air quality due to the increasing number of fires in our region. The Air Quality Index (AQI) level on campus has exceeded 150, according to AirNow (listed by Cal/OSHA as the authoritative AQI). Readings of 151-200 are categorized as “unhealthy.” Our Purple Air Sensors on campus have even higher readings, over 300. We are, therefore, ceasing operations on campus and asking that all non-essential employees go home through the end of the day on Friday, Aug. 21.
Essential employees with questions should contact their managers for guidance. Faculty and students also should leave campus, except for students living in the residence halls. Students living in one of the residence halls or the Upper Eastside Lofts should remain in their rooms unless instructed otherwise. Everyone else who is teleworking should continue to do so, including those who are teaching remotely. We are not canceling classes at this time. Faculty and staff who have been directly impacted by the wildfires and are unable to telework should contact their department chair or manager immediately about taking leave.
All members of the Hornet Family should protect themselves as much as possible for the remainder of the week. When outdoors, sensitive individuals should consider using an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A face mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke. In particular, cloth face masks and surgical masks will not protect you from the smoke and particulates. Student Health and Counseling Services will remain available through telehealth; these services can be reached at (916) 278-6461. The ASI Children’s Center will be closed until further notice.
We will continue monitoring the situation and will announce plans for campus operations over the weekend on Friday, Aug. 21. This is a dynamic and evolving situation similar to what we experienced during the Camp Fire in 2018. We cannot yet predict what next week will look like. By 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, we will decide if individuals can return to campus Monday, Aug. 24. For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Poor air quality due to wildfires
Aug. 19, 2020 - As wildfires burn across California, Sacramento is again experiencing poor air quality due to numerous fires in our region. Currently, our air contains higher-than-average levels of wildfire particulate. The Air Quality Index (AQI) level on campus is from 150-200, which is categorized as, “Everyone may begin to experience health effects if they are exposed for 24 hours; members of sensitive groups may experience more serious health effects.” The “good” air quality is quantified by the AQI from 0-50, “moderate” from 51-100, and “unhealthy” from 151-200. The highest level on the scale is 500. The extended AQI outlook for this week is projected to be “unhealthy for sensitive groups.” The University monitors air quality through Purple Air sensors on campus and http://www.sparetheair.com/.
The Sacramento Region Spare the Air forecast indicates that the unhealthy air quality will last through the weekend. All members of the Hornet Family should stay indoors as much as possible for the remainder of the week. Anyone who can work remotely in an indoor space should do so. Employees and students should not be working, practicing, recreating, or exercising outside. Sensitive individuals may also choose to use an N-95 dust mask that covers their nose and mouth. A dust mask that is not marked “N-95” will not be effective against wildfire smoke.
This is not the message I had hoped to send before the start of the semester, but 2020 continues to challenge us. I hope that you will continue to work remotely, stay inside, and protect yourself from the wildfire smoke and the ongoing pandemic. For questions or concerns, please call Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020.
Join us virtually for the 2020 Fall Address
Aug. 19, 2020 - As we prepare for the most unusual fall semester of any of our careers, I invite you to join me (virtually) Thursday, Aug. 27, for the President’s Fall Address, where we will be discussing where we have been and where we think we are going.
The address will begin at 9 a.m. and can be viewed live on Sacramento State’s website. The Fall Address also will be recorded so that it will be available for those who are not able to watch the livestream. ASL interpretation and real-time captioning will be provided. If you require additional accommodations to view the Fall Address, please contact Gladys Glaude (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I was hoping to welcome you back to campus in person. You have been missed. I am grateful for all the work that you have done to ensure the academic year can begin safely and productively. Let’s make this fall a semester that we will never forget. I wish you the very best. Please take care of yourself and one another. Stingers Up!
COVID-19 positive tests at Sacramento State
Aug. 13, 2020 - Yesterday, I sent a message reiterating our commitment to teleworking through the end of Fall 2020. The vast majority of our classes and operations will be delivered virtually through the end of the year, with very few exceptions. Today, I want to reiterate why it is critical that we continue to limit the number of people on campus.
Sacramento State is not and has not been immune to COVID-19. Though we have been vigilant in our safety protocols, physical distancing, and virtual teaching and operations, members of the Hornet Family have tested positive for COVID-19. It is no surprise that our campus is as susceptible as any other public space, but I learned this week that 21 students, faculty, and staff who have been on campus in the last three weeks have tested positive for the virus. I share this information with you not to raise alarm, but to ensure that everyone understands the seriousness of this virus. It is critical that all members of the Hornet Family follow safety precautions and only come to campus when absolutely necessary.
Additionally, Gov. Gavin Newsom has issued COVID-19 Higher Education Guidance to “limit, to the greatest extent permitted by law, external community members from entering the site and using campus resources, as the number of additional people onsite and/or intermixing with students, faculty, and staff increases the risk of virus transmission.” Therefore, we are identifying options to limit public access to campus during this crisis and ask that you stay away from campus unless on official University business.
Health and safety must remain a top priority, not only for our students, faculty, and staff, but for our extended Hornet Families: our parents, children, spouses, partners, and other loved ones with whom we share our living spaces and our lives. We must take care of ourselves, and we must do all that we can to protect one another.
It is absolutely critical that employees report any COVID-19 symptoms, exposures, or positive test results via the reporting directives (en español). Students with such symptoms, exposures, or test results must contact Student Health and Counseling Services. It is impossible for us to mitigate spread, conduct contact tracing, and protect the Hornet Family without this information.
If you have questions regarding Sacramento State’s safety protocols, please contact Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020 and/or visit their website. A dedicated group of campus leaders, including the President’s Cabinet, the Faculty Senate, Risk Management, Student Health and Counseling Services, and others, is laser-focused on keeping our community safe. I thank them, and all of you, for all that you are doing to protect the Hornet Family. We will endure, and we will do it together.
Reaffirming our commitment to remote work through the fall
Aug. 12, 2020 - As we prepare for Fall 2020, I want to reiterate our commitment to teleworking through the end of the semester. I understand that a lot of information has been shared in the past few months, and it can be difficult to keep everything straight. As noted in our Campus Plan for Fall 2020, health and safety are our top priorities, and only a very limited number of faculty, staff, and students will be back on campus in the fall. The vast majority of the Hornet Family will continue to telework or learn remotely. Everyone who can telework should continue to do so through the end of 2020.
Faculty, staff, and student employees requesting to physically return to work must complete the Campus Entry Safety Protocol form and receive approval before traveling to campus. For more information, please refer to the campus entry guide.
- This form merely initiates a safety protocol process. Your proposed activity must be approved by your department and campus administration before you return to campus. Final approval is by the President.
- The completion of this form does not automatically result in an approved safety protocol.
If you need to visit campus for a brief time to pick up equipment or supplies, you DO NOT need to submit this form.
- Approval of safety protocols is required for all courses that were approved for face-to-face classroom instruction. As such, faculty, staff, and departments are encouraged to begin the process as early as possible.
- Faculty who are seeking to restart research on campus should follow the guidelines outlined by the Office of Research, Innovation & Economic Development(ORIED). The completion of the OnBase form is required, but submission does not automatically result in an approved safety protocol. Final approval is by the President.
If you have questions regarding safety protocols, please contact Risk Management Services at (916) 278-2020. Thank you for all that you are doing to deliver remotely a quality education to our students and much-needed services to our employees and students.
Stay safe, Hornets. Stingers Up!
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.
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 (email@example.com) 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. A one-page description of the policy can be found online.
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 email@example.com 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 online.
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 online. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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
April 14, 2020 - 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 online. 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 email@example.com.
- Instagram: Outofthedarknesscsus
- Facebook: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention - Greater Sacramento Chapter.
- Facebook Event Page: Sacramento State Virtual Out of the Darkness Campus Walk.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
- Is this a new or existing position?
- Why is the position essential?
- Whom does this position serve (students, staff, public) and in what capacity?
- Is the work able to be suspended or reduced for the next six months to a year?
- If the work is suspended, what will the impact be on those that the position serves?
- 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?
- 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)?
- What kind of specific training or skills would be required of others to perform this work?
- 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?
- 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 email@example.com 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 online.
These websites offer the latest information:
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:
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.
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!