May 8, 2020
To the Campus Community,
Tomorrow marks the start of final examinations. Were 2020 a typical year, next Friday would be the start of our commencement ceremonies. Of course, 2020 is not a typical year. It is a historic year. Through the challenges of this spring, our graduates have excelled and deserve to be celebrated.
We remain committed to coming together for an in-person commencement when it is safe for us to do so sometime in the future. However, we also want to virtually gather to celebrate the culmination of so many outstanding academic journeys now. We will host a virtual “Cheers to the Class of 2019-2020” at 4 p.m. on Saturday, May 16th. Next week, we will share more information on how to enjoy this first-ever distanced celebration of a truly extraordinary group of graduates. Colleges, departments, clubs and organizations are similarly planning innovative ways to honor the accomplishments of this academic year’s graduates.
These virtual gatherings and our first online yearbook will all be featured on a Celebration 2020 website that launches next week. In addition, this site will include information on the faculty and staff who reached milestones in their careers in service of our students. Watch your email for more information coming soon.
CARES Act Student Funding Update
Last week, I emailed the students who are eligible for CSUN Cares for Students Grants with instructions on how to apply for and access this funding to help alleviate the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, more than 15,000 students have completed applications, and about half of the allotted funding has been disbursed or is pending disbursement to student recipients. May 15 is the priority deadline for eligible students to apply for these emergency grants, and I urge these students to complete the simple application.
To help our students who were not eligible for the CSUN Cares for Students Grants, we have extended the deadline to apply for MataCare Emergency Grants to May 22. Our alumni and friends have elevated their support for the MataCare Emergency Grants. We continue to seek additional funding sources for students with unmet need.
Title IX Revised Guidance
This week, the Department of Education released new guidance on Title IX regulations relating to sexual harassment and assault. Thankfully, California is ahead of many other states in supporting the rights of all parties in cases of sexual harassment in any form. There is more work to fully align to this new guidance, but I can assure you that CSUN remains committed to a comprehensive and holistic approach to address sexual misconduct that is responsive to the needs of our campus and a process that is fair and equitable to complainants and respondents.
Laptops and Other Loaner Devices Available for Summer Session
For students who checked out laptops, webcams and internet hotspots, the loaned out devices need to be returned to the CSUN Campus Store (Bookstore) by 2 p.m., May 22. The Campus Store is open Monday – Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I am pleased to share that the loaner program has been renewed for the summer session. More information on the device loaner program for summer can be found at https://www.csun.edu/it/device-loaner-program.
Continuing Virtual Learning, Operations for Most Services
With certain aspects of state, regional and local “safer at home” orders beginning to expire, I want to clarify that CSUN is continuing our virtual learning and remote operations wherever possible through the end of the summer session, ending August 18. Our campus departments and services remain available to assist students virtually, and in some cases, continue to offer limited on-campus hours. With planning occurring across the university, we expect to communicate plans for the fall semester later this month. We are guided by scientific data on COVID-19 and counsel from elected and public health officials with the city and county of Los Angeles, as well as the State of California and the CSU. Our goal remains that we will return to normal campus operations as soon as it is safe to do so.
Friday Moment of Sunshine
I was thrilled to hear the news recently that Shawntel Barreiro ’18 (Linguistics and Chicana/o Studies), CSUN’s 2018 Wolfson Scholar and HSI Pathways to the Professoriate participant, was invited to join the new cohort of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program. Studying for her Ph.D. at The Ohio State University, Shawntel’s future is bright, and she remains a proud Matador.
Mirroring the innovation and tenacity we have witnessed this year, the student participants in the Nazarian College Bull Ring New Venture Competition showed that you cannot deter a good idea and a determined Matador.
Introduced by CSUN alumna and opera diva Shigemi Matsumoto, CSUN Opera students returned for a virtual encore with the distanced but together performance of Suor Angelica by Giacomo Puccini, which originally premiered during the 1918 flu pandemic. These achievements show us all the power of persistence.
I wish you well with finals and concluding our academic year. Please continue to find the latest campus updates at the CSUN COVID-19 website. Stay healthy and safe.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.