President's Office

Finishing Strong

May 1, 2020

To the Campus Community,

While this semester has been remarkably challenging, our students, faculty and staff have shown extraordinary tenacity and ability to adapt to these challenges. COVID-19 is a vicious foe that can strike even when you are doing everything you can to slow its spread. What we can control is our own effort and our own actions to not let current circumstances derail us. I want to again strongly encourage students, especially those who are frustrated, to hang in there, finish your requirements for this semester and keep going. As I have shared, a degree puts you in a far better position for the post-COVID-19 economy. And to our faculty and staff, your perseverance has been incredible in inspiring our students to achieve excellence.

We can see the finish line on another academic year. It is so close, and I hope you all will find the inner strength and support to finish strong. Speaking of finishing strong, while we continue our planning to celebrate our December 2019 and spring 2020 graduates with an in-person commencement, we are simultaneously working on how we can proudly commemorate the accomplishments of the class of 2020 virtually. Student input and collaboration will be vital for planning both the in-person ceremony and virtual acknowledgement.

Like my message to you last week, I am saddened to share with you that I learned today that another CSUN employee has tested positive for COVID-19. Our thoughts are with this member of our campus community, who has not been on campus in more than a week. Consistent with the protocols for infectious disease response, anyone identified as having had close contact with this individual has been or will be notified immediately if they need to be isolated, self-monitor or self-quarantine.

CARES Act Student Funding Update

Earlier today, I emailed students who are eligible to receive Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding with instructions on how to apply online for the CSUN Cares for Students Grant, which provides financial support to eligible students who have expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. We want every eligible student to access these emergency funds and apply before the May 15 priority application deadline.

The online application process is housed in myNorthridge portal under Financial Matters in the CSUN Cares Grant Application pagelet. Eligible students can accept the approved grant amount or provide justification to request a higher amount. To be eligible, a student must: be currently enrolled at CSUN in an undergraduate, graduate or professional program; be eligible to receive federal financial aid; and not be enrolled in a completely online degree program. Typical expenses include food, housing, course materials, technology, health care and childcare costs. Disbursements will be deposited in student e-Refund (direct deposit) accounts or mailed to student home addresses. We are working to efficiently and quickly distribute the grants. Our goal is to disburse funds to students within seven working days after an application is properly submitted.

I appreciate the around-the-clock effort of staff in Financial Aid, Information Technology, Financial Services and many other areas who have developed the plan, process and application to meet the guidelines from the Department of Education and the needs of our students. Because of these efforts, we estimate that more than 33,000 students will be eligible for funding.

I am both heartened by the number of students that we expect this funding will help and disheartened by those who are left out — our DACA and undocumented students, international students, and those students who were already in fully online programs. These students can apply for emergency financial assistance through the MataCare Grant Program. I am grateful for our alumni and employee donors who have generously stepped up their support during these trying times.

Summer Activities Virtual

We have previously communicated that our summer instruction will continue to be offered in a virtual format. We will not be offering face-to-face activities this summer — either on campus or off-site — based on current guidance from elected and public health officials with the city and county of Los Angeles, as well as the State of California and the CSU. I know this is a tremendous disappointment to many who enjoy the summer camps, enrichment programs and other services that make up a CSUN summer. However, look for updates from each program on whether services will continue virtually.

Friday Moment of Sunshine

Earlier this week, I hope you saw news of a survey of currently enrolled students that found more than 90% plan to continue their path to earning degrees and return in the fall. This is much higher than other national surveys of student fall enrollment intentions. I was pleased to see these results illuminate the persistence of our students and also the strong encouragement from faculty and staff. 

I have been lifted this week by stories of exceptional positivity across the university. These include our nursing students contributing to the regional healthcare response to COVID-19innovation continuing with our recent “Cloud-Jam,” and a virtual film festival offered by CSUN in partnership with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). Finally, I want to leave you with some helpful tips on staying healthy while we work and learn remotely from CSUN’s 3 Wins Fitness.

Please continue to find the latest campus updates at the CSUN COVID-19 website. Stay healthy and safe.


Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.