May 22, 2020
To the Campus Community,
Monday marks Memorial Day — a time when we honor the members of our military who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. Nationally recognized as a Military Friendly Campus, CSUN is proud of our veteran students’ service to our country and recently celebrated the graduation of 170 student veterans.
Memorial Day is the informal start of summer, which is appropriate since our summer term starts on Tuesday. Especially because nearly everyone’s plans for the summer have been put on hold, this is the perfect time for students to accelerate progress toward degrees and certificates. With three sessions offered, financial aid available, and a host of courses all offered virtually, it is not too late to register. Laptops, internet hotspots, webcams and headsets remain available for currently enrolled students through the Summer Device Loaner Program.
No matter how you spend your summer, I encourage you to continue to physically distance, wash your hands, wear a facial covering when you leave your home, and practice the many measures that promote wellness and safety. Most of all, I hope every member of our campus community can find peace and remain healthy over the coming months, returning to the fall semester reinvigorated.
Planning for Fall
University leadership, emergency operations staff, the Academic Affairs Task Force and other campus partners continue to develop plans for fall following the framework outlined by CSU Chancellor Timothy White last week. The areas of planning are multifaceted and include instruction, student housing, dining, information technology needs, faculty development, safety protocols for people on campus, extracurricular activities and much more. As part of this planning, CSUN is working through numerous requests for on-campus exceptions to virtual learning, extracurricular activities and student support services in the fall. Once these plans are finalized in the next few weeks, we expect to share any exceptions for review with our local health partners at the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and the CSU Office of the Chancellor. We are working quickly to define these proposed exceptions that will most enrich the student experience while continuing to promote the health and safety of our campus community. We will communicate more details as they are available.
Help 4 Faculty
Academic Affairs, in partnership with Information Technology, is launching a variety of high-impact professional development opportunities for faculty this summer that we are calling “Help 4 Faculty.” The offerings include both technical help and vibrant approaches to online and virtual pedagogy grounded in an inclusive perspective. To date more than 500 faculty have completed training to support distance learning, and we expect an additional 500-700 faculty to engage in workshops and training around remote instruction over the summer. I hope you will visit the Help 4 Faculty webpage and see the many offerings available.
Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Fund
I am pleased to share with you that undocumented students and employees can now apply for COVID-19 relief in California as part of the Governor’s Disaster Relief Assistance for Immigrants (DRAI) Fund. The State of California is financially assisting students and workers without legal status, who are excluded from receiving federal unemployment benefits and stimulus relief. Time is of the essence, and applicants will be considered on a first come, first served basis. The California Department of Social Services has selected 12 immigrant-serving nonprofit organizations to help individuals apply for and receive this disaster relief assistance in their region. Applicants must contact the organizations in their county directly to inquire about assistance availability.
CSUN Cares for Students Grant Update
Last Friday was the priority deadline for CSUN students to complete the application for the CSUN Cares for Students Grant opportunity made possible through the CARES Act Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund. Close to 20,000 students have already taken advantage of the opportunity so far. Despite the priority deadline passing, funding remains, and guidance on how students may still be considered for a grant is currently being developed and will be announced by June 5.
We previously communicated that CSUN was suspending parking fees for employees for April and May. With most faculty and staff working remotely, Parking Services is extending the suspension of parking fees for employees through the August pay period. Additional guidance regarding employee parking will be forthcoming.
Friday Moment of Sunshine
Throughout the spring semester, I was inspired by the stories of perseverance and tenacity among CSUN students, faculty and staff. The same is certainly true of our graduates. We have seen example after example of our graduates celebrating their significant accomplishment from home. While it is no substitute for a face-to-face commencement, I was glad that we were still able to offer a virtual “Cheers to the Class of 2019-2020.” You can find this video and many more examples of recognition for our newest Matador alumni at the Celebration 2020 website. A final heartwarming moment comes from the family of recent graduate Mary Roxana Catalan. Trust me, this is one video you will want to watch.
As we head into summer and focus on communicating out more detailed plans to specific campus groups, the frequency of my more general communication will slow. However, we will provide updates as appropriate to the evolving circumstances around COVID-19. Please find the latest campus updates at the CSUN COVID-19 website. Stay healthy, stay safe, and enjoy your summer.
Dianne F. Harrison, Ph.D.