Dear Campus Community,
UC Merced has completed its first week of fully remote instruction. While faculty and students are navigating this new world together, we remain committed to delivering a world-class University of California education effectively and safely.
We know that online classes across the country have been invaded by outside individuals and groups pressing their agendas of hatred and bigotry. UC Merced stands strongly for inclusion and equity, and our Office of Information Technology is taking concrete steps to block this sort of hatred from interfering with our education by providing instruction and resources on security measures.
You should also be aware that UC President Janet Napolitano, my fellow campus chancellors and I have unanimously agreed not to lay off any career employees for at least the next three months, so staff can continue to focus on their work and their health and not their economic security.
Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to meet with some of our colleagues who are still on campus, providing direct services to students and maintaining critical campus operations. I am amazed at the passion and dedication of all who work at UC Merced, and particularly of these folks who ensure students are fed, systems are operational and campus is safe during this challenging period.
Fresno’s ABC30 joined us for part of that walk around campus.
Our faculty have continued to share their insights with the world. Just a few examples:
- Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center researchers talk about the heightened risk smokers and vapers face during the pandemic.
- Professor LeRoy Westerling examines the phenomenon of California city-dwellers fleeing to more remote areas to ride out the crisis.
- Professor Ajay Gopinathan discusses the challenges and joys of establishing a new university.
And in a moment guaranteed to lift your spirits, ESPN recognizes senior volleyball player Joey Medina.
Finally, I want to call your attention to a critical national need: blood donations. On April 15 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Italo American Lodge in Merced, the American Red Cross will host a blood drive. I intend to donate blood, and I’d love to see the UC Merced community turn out to help our community.
I look forward to seeing you again face to face on our beautiful campus. In the meantime, please put your health and that of your loved ones first, and remember that even when apart, we are always a strong community.