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CFA Update to Faculty on COVID-19 Outbreak: “Thank You”

Dear Colleagues,

I hope that you and your families are safe and secure, and you are doing as best as can be expected during these trying times.

Our lives continue to rapidly change as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout our communities. Last night, Governor Gavin Newsom gave a “stay at home/shelter-in-place” directive for the entire state.

First and foremost, on behalf of all CFA Officers, I want to thank all of our members for your continued hard work, especially as we move into temporary teaching modalities new to us. Thank you to our faculty for the caring you give to your colleagues and your students. Your work is not going unnoticed.

As mentioned earlier this week, CFA is committed to applying and promoting best practices that are driven by concern for the welfare of our faculty, students, staff, and our communities’ most vulnerable members. 

  • CFA has developed a Q&A page on our website to address concerns our members have raised. This document will be updated as conditions change and new questions arise. Faculty can also reach out to CFA chapter presidents, faculty rights chairs, and CFA field representatives with any question or concern about safety, working conditions, and any contract-related issues. You will find the best contacts for our Northern California campuses and Southern California campuses posted on our webpage.
  • CFA officers and staff continue to meet daily to assess the evolving situation and coordinate our responses accordingly. Last night, a joint meeting of Chapter Presidents and CFA officers and staff reviewed best practices of how to keep the members of our unit safe, informed, and to protect their rights.
  • Our Government Relations team has been in contact with the Newsom Administration and is being briefed about what the new mandates mean for labor unions and all of us.
  • As a reminder, CFA has a website with our COVID-19 resources. I urge you to check the page regularly for updates on the latest information concerning higher education, CSU faculty, and issues relating to our union’s activities around the pandemic.
  • The Governor mandated the entire state to “shelter-in-place” until further notice. What does this mean for you? Essential services (gas stations, pharmacies, food, banks, essential state and local government services and laundry services) will continue to remain open. Gov. Newsom said in his speech that you can go outside, but to practice social distancing as the state tries to flatten the curve.
  • State and federal tax filings have been postponed three months until July 15, a much needed relief for many of us.

Finally, I am alarmed about the continued racism and xenophobia targeting the Asian American, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities. I would like to reiterate an excerpt from our statement of support for API communities:

“The California Faculty Association (CFA) Asian & Pacific Islander (API) Caucus and statewide officers call on our academic institutions to support safety, health, and wellness for all members of our communities by dispelling anti-Asian stereotypes and rejecting ‘yellow peril’ rhetoric that associates Asians with illness–especially amid growing concerns about the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

Our California State University (CSU) API students, staff, and faculty deserve a safe and healthy learning and teaching environment, one without fear of harassment. We urge our academic leaders to not only learn the long histories of orientalist anti-Asian violence that have been justified by ‘medicalized’ imperatives in the western world, or as Nayan Shah has coined ‘contagious divides,’ but also communicate with campus communities to address how Asian immigrants and refugees and Asian Americans are often seen and treated as perpetual foreigners.”

CFA will continue communicating regularly over the next few weeks.

Again, we appreciate your patience, your solidarity, and your work as we come together as a Union to protect the rights and safety of all our faculty, students, and our CSU community. Please be safe, remember to take time for yourselves and your loved ones. We’re in this battle together.  If you haven’t yet become a member of CFA, you can sign up here.

 

Charles Toombs, Ph.D.
President, California Faculty Association
Professor
Department of Africana Studies
San Diego State University

 

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