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May Day President’s Update to Faculty

 

Dear Colleagues,

 

As always, I hope this message finds you well and safe. I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge that today is May 1st  – International Workers Day – more now than ever, its significance is felt and known.

 

Last Friday CFA representatives met with President Nelsen and Provost Perez to address working conditions in the Fall as well as plans regarding the $35 million Sacramento State will receive from the CARES act, with approximately 17 million designated for institutional costs and approximately 17 million designated for student financial aide grants.

 

Similar to what President Nelsen and Provost Perez shared on Monday’s webinar there is no final plan yet for the Fall but whatever that plan may be, it has to meet and satisfy health and safety guidelines. What we do know, as shared on Monday, is that in Provost Perez’s discussion with Deans and Chairs they are contemplating four categories of courses: Group 1 –  large lectures, may stay virtual; Group 2 – small lecture classes, might be able to be face to face, high flex class is a possibility where students spread out with social distancing in the classroom and other students are remote, or in a hybrid model where some students could come on Tuesday, some could come on Thursday, the rest are on online; Group 3 – labs, theatre and dance classes, might be face to face but will have to balance safety and health concerns; and Group 4 – classes that don’t happen on campus like clinical placements, internships etc…, University Administration will have to confer with the Chancellors Office and agreements made with accreditation serving agencies. As stated, no final decisions have been made but we are making sure that we are at the table and part of these conversations.

 

We were pleased to learn on the Webinar that our campus Health Counselors will be consulted about summer workload structure. In our weekly meetings with Office of Faculty Advancement – the safety and working conditions of our counselors is on the agenda. Moreover, that hazard pay for our counselors is still in discussion. For our Librarians, there is no plan to open the library during the summer. A plan to re-open will be made in consultation with the county public health department.

 

With respect to the CARES allocation, President Nelsen stressed to us on Friday and reiterated on Monday, funds for institutional costs may go to pay for refunds requested by students, technology purchases, some PPE purchases, and professional development money for faculty training over the summer. We have shared with administration the concern some of you reached out to me about regarding professional development money – that often those are not honored. Thus, we recommended guidelines to be developed or an automatic compensation given if faculty attend training over the summer. Though our DACA/undocumented students cannot receive any of the approximate 17 million designated for student financial aid grants, we believe the appropriate steps are being taken by backfilling and offering them the same as students who will benefit from the allocation.

 

Lastly, several of you reached out to me about an article in the State Hornet with respect to “Respondus Monitor” and its use for final exams. Valid concerns exist around privacy issues for students. In our conversation with Office of Faculty Affairs they shared similar concerns but stated that they were responding to faculty that wanted a tool available to them. The tool is optional and does not have to be utilized by faculty and students have the right to an alternative exam. Thus, our recommendation is to please do your research and be cautious in the use of “Respondus Monitor.” We highly recommend to not violate the privacy of students and make sure they know their options.

In Union,

Margarita

Margarita Berta-Ávila, CFA Capitol Chapter President

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