Update from the President March 30, 2021

March 30, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

This month marked one year since I sent out a message to our campus community stating that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Sonoma State University would conduct almost all campus operations remotely for the Spring 2020 semester. It’s difficult to put into words how the virus has impacted all of our lives since. Yet, I am inspired by how well our Seawolf family has responded, keeping our core values at the heart of everything we do.

I acknowledge the difficulties we have endured over this past year. Some of our students and employees have also had to juggle their children’s remote learning. We have students dealing with food insecurity or loss of employment. There are also some within our community who have had to grieve someone they’ve lost due to COVID-19. Not to mention how people of color have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic, including appalling violence against members of our Asian community in the Bay Area and disparities in infection rates and health outcomes of our most vulnerable community members. This is a lot to bear.

Even then, Sonoma State has stayed confident. We have continued to strive for student success, continued to serve our community, and continued to aid in response efforts. Looking back to last year, here are a few examples of how we pivoted and adapted to meet the challenges.

I want to take a moment to recognize our new Academic Senate and Associated Students officers. Congratulations to professors Lauren Morimoto and Bryan Burton, the new Chair and Vice-Chair of the Faculty, and new Secretary to the Senate, Emily Clark. On the Associated Students side, President-Elect Noelia Brambila, Executive VP Elect Christina Gomez, and VP of Finance Elect Justin Arenson will hold their positions for the 2021-22 academic year. I know each one of these individuals will add tremendous value to their positions, and we are fortunate to have them in their new roles.

I am pleased to announce that the Provost selection process is up and running. I am confident that with our selection committee’s help, Sonoma State will find a proven academic leader who aligns with our core values for student success. As we anticipate and prepare for a more in-person semester, I look forward to working with our new Provost to strengthen our already rich and rewarding academic culture.

As we celebrate Cesar Chavez Day this week, I am reminded of his powerful words:

Once social change begins, it cannot be reversed. You cannot un-educate the person who has learned to read. You cannot humiliate the person who feels pride.

Chavez was one of America's greatest champions for social justice, and as we recognize his fight against inequality, I fully acknowledge there is still more work to do. However, I want to take this moment to say thank you to our campus community for continuing to speak out when circumstances are unjust. We, like Cesar Chavez, will continue to fight to show that every student, every employee, every person, has value, especially now as we prepare to come together again communally on our beloved campus.

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki