Update from the President Oct. 7, 2020

October 7, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

These last few weeks have felt especially turbulent – both locally within our beautiful North Bay, and more broadly across the country – and I realize that this turbulence comes in the wake of several months of relative instability. 2020 is certainly a year that will stand out in our collective memory at Sonoma State.

Locally, the ongoing Glass Fire in Sonoma and Napa Counties continue to impact our broader Seawolf community members in the form of evacuation orders and warnings not yet lifted, as well as several days of exceptionally poor air quality that curtailed campus activities. For many of us who are now living through our fourth fall of wildfire devastation, the experience of the Glass Fire has been profoundly triggering. I share those same triggered feelings, and I know how uncomfortable they may feel. I urge you to please use the mental health resources available if you are in need of extra support. There is nothing wrong with feeling scared and overwhelmed – and there is nothing wrong with asking for help. Our Employee Assistance Program, LifeMatters by Empathia is available to support our employees and their immediate family in many different ways. Students directly impacted or who may be in need of additional assistance or support, please consider reaching out to the Care Team and submitting a Care Report

Our physical campus remains safe from the Glass Fire, and we continue to monitor the air quality and adjust campus activities accordingly. We also continue to serve as a community partner with Sonoma County by providing the Residential Community of Cabernet Village for a wildfire shelter for up to 250 individuals evacuated from the fires. 

An Update on COVID-19 and Sonoma State

As shared on Monday by our Director for Emergency Services and Associate Risk Manager Missy Brunetta, Sonoma State is currently acting on a suspected case of COVID-19 on campus. Your health and safety remain our top priority, and our COVID Monitoring Team has been in contact with anyone who may have had direct contact with the possible COVID infected individual. Please see the campus announcement for additional information about specific campus operations with regard to this suspected case.

 I also hope this communication will serve as a good reminder for all of us to continue the following best practices:

  • Wear a facial covering
  • Practice physical distancing at all times
  • Wash hands with soap and water
  • Use hand sanitizers when you cannot wash your hands
  • Stay home if sick, if anyone in your household is suspected of being COVID-19 positive, or if you have been directly exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive
  • Complete the daily wellness screening online
  • Report concerns about COVID-19 safety protocols or get compliance information at covid.monitoring@sonoma.edu
  • Find up to date information on Sonoma State’s response on the SSU COVID-19 webpage

Graduation Initiative 2025

I’m delighted to announce that on October 23, from 10 – 11:15 a.m., CSU will host the biggest, most inspirational virtual gathering in its history: The Graduation Initiative 2025 Convening! 

This celebration of our system-wide effort to help CSU students achieve their dream of a college degree will feature new data, initiative progress measurements, and powerful stories.

All Sonoma State faculty and staff are invited to attend. Don’t forget to register online!

Voter Registration for Seawolves

With Election Day less than a month away, this is the time for Seawolves to make a plan to vote.

If you’re a first-time voter, I encourage you to register online by October 19, or by mail (postmarked) by that same date. In person voter registration may take place up through November 3 – Election Day itself. More information about voter registration may be found at our Department of Political Science’s Election Resource Center.

I want to remind you that you may drop off any California ballot at our new campus Ballot Dropbox from now through Election Day. Your ballot does not have to be a Sonoma County ballot, and you do not need a parking pass to access the Ballot Box.

This year marks the centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women in the United States the right to vote. While it took many more decades to secure voting rights for many more members of the American public – an effort that is still ongoing – I hope all Seawolves who are eligible to vote will join me in exercising this hard-won right on November 3!

Looking Ahead

Even though we are only a month and a half into the 2020 – 2021 academic year, I know we still face many challenges in the months ahead. I also know that we will get through these challenges together.

Our community at Sonoma State is truly unlike any other. When times are tough – as they are now – we reach out, we lend an empathetic ear, and we let our friends and colleagues know that we’re thinking of them. Our challenges are real, but we still build on the strength of our community with each kind, compassionate act.

As we near the end of National Hispanic Heritage Month, I find myself reflecting on the words of Chicana poet Gina Valdés. There’s so much division and conflict and fear all around us right now – but there is also, always, the choice to reach out, to hope, to take action, and to be brave, no matter the fear we face.

As Ms. Valdés wrote in her work Puentes y Fronteras:

“Hay tantísimas fronteras

que dividen a la gente,

pero por cada frontera

existe también un puente. 

There are so many borders

that divide people,

but for every border

there is also a bridge.”

Thank you for all that you do to build bridges at Sonoma State.

With gratitude,

Judy K. Sakaki signature

Judy K. Sakaki