(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
6/1/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Grad Students and Post-Docs,
First of all I want to apologize again to those of you who received Friday’s message three times--once Friday, once Sunday, and once again this morning--and to those of you who only received it once, this morning. We can find no pattern to who got it and who didn’t, but we have trouble tickets in at all the necessary places and are trying to figure it out. If there is a worse time for the university to lose our ability to communicate with the students and researchers who we care so much about, I honestly don’t know when that might be. Thank you again to the students who helped us figure out that this happened, and especially to the handful who endured us sending test messages over and over at 11PM last night. I have no doubt that you all have things you would rather be doing than figuring out our email system.
Although it is a new day, a new week, and a new month today, we are unfortunately still left with much that is unknown. Whether you are Black, undocumented, Chinese, or any other minoritized and burdened group, each of your struggles are unique, and those of us not living with your experiences will never truly understand them. There will be times when you think we at UCI either can’t or won’t do anything to help you. There will be times when you feel anger, rage and despair. I won’t dwell on the pain so many of you feel or the trauma that you are experiencing except to say that I do see you, I do hear you, and I want to hear and learn more when you are ready and on your terms. And I sincerely hope that there will be times when you see that we care, that we are working for you, and that we want to work alongside you.
Statement on Anti-Black Racism [Also available here]
Like you, we in Graduate Division are dismayed, angered, and saddened by the violence, racism, and intolerance taking place in our communities nationwide. The tragic and unnecessary death of George Floyd, who died in Minneapolis police custody late last week, is the latest in a long series of horrific events that leave communities crying out in pain and longing for justice. Floyd’s wrongful death has sparked demonstrations against police brutality and racial discrimination across this country, including areas around the UCI community. The sad reality is, an instance like this is not unique. We need structural, cultural, and societal change.
As many scholars have noted, the United States for all its wonderful features is a country founded on white supremacy. As a child growing up in Georgia surrounded by Confederate monuments and new Jim Crow, I witnessed this first hand. We have had many moments in our history in which we have said this shall not stand. Let us hope today is finally the day that is true. I long for a time when my Black students will not fear walking to the lab at night, a time when anyone who wants can jog anywhere they want, when a trip to the store to buy Skittles is not a death sentence.
In my home, I have conversations with my young sons about what they can do to keep their friends and others safe as they age. Black parents have long had to talk to their children about how to stay safe in America. It is equally important that white parents talk to our children about not perpetrating violence.
At the university, we have a delicate balance to keep. My voice, as a white tenured professor, gets heard enough. And so I will try to be quiet and listen. At the same time, my voice as a Vice Provost carries some weight, and so I will try to use it to support and protect and lift up our Black students and post-docs. We all have work to do, and I believe our colleagues at UCI are committed to doing that work.
It is not enough to not be racist. We must all strive to be anti-racist. I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to be Black. With that being said, I do see you, I do hear you, and I want to hear and learn more when you are ready and on your terms. If I, or anyone else in Graduate Division, can be of service, please come talk to us. As always, I can’t promise I can give you what you want, but I promise to listen.
Webinar: Mourning and Anti-Blackness
Please join the UCI Humanities Center to reflect on the persistence of anti-Black violence and harm during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to register.
Jessica Millward, Associate Professor of History
Sabrina Strings, Associate Professor of Sociology
Tiffany Willoughby-Herard, Associate Professor of African American Studies
Moderated by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, Faculty Director of the Humanities Center
Jun 3, 2020 12:00 PM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)
SAVE THE DATE: DECADE Forum in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter
DECADE welcomes all graduate students and post-docs for conversation and reflection regarding the racial events and violence that have impacted Black communities across the United States. Speakers from across campus will facilitate a conversation regarding anti-Blackness and supporting systemic change. Graduate Division and DECADE stand in solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter.
Date:Thursday, June 4th, 2020
Registration Information Coming Tomorrow
Update on Chinese Visa Proclamation
UCOP has engaged attorneys, lobbyists, and researchers on the issue of the recent proclamation regarding Chinese students and researchers. We still know very little, but here is some information that we think we know based on what UCOP has learned:
The proclamation suspends the entry of Chinese citizens into the U. S. pursuant to F-1 or J-1 visas seeking to study or conduct research in the U.S. at the graduate level [This includes both Grad Students and Post-Docs], if the individual either currently or in the past:
- Receives funding from
- Is employed by
- Studies at; or
- Conducts research for
any entity in China that implements or supports the PRC's "military-civil fusion strategy." The term "military-civil fusion strategy" is defined as "actions by or at the behest of the PRC to acquire and divert foreign technologies, specifically critical and emerging technologies, to incorporate into and advance the PRC's military capabilities."
What about individuals who are already in the United States?
At this time, the Order only affects individuals seeking entry into the U.S., not those already present in the U.S. However, there is a provision which directs the Secretary of State to consider whether nationals of China currently in the U.S. pursuant to F or J visas and who otherwise meet the criteria should have their visas revoked.
As always I want to assure you that UCI is committed to supporting our students and post-doctoral researchers to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Summer Funding for Graduate Students
We anticipate the DTEI Fellows process to finalize this week. This will still leave students on the application list who do not have funding. Please be patient a little while longer. I am working on two other programs to roll out that we hope gets us closer to full coverage of at least all the PhD and MFA students. I know we are getting dangerously close to summer. We really hope to finalize all of this next week.
Train to be a Legal Observer
From Anna Davis, Director of ProBono Programs at UCI Law: As you process what is happening around the country right now, I know that many of us would like to do more to support those that are protesting. One excellent way to help is to serve as a Legal Observer (“LO”) for the National Lawyers Guild. There is a huge demand for Legal Observers right now, and not nearly enough volunteers. The role of an LO is to be an observer and chronicler. The hope is that by being present and serving as a witness (wearing a bright green hat that is visible to law enforcement and protesters), LO’s will help to keep protests peaceful. If something does happen, LO’s serve as a third party witness to chronicle events. You do NOT have to be an attorney or law student to do this work.
If you would like to get involved as a Legal Observer, there is a training THIS THURSDAY, June 4th 12-1pm via Zoom. You can RSVP here. After you are trained you will need to make a special request if you want to serve as an LO in OC as opposed to LA.
Attend the 2020 UCI Undergraduate Research Spotlight
I recently heard from grad students -yay for Office Hours--that you didn’t know about the Undergrad Research Symposium. This is one of my favorite events each year, because it gives you a really good sense of what all is going on all over campus. It is also a good way to find some potential interdisciplinary collaboration partners. This year, the UCI Undergraduate Research Symposium, which was expected to showcase more than 800 presentations from close to 1,400 student presenters who were mentored by close to 500 faculty members. Due to COVID-19, this has been changed to a virtual format that has been renamed the 2020 Undergraduate Research Spotlight sessions. The 38 projects presented at this two-day event provide a glimpse into the tremendous breadth and depth of the undergraduate research culture at UC Irvine. Please see below for information on how to access the event.
Spotlight Session I – Engineering and Computer Sciences - June 2, 10:00 AM
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/93878086274
Video Streaming Link: https://vimeo.com/421180057
Spotlight Session II – Arts and Humanities - June 2, 2:00 PM
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/96332347003
Video Streaming Link: https://vimeo.com/421180309
Spotlight Session III – Biological and Health Sciences - June 3, 10:00 AM
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/93623066025
Video Streaming Link: https://vimeo.com/421180480
Spotlight Session IV – Social and Behavioral Sciences - June 3, 2:00 PM
Zoom Meeting Link: https://zoom.us/j/95849533687
Video Streaming Link: https://vimeo.com/421180625
Today, I want to close with a few notes on protesting. Eli Wiesel, who shared many years in the same place that my family lost most of its members, said “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” I grew up as the kid pulled along in a little red wagon at a wide variety of protests. Hanging on my office wall is the baby t-shirt I wore that reads “ERA Yes!” My parents and I never feared for my safety. Many of our Black students and post-docs have never known that same freedom from fear.
Since these protests have begun, I have seen a child sprayed with pepper spray. I have seen people with disabilities knocked out of the way. I have seen an elderly bystander shoved to the ground. I want so much for all of you to express yourselves however you want, and I also want so much for you to be safe. So, please, and yes I am using my mom voice right now, write the number of someone with bail money on your arm--and you can call me if you don’t have anyone else. Carry water and milk. Wear a mask. It is still a global pandemic.
Whatever you do, come back to us here at UCI safe so you can continue to be the wonderful community of Anteaters that you are and the future of this world.
On behalf of all of Graduate Division, we wish you justice and peace,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division