(COVID-19): Campus Health Updates
6/5/2020 - Daily COVID-19 Graduate Division Update
Dear Graduate Students and Post-Docs,
Barbara Jordan, the first black congresswoman from the south and the first woman in the Texas Senate died in 1996 without ever publicly announcing she was a lesbian. Despite these challenges and the heartbreak of hiding a part of herself, her friends noted that she remained optimistic about the future simplifying what can be, saying “What the people want is very simple: they want an America as good as its promise.”
I’ve said before that I am a borderline hopeless optimist. The past couple of weeks have tested that optimism. This morning, though, all of the Deans together with the Provost, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion, the Vice Provost for Academic Personnel, the Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, and myself got together to talk about long-range plans-- you know the university loves a good task force--but also concrete actions we can take quickly as leaders to address anti-Black racism, institutional and structural inequalities, and ways we can make the entire university better for everyone. I once again have hope. I believe information will be released from the Office of Inclusive Excellence in a week or so, and I hope after that, you will also have hope.
You are getting your regular message from Graduate Division a little bit earlier in the day today than usual. My hope in sending this to you early is that I might catch you in time to encourage you to attend the Self-Care and Community event at 4PM today. More information below.
Online Discussion: Self-Care and Community
June 5: 4-5PM
RSVP by clicking here
Join UCI Counselors in this unique session dedicated to help members process their care and get access to important resources.
Douglas Haynes, Vice Chancellor, Office of Inclusive Excellence
DeWayne Williams, Professor, Psychological Science
Milo Dodson, Jessica Ortega and Jas Tilghman, Senior Staff Psychologists, Counseling Center
Negar Shekarabi, Coordinator, Faculty and Staff Support Services
Statement from Public Safety Advisory Committee (PSAC)
The Public Safety Advisory Committee was established to address issues that impact the safety and quality of life of students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the UCI campus and Medical Center. They put out a statement that is worth reading that details both long and short-term actions they are taking:https://www.fa.uci.edu/psac/ I want to take a moment to say a big thank you to AGS representative Reginald Gardner for serving on this important committee.
Many of you have asked about housing and safety on campus in light of COVID-19. The schools, departments, and Graduate Division have been working closely with housing with two primary goals: 1) Keep our current students in housing as long as possible. 2) Provide graduate and family housing as needed, especially to those who do not have safe alternate housing. These two goals can sometimes conflict, because a current student with an empty room may very much want to stay but also not get a new roommate. We know this is difficult. I just want to say how much I appreciate the community spirit that our students are showing in taking in new roommates this summer as well as the work of housing to address various concerns. Normally, around 300 students move into GFH during June. We now have this number down to 30 and are working to reduce it further where possible. Again, new students may truly have nowhere else safe to go. Please remember that as we work to move them in. Housing is also developing some emergency temporary measures to try to help our graduate students even more and give you some additional flexibility. Please be on the lookout next week for an announcement, and should you have immediate concerns continue to send them to Ruth Quinnan (firstname.lastname@example.org) for help.
Summer Funding and DTEI Fellows
Schools are in the process of selecting their DTEI fellows and getting that information back to us in Graduate Division. We will send out award letters next week, but you may hear back from your School earlier. Do not worry if you hear from your School but not GD or hear from GD but not your School. We are working through the lists, and this is the biggest, most rapidly rolled out fellowship program we have ever created. DTEI is still developing the training, affinity groups, and so on to support you in your growth and development in this area this summer. Announcements forthcoming.
Schools are ALSO hiring extra TA’s this summer. So, some of you may be getting TA hiring information in the next week as well.
Finally, we will be rolling out at least one additional funding program next week. I know you are sick of me telling you to be patient. My goal is to get all of our PhD and MFA students at least some summer funding by June 15. Again, I am very sorry this is taking so long.
I have been asked by some graduate students, post-docs, and faculty why we are so focused on Black students and post-docs right now when our undocumented, LGBTQIA, international, Latinx, and other communities are also suffering. Yes, you are all suffering. Every student and every post-doc on this campus, regardless of how much privilege you may or may not have, is suffering right now. Too long we have ignored the specific suffering of our Black community members, however. Supporting them now will not take anything away from any other group, and in fact, will make us all stronger together. I encourage you, if you have not seen them, to watch these two videos, one that is specific to UCI and one that is more broad:
- Iyanna Blackburn Documentary The 2%: Navigating UCI as a Black Student: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eRTIWvPEesM.
Finally, I want to end with a little hope rolling into the weekend. First, indulge me for a moment while you find out what a total nerdy fangirl I am for Robin Roberts. My greatest hope as a researcher has been to become expert enough in something to get interviewed on Good Morning America and get to hang out with Robin. She has overcome so much, and she did a lot of it on live television WAY too early in the morning. She said “Life is not so much what you accomplish as what you overcome.” Every one of you is accomplishing so much just by showing up right now. You are taking courses, grading courses, mentoring undergrads, mentoring grad students, publishing research, writing grants, and just breathing in and out every day. Some days that is all you can do. You are overcoming, and you will overcome. The burdens of 2020 are real, intense, and their full scope is unknown. Each of you is doing it though, and that is to be celebrated. So, please take this weekend, and for at least one day, live your life fully. You have got this, and we at Graduate Division are here with you.
All my best,
Kleist Professor of Informatics
Vice Provost for Graduate Education
Dean of the Graduate Division