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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Editorial Board meets with Chancellor Gary May, UC Davis administrators

May, administrators discuss COVID-19 impact on university, Campus Media Board, mental health

The California Aggie’s Editorial Board had a Zoom call with Chancellor Gary May; Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Ralph Hexter; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Emily Galindo; Vice Chancellor of Finance, Operations and Administration Kelly Ratliff; Chief Counsel Michael Sweeney; Director of Athletics Kevin Blue and Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Dana Topousis to talk about instruction plans for the next academic year, the pandemic’s impact on the university’s finances, The Aggie’s editor-in-chief selection process reform and how the campus is preparing for the future.

Below is a transcript of the meeting that has been edited for length and clarity.

Do you have any idea when you plan to make the official decision for Fall Quarter?

Gary May: We’ve been saying we’re going to have our announcement on all of our plans by June 15.

Ralph Hexter: I was talking with the other EVCs [executive vice chancellors], [and] the question is: How much specificity and reliability will we have, even on June 15? Everyone has to realize that, should the virus, the pandemic, take a new course, all bets are off. We are constantly going to be as specific as we can, and I would like to think that we are going to be very clear about which courses are going to only be in person by that mid-point, but we’re working toward that goal.

Kelly Ratliff: I am leading a group on operations, and we’re pretty far along on some guidance for what it means to return administrative and other office work back to university facilities.

There’s also an advisory team with five medical experts, and then a few folks who do logistics like myself or Mike Sweeney from campus counsel and Mike Sheehan from campus housing who really focus on the health aspect: What will the campus be doing in terms of symptom screening? Contact tracing or case investigation? What will we do for isolation? All of those things are a very important part of the plan. New information is emerging constantly. There’s systemwide committees, and UC Davis experts are a part of those committees. We’re making progress there in terms of being able to tell employees and students and families, ‘Here’s the programs and processes we’ll have in place as we get ready for fall,’ and that will definitely benefit by the next couple of weeks and evolve over the summer. 

Some students and faculty have levied accusations online that UC is waiting to announce if Fall Quarter will be remote so that it can collect tuition and housing deposits from incoming students. One UC Davis faculty member tweeted: “my university is pretending that it isn’t going to be basically all online in the fall so as to lock in the deposits of the incoming first years.” Can you respond to these allegations?

Gary May: Yeah, that’s completely false, and I’m really disappointed that somebody would have that point of view. We’ve tried to be as upfront about our plans as possible throughout the entire pandemic. We’ve said in campus updates and recent letters — one communication went to incoming students and one communication is about to go to returning students very soon — [that] we are likely to have a hybrid arrangement with instruction where the remote instruction will be available for most, if not all, classes. But we’ll also have some in-person classes as well.

What I’ve been saying to the team, almost from the beginning, is that I would like to try to get as close to normal as public health policy and the pandemic will allow as soon as we can, and that’s still the direction we’ve been going. We have these two work groups working to return the campus to normal operations, one in instruction and one in operations. Instruction has been headed by Provost Hexter, and operations being led by Vice Chancellor Ratliff. The notion that we’re doing this to collect tuition is pretty offensive to me.

Ralph Hexter: It’s often easier for people to imagine that there’s some deep, dark plot and that we know everything. The real reason we’re taking our time is that we don’t know everything yet. One of the things that is most going to be directing exactly the balance of in-person courses is the guidance we’re going to get from Yolo County from how they will measure appropriate density. And we’re working very closely with them to get that but, in the meantime, we have gone out and asked every major and department to tell us what classes they are planning to do remotely [and] classes they need to do in person, and we’re helping all the departments plan for the best combination for those things. 

We’ve already messaged the incoming students and we have on the table a draft that will go out in the next day, I expect, to all continuing students. It’s challenging to say absolute things but, as the chancellor said, the great majority of classes will be available remotely. Some of them will have an in-person option for people who are on the campus — of course, depending on the limitations that public health requires of us in terms of density in a given classroom. And there will be some classes, probably very few, that will be offered in-person only. In most cases, [students] will be able to have a full schedule of remote classes. If there are issues about classes they need, particularly for graduation, where they’re not able to attend them and those kinds of accommodations and solutions, we’re getting down to one-on-one using major advisors. We are going to be releasing that statement this week and when we have more specifics we will convey that as soon as possible.

What kind of feedback have you received from the campus community — students, staff, faculty and parents — in response to your weekly check-ins?

Gary May: They’ve been well received. In fact, I just got a couple letters from parents yesterday complimenting us on how well we’re staying connected with our student body and the rest of the community. I’m glad that we decided to do it, and we’ll probably continue to have those throughout this quarter and maybe into the summer as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic. Everything’s been extremely positive with respect to the weekly updates.

In the past, you’ve said campus-wide emails and messages should be infrequent because, if used too frequently, people might ignore them and they might become ineffective. What made you increase the frequency of campus-wide check-ins during the situation with COVID-19, and is this something you will continue to do in the future?

Gary May: Well, certainly, this was motivated because we’ve never had a pandemic before — this is an unprecedented situation — and I thought that everyone was very anxious about every detail of campus instruction, operations and planning. I felt that it was prudent to keep people updated regularly, as things were changing so frequently. From my understanding, most people wanted to hear my voice or see my face attached to the messages, so that’s what we decided to do. 

As to whether it will continue, first, I guess I should properly give The Aggie Editorial Board credit for asking me to do more communication like that. And I think for this situation, you were certainly right on target. As to whether we’ll continue when the pandemic is over, or whenever things get back to whatever “normal” is, we’ll have to evaluate and see. I still think that mass communication to the entire community should be infrequent and should be very targeted. That is not to say we won’t have newsletters and things like that that we traditionally have. But at least at this point, don’t anticipate a weekly update as a regular part of business for the campus when we get back to normal.

You recently posted a social media status about the murder of Ahmaud Arbery including a photo of you running as part of the “dedication distance run” and said, “What if I were running in Brunswick, (Georgia) on February 23?” What inspired you to post about Arbery’s killing in such a personal way?

Gary May: I run every other day and I knew about the event, which was commemorating Arbery’s birthday. I lived in Georgia for almost 30 years, so I’m familiar with Brunswick and that community and I just was motivated to make a statement. It’s easy when it’s some unknown person out there and some unknown place being treated a certain way, but in this case, this young man was murdered because he was a Black guy running in the wrong place at the wrong time. I wanted people to accept the possibility that that could’ve been me and not just some unknown person you think might have done something to deserve it or whatever like some people might think. It could’ve been any African American running in Brunswick, Georgia that day who had happened to run into those murderers, and I wanted people to have that in their thought process. It wasn’t planned, it just kind of came to me.

There has been a certain amount of confusion and frustration among students about why there won’t be a refund on tuition. Some students feel like the services they’re paying for, like the ARC, aren’t being rendered and they should therefore be given some money back. Can you respond to this?

Gary May: I can only respond in a limited way, and the limitation is due to the fact that now there is active litigation so we can’t really comment on things for the record. I will say that I would encourage students who feel that way about fees to take a good look at the COSAF [Council on Student Affairs and Fees] website and look at the fees that they’re paying and what they’re actually paying for. 

You mentioned the ARC as an example, there’s not a pay-as-you-go fee for the ARC in there. If there were, that would make sense to refund it. But our fees are bundled in a particular way. A lot of it has to do with paying debt services. Buildings are still there and we owe the money — the fact that people are not using them is not impacting the fact that we owe the money. I would just encourage you and your readers to take a look at the COSAF page for the list of fees and the description of what the fees are for. Beyond that, where the litigation winds up, I really can’t comment further.

In 2009, during the recession, there was a significant amount of pay for tuition that was increased on students to make up for a lack of funding coming from the state. Have there been any talks about the foreseeable impacts on tuition that decreases in funding from the state might have?

Gary May: Only that the March regents meeting, where we were scheduled to discuss this cohort tuition, was taken off the agenda because we were right in the middle of trying to deal with the pandemic and all the associated issues. There was no mention of tuition at the recent May regents meeting. 

I suspect that — this is just me speculating — there’s not much of an inclination or a stomach for having a tuition increase at this time, as far as I know. We have a set of tools in the toolbox that we can try to use, including various workforce actions that may get us through. I think there’s some recognition that a significant fraction of this current financial problem is transient. The hospitals are going to get their patients back, housing and dining is going to eventually get students back. What’s less transient and less well-known is what the state support will be and what enrollment will be. The immediate impacts, we think, over time, can be dealt with. 

The administration works with the Council on Student Affairs and Fees (COSAF) on a regular basis. Are there any different ways the administration has been working with COSAF, specifically in terms of student fees?

Kelly Ratliff: The COSAF process continues. As part of that normal process, the committee provides recommendations. For this year, given the presentations that had occurred, they did recommend CPI, or consumer price index increases, for most of the fees. We’re reevaluating those recommendations now based on some new parameters, like the salary freeze. We’ll circle back with them because of that change in circumstance that they weren’t able to consider and provide those updates.

There are also the new fees that the students voted on and COSAF provided recommendations on that fee. There’s a strong inclination to proceed with those recommendations. We’re analyzing their recommendations now with these new parameters, as the salary freeze was just announced last week. We are also waiting for the rest of the approval process for the new fee, because after the students vote, the chancellor recommends the fee to the UC president, and then the president ultimately has the final authority to approve those fees. We’re waiting for the rest of that cycle to finish. 

As to the fall, frankly, I hadn’t contemplated that. The process with COSAF is really robust. We start out in the summer with an orientation and set the agenda for the year. I think the normal process gives us good opportunities to look at the process and decide, given this pandemic situation, ‘Is there something we need to change or modify?’

Emily Galindo: The COSAF chairs are students, and they develop the agenda. We could certainly respond to anything they felt was important for us to have conversations about. 

Vice Chancellor Ratliff, you mentioned the student fee that was approved during Winter Quarter is still awaiting final approval by the UC president. Could you give us more information about whether you think that the fee will be approved?

Kelly Ratliff: Right now, it feels very much like we’re in the normal process, except [it] is running a little bit slowly right now because there’s so much attention on COVID-19. 

What level of testing capacity do you think UC Davis needs to have in order to safely open campus when it is time to do so?

Gary May: There’s a subgroup within our operations working group that is focusing on testing. We’re actually using the language of “screening” now rather than “testing” because that’s, I think, a more accurate connotation of what we’re going to be doing. 

You may have read about the idea of doing a full test of every student, faculty and staff member on both campuses. That’s not really realistic. From a timing standpoint and from a cost standpoint, most of the literature would say we’re not convinced that testing asymptomatic people really even tells you anything useful. I think where we’ll probably wind up is on some sort of sampling-based approach. We’ll let the medical experts tell us what the right percentage and frequency should be for the samples. Certainly anyone who has any symptoms will get tested immediately and handled appropriately. 

For asymptomatic populations, however, it’s not likely that we’ll have pervasive screening for that group — we’ll have some sort of schedule and some sort of sampling arrangement for that, followed up by contacting tracing and, if needed, isolation.

Kelly Ratliff: We had one of these advisory team meetings last night. There have been a couple of efforts underway that you may have heard about at UC San Diego and UC Irvine to have mass testing protocols on those campuses. I have here in my notes from last night that UC San Diego tested almost 1,100 students and they found no positives. At Irvine, they tested about 1,500 and they found five positives, but they already knew about four of those — so they really only found one asymptomatic person. 

When you talk to the medical experts, some of the concern with a mass screening protocol when you have a low prevalence of the disease is that you get a high false positive rate. The science and the data seem to be coalescing much more around screening. You may have heard about self-assessment tools and people doing their own screening, testing folks who have symptoms, either by the self-reported screening or who present with symptoms and the idea of contact tracing, which is really a formal responsibility of public health. The campus may be able to help more carefully with what they call “case investigation.” Can we have some local places where we’re doing some hand offs with public health, where if we find a positive we can have folks who are trained on what to do? UCSF has developed an eight-hour training program. So these are all the different things we’re evaluating. 

I think an outline of what the campus plan will be is going to be available by mid-June. It will include those elements we’re evaluating, like people doing temperature screenings. UC Davis is so big — you can’t do that everywhere — but there are certain locations that make sense, both for the cultural aspect as well as the health aspects. The most important things we can do are physical distancing, [as well as] wear our face coverings [and] stay home if we’re not feeling well. If someone has symptoms, then we’ll move to testing quickly. The Student Health and Wellness Center is connected with UC Davis Health and the testing is done there. We get results in three to 24 hours, depending on the timing of the sample collection. We’re relying on UC Davis Health, and we have a very good protocol there.

Emily Galindo: We’re strongly encouraging flu shots this coming fall. That will really make a difference in how we are able to separate out people who are sick with the virus and the rest of the folk. The more people who will get flu shots, the better it’ll be for our whole community. So that will be another campaign. 

What efforts would the university take to ensure that the education experience is the same, regardless of whether it is remote or in person?

Gary May: We work hard to do that even now. The Academic Senate and provost work closely together to ensure that the education you receive is seamless. I’m not saying that this is perfect, because we did this in a rather shortened manner. But I think the quality has been there. We expect that the instruction will be performed at the same high quality you’re used to.

What are some of the lessons you’ve learned about remote instruction this quarter and how will those inform decisions around remote instruction as it might occur in Fall Quarter?

Gary May: I think there have been some difficulties like proctoring exams. We try to make adjustments with communication. Some things were out of our control, like when the Internet goes out in Davis, but we try to work around that. We encourage faculty to have some flexibility in evaluating students — we know that they have these issues to overcome. I think that the lessons have been learned. There are always new things that can happen, but I should say that, if there’s a second wave of the virus, we will be prepared to go back to fully remote as we are now. Having done it once, we will be much more prepared to do that if we need to. 

Ralph Hexter: When we made the leap into Spring Quarter, we acquired 700 laptops and the opportunity for students who needed them to get them. We established spaces on campus — whether [students are] remaining in our residence halls or living in the area — to come in and safely use the Internet on campus. We will be building on that. 

No one was looking forward to this, but I heard people say that there are certain aspects of their teaching that works better in this format. So many of our faculty have learned more about remote instruction. So at the school level and the many departments and through our educational excellence center, we’re offering clinics and more guidance. More faculty will be more prepared and learn from one another [in terms] of what has worked for them. In the end, each faculty member has to figure out what works best for them and for the students they have.

Do you plan to continue implementing flexible pass/no pass and PLEP rules?

Ralph Hexter: They [the Academic Senate] want to do this quarter by quarter. They’ll do it in a timely fashion and communicate whatever they do. I believe they’ve made certain determinations now for summer. I would expect that they would [make an announcement about Fall Quarter] a little bit later.

From what you know, so far, how has the pandemic affected first-year enrollment for fall, if at all?

Gary May: First-year enrollment looks surprisingly strong. We had some concerns about that, but based on the last data I saw, our yield rate is somewhere between where we were in 2018 and 2019. 

Can you talk generally about what the financial impact of the pandemic has been on the university and in terms of funding from the state? 

Gary May: In the first couple of months of the pandemic, between cost and missed revenue and lost revenue, it was about a $125 million problem for the university. About $90 million of that is at UC Davis Health, where they were having to make arrangements to accommodate what they expected to be a surge in COVID patients, and they deferred many elective surgeries that tend to be higher revenue operations. The rest of that $35 million or so was from the main campus here in Davis, most of which coming from returned Housing and Dining contracts from students who went back home. There are some other costs but that’s that’s the bulk of it.

Through the CARES act, we received $34 million of the federal government’s $2 trillion CARES act money. That money is divided equally between student financial aid and operations, and we dispersed the $17 million to students — 80% or so went to undergraduates, 20% roughly went to graduate students. We used some of the money for our undocumented community because they were not covered in the first half. We are figuring out right now how we’re going to take care of some of the needs across the campus with the other $17 million.

The governor announced that we would not be getting the 5% increase that we were anticipating and, in fact, it would be a 10% decrease from the state revenue — which, for UC Davis, is about $40 million that we were expecting to get that we won’t get for the 2020–2021 fiscal year. On top of the hole we were already trying to fill in from the current year, we have a hole next year. We have some real challenges. Provost Hexter has established a budget advisory committee to give us recommendations around helping to fill that hole. We’re actively seeking FEMA funds and other things to try to do some other recovery.

Kelly Ratliff: I will say that there are also some CARES funds that will be available on the healthcare side. That’s good, but again, it’s scaling at about half of the challenge. On the healthcare side, they’re anticipating just under $50 million [in lost revenue], and again, they’ve already had about $90 million in losses. So those funds are incredibly important.

But there really is still a large gap with respect to the state. The governor may revise — these are proposals, the legislature has to vote and then, ultimately, the governor will place the final budget vote. But we really don’t have an expectation that that will change much. 

The swing for UC Davis is closer to $65 million. We were planning on this 5% increase, and instead we’ll have a 10% decrease. Compared to what we were planning for next year, it’s a much larger swing. In response, the one action that the president has announced is the salary freeze. And that specifically stops normal merit range adjustments for staff that aren’t represented by collective bargaining and our faculty and academic appointments not represented by collective bargaining. For the folks who are represented by unions, then there are separate conversations underway as well with those groups. Universities are people, and salaries are the biggest part of our budget. So whatever we can do to spread the pain, share the sacrifice, will reduce how much of a budget challenge we have left to close through other choices.

We also have in place what we’re calling a vacancy management program. Even as we’re using the language that the campus is closed, this campus is never closed — there are a lot of folks who are here as essential workers. The vacancy management program put in an extra level of review and sign off for people to justify hiring. As part of that process and knowing the budget pressures, folks definitely have pulled back on refilling certain positions. We hope that will give us an opportunity through attrition to garner some savings. Those are some of the early strategies — we have in place right now.

Ralph Hexter: Our hospital prepared for a surge [and] stopped these surgeries. We, in the Sacramento greater metropolitan area, are so fortunate compared to so many areas of the country. That surge did not materialize. My understanding is that we’re back up to normal operations, 80 or 90%. Compared to most other health centers, our health center is on a path to a rapid recovery, including financially and being able to serve the area population. 

Gary May: Let’s not forget the chancellors took a 10% pay cut. No one is shedding any tears though, I see. 

We’ve heard historically that community resource and retention centers have faced budget cuts if they don’t use the entirety of their budget during a given fiscal year. What funding commitments is the university willing to make for the CRRCs and other cultural and ethnic resource centers on campus during this pandemic and into the future?

Emily Galindo: It’s unfortunate that that is the understanding, and perhaps we need to do a better job of explaining how we deal with carryforward dollars. Budgets are not cut. At the end of the year, if there are dollars available within the particular AVC’s portfolio, those dollars go back to the AVC to redistribute. But they’re not cut. Currently, we don’t have any plans for doing anything other than providing the funding that the various units are asking for. 

Is there a plan to make up for the loss of on-campus student jobs that cannot be made virtual? 

Gary May: We certainly recognize the issue. I don’t know if there’s a firm plan in place yet, and we’re looking for other opportunities to use those students. We talked about ‘contact tracing’ as an example, that’s a possible job that students can do. 

How has this crisis impacted the athletic department financially? How is the department preparing to move forward with respect to funding/revenue generation?

Kevin Blue: The pandemic, in the current fiscal year, had a pretty significant impact because of the cancellation of the NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, which are revenue generators. As a result, we reduced expenses in the spring. The lack of travel for our spring teams made the reduction of expenses easier to facilitate. We also saw some slight funding decreases from our projections based on the uncertainty in the economic environment, and we changed our ‘Give Day’ strategy — instead of trying to raise money actively for our own teams, we threw our publicity efforts behind raising money for the COVID-19 relief efforts for campus, which also negatively impacted our financial position. As we move forward, we’ve been very conservative in our revenue projections for the 2020–2021 academic year and have already taken some cost reduction actions to develop a budget which we believe will end up being a balanced budget as we get closer to the start of the fiscal year. 

Will fall sports be able to hold practices or workouts in-person in June, in accordance with the NCAA’s recent decision? What kinds of restrictions, changes or guidelines, if any, would those types of activities be subject to?

Kevin Blue: We hope to be able to resume athletics activities, starting with the voluntary activities that the NCAA will permit. However, we will only resume activities once it is deemed safe to do so by public health authorities and campus safety officials. We expect that there will be safety-related modifications when activity does resume. 

Is the university willing and able to hold athletic events in fall, even in the event of remote instruction? Is there a certain date by which the university and athletics department are aiming to have these decisions made by?

Kevin Blue: All decisions about the fall quarter are being discussed currently, and we expect to have more certainty by the middle of June.

Will UC Davis have to terminate any of its current athletic programs?

Kevin Blue: We do not anticipate reducing programs. All decisions on the entire campus have to take into account the challenging financial circumstances that we’re in. All leaders on campus are faced with trade-offs given the financial circumstances, and athletics is no exception.

Do you have any additional remarks regarding how UC Davis athletics is planning on preparing for the gradual return of collegiate sports?

Kevin Blue: We are eager to resume activity, but we will be appropriately thoughtful and safe as we do so in a gradual manner under the guidance of public health guidelines and campus safety policies.

Why has the university effectively cut back on its scope of mental health resources during this pandemic by furloughing six counselors, when counseling staff was already understaffed pre-pandemic at 75% staffing capacity.

Gary May: I’m not even aware of the furlough. 

Emily Galindo: I’m not able to answer. I do know that, on an annual basis, we do furlough. I was only aware of that happening during the summer time, because students leave campus. That’s all that I’m aware of.

Provost Hexter, you released an email during late Winter Quarter about a student who contracted the virus while studying abroad. Since then, we have not heard about any additional campus cases. What steps is the university taking to inform the campus community about individuals who have contracted or potentially been exposed to the virus? 

Ralph Hexter: There have been very few cases of any sort on campus. To the extent I’ve been involved in those discussions, we look at them on a case-by-case basis. The couple occasions when there were people who might have been exposed, we communicated to all those who were in their residence hall. We worked with anyone who had contact with them, but we’ve not always felt that it was appropriate immediately to have a special message. [In] the Friday messages we always referenced any new cases that we do have on campus.

Gary May: We’ve never had more than two positive tests at any one time, and the time we had two, neither of the people lived on campus. 

Kelly Ratliff: Under our division in health and safety services, if you look up coronavirus reporting protocol, there’s very clear protocols. It’s mandatory for folks to report positive cases. We also now have the ability to inform people. We use our privacy operations if somebody suspects a case, because people like to be reassured. We really don’t want folks off investigating on their own. We want to have appropriate protocols to honor privacy and involve our medical experts and determine the right steps of action. 

Michael Sweeney: It may seem suiting to get a blast to the campus community every time there’s a positive patient, but that’s actually not recommended. We take directions from the public health officer on when and how to communicate these messages. 

We wrote an editorial recently criticizing the fact that The California Aggie’s editorial-in-chief is hired — and can be fired — by the campus Media Board, an administrative advisory committee. Since that editorial, we have been working to completely overhaul this selection process so that The Aggie can choose its own editor-in-chief, as is the case at other campus papers at all of the other UCs and at campuses across the nation. What are your thoughts on this?

Emily Galindo: We’re certainly in the process of looking at the structure we have in place right now, but we do feel like there’s some merit to the way in which the Media Board currently operates in that the Board, rather than student government or one particular administrator, allows for accountability [and] checks and balances. It’s made up of students, faculty, staff and administrators, and we believe that’s important and serves us well. It’s never been part of what the Media Board does to censor content. The newspaper is free because of freedom of the press to have whatever content they feel is appropriate. The selection process does involve members, it does require a certain number of affirmative votes in order for interviews to happen.

Dana Topousis: I appreciate that you raised that issue, and Student Affairs is reviewing their process. I think it’s important that we’ve listened to your voices and I just want to thank you for putting that out there. I sat briefly on the Media Board as a non-voting member and it was never about talking about the content of the stories you’re covering or the editorial you write, that’s never been on any of the agendas that I’ve sat in. It was more about the budget oversight and making sure that you have the support that you needed. 

Michael Sweeney: I, too, appreciate raising this concern. I’m very sensitive to any effort that would be actually censoring or suppressing freedom of expression, or even the perception that it’s chilling freedom of expression. Unfortunately, some of our boards have challenges with student participation. I understand the Media Board has struggled, certainly this year and certainly with the pandemic, with students participating on the Media Board. I think we need to think about how to fix that. I can say, in my 14 plus years at UC Davis, I’ve worked with the Media Board on countless occasions where it has served as a buffer to support The Aggie, as it does its important work, against individuals — whether at student government, administration or the community — who don’t like something that’s been published. The goal of the Media Board is to support the ongoing, excellent journalism of our student newspaper.

Vice Chancellor Galindo, how do you feel about the fact that none of the members of The Aggie, specifically those in leadership positions who have been with The Aggie for several years, are allowed to serve on Media Board or have any type of voting capacity? 

Emily Galindo: I would just restate that the structure of the Media Board is what it is. It’s been that way historically. I served two years as chair of Media Board. We’re in the process of taking a look at that. We’ve simply been following what’s been established, and that’s what’s been established. We have student participation, but not necessarily specific members of The Aggie. 

Chancellor May, as a parent of a recent college graduate, what advice do you have for UC Davis students who are graduating into a pandemic? 

Gary May: We wish you best of luck, and I’m sorry we won’t be able to celebrate how we normally do  in person. I hope you’ll take advantage of the virtual celebration we’ve prepared, and I hope you’ll find that there will be some nice pieces you’ll like. We hope to do something in the late Fall, if we can, in person. My daughter just graduated from Lynn University in Florida. She’s an early childhood education major and she has a job with City Year in Miami. So we’re all happy she’s going to have a gainful employment. That’s one of our goals for the family — it buffers the 10% pay cut the chancellors are taking tremendously, her school is not cheap. 

I think you all should be very encouraged with the fact that you all got a very tremendous and high-quality education at UC Davis that will prepare you for your future career, no matter what it is. There will be challenges, because the pandemic has caused some challenges nationwide that you’ll have to face, but those kinds of challenges happen from time to time. You’re going to be prepared to deal with it. We’re going to be there to support you. I hope you’re taking advantage of the ICC and the job fairs that are being conducted on your behalf so you can get connected to possible career opportunities. I’m proud of you. You’ll have a great career, great life. And don’t forget about UC Davis.

Written by: The Editorial Board


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