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Friday, June 18, 2021

Editorial Board meets with Chancellor May, UC Davis administrators

May, administrators discuss fall quarter plans, recent UC-wide data breach and continued COVID-19 precautions

Chancellor Gary May, Provost Mary Croughan, Vice Chancellor Pablo Reguerín, Vice Chancellor Kelly Ratliff, Associate Chancellor Karl Engelbach, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Dana Topousis, Campus Counsel Michael Sweeney, Director of Athletics Rocko DeLuca 

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

The California Aggie: How is UC Davis preparing for in-person classes this fall?

Gary May: That’s a great question that is on many people’s minds. There are many people contributing to preparing for the fall. But, the campus lead for classes has been Provost Croughan so I’m going to let her answer that question.

Mary Croughan: A lot of preparation for the fall. The primary factors that influenced our ability to actually resume in-person instruction was the potential for a vaccine mandate, having the case rates come down on COVID and honestly just how well all of you have done as students in wearing your face coverings, doing your weekly asymptomatic testing and so forth. So we’re feeling quite confident in our ability to return to full in-person instruction that is 100% capacity and classrooms and laboratories, studios, field work taking place and so forth. More than likely, face coverings will be required in all those settings still because going through the fall, the situation will still not be ideal and the pandemic will still not be completely over and actually through ASUCD they’ve made that request as well. For students who are not able for medical reasons to be vaccinated there will be a process where they can apply for exemption for that. That’s one of the reasons ASUCD has asked for continued face coverings, so any student sitting in a classroom knows that either the other students in the classroom are fully vaccinated or everyone has a face covering that can reduce transmission that could occur. Last but not least, in looking at all aspects of fall instruction, we are still a little challenged for our international students. The consulates across the world have still largely not reopened to have international students able to receive these. Thankfully, the chancellors and the president of UC have submitted letters encouraging the state department to open consulates but also to place student visas at a higher priority. 

Gary May: You know, we actually had this concept—quarter in the cloud—that we were developing even before the pandemic, and the pandemic gave us a chance to test it, and I think we’ll be prepared to accommodate students who need to be remote still. 

TCA: How is UC Davis deciding which classes will be in person, which classes will be hybrid and which classes will be entirely online? 

Gary May: I think that’s another one for Provost Croughan. We have a pretty rigorous review process in place to make those decisions. 

Mary Croughan: The mode of instruction for every class is actually a decision made by the Academic Senate as an overview over the entire campus. Traditionally, if the class wanted to be held remotely they had to go through a review process with the Academic Senate. We’ve been given a variance to offer classes remotely this whole year by our accreditor and the Academic Senate. While we still are working out the details, more than likely what we’ll be doing in the fall is the reverse of what we did this year. For this whole year of 2020-2021, everything was expected to be offered remotely and if it was going to be offered in-person, then we had an application process and a review process to do so, to make sure there was pedagogical justification to offer it in-person. In other words, a good reason to do it and also to make sure it met the safety guidelines. What we’re exploring right now is the reverse for the fall. The expectation is everything would be offered in person and we would have a review process for things to be administered remotely instead of the process we used last year where the committee were predominantly experts in education and not so much a senate review process because it was just looked at from a safety standpoint. In the fall, we would need to do that together with the Senate. So, a faculty member would ask their department if they could offer something remotely would be one option, and the other is if we have international students in large numbers that are not able to come, then we would ask the department to offer one course or a selection of courses remotely. Individual students can work with their academic advisors as well, so if they are not able to attend in-person for medical reasons, we will do our best to also offer the course in a hybrid fashion. In other words, recorded lectures that are offered to the students afterwards. So, it will be a combination, but it will be predominantly in-person instruction in the fall. 

TCA: Besides classes, are there going to be guidelines established for clubs and student organizations to resume in-person activities? As we all know that’s a really vital part of our college life, so is there anything established in regards to that?

Gary May: This question sounds like it’s in the wheelhouse of Vice Chancellor Reguerín.

Pablo Reguerín: Sure. I’m going to ask for Kelly, she has the operational aspect of some of the activities and I’m sure there will be something I’m missing there. Let me just start with overall, our student affairs and student services, we’re planning on having our offices be able to provide hybrid services so if you walk in, there are full services continuing like the Zoom waiting rooms and different ways of contacting offices if you are not in person. That’s just overall across our teams and offices. We’re looking for that to be our new standard in terms of how we’ll do work at least for this year. There’s a lot to figure out, what worked well in a remote environment, what are those innovations, how can we capture them and fold them into our plans, we’ll continue to do experimentation with that. We’ll want to hear from students like we’ve seen some really interesting things with academic support in our tutoring area, workshop attendance, things that are more accessible remotely. But of course, we’ll continue to have those services in person. In terms of student organizations, we’re anticipating going back to our normal activities and services. We will continue to provide guidance to student organizations around staying safe and events. They’ll get guidance from CSI, from their advisors around that. 

Kelly Ratliff: I think a general theme for fall is we are going to try to do things as close to how it used to be as possible. We’re going to have mitigations in place that we need to have. But, generally our goal is to just be as much back to full capacity, full speed of services as well as we can. That’s the goal and public health guidance has to support that and again, like Mary mentioned, we might have things like masks and so forth. But generally speaking, we want folks to come back and find the services that they were used to having here before the pandemic.

Gary May: I will mention one thing that we’re planning that’s kind of easing students back in. All the 2020 students had their orientation virtually and never got to know the physical campus. So, for 2021 students, they’ll have a physical orientation to walk around and know where things are. We’re going to have a mini re-orientation for the 2020 students that didn’t get a chance to do that, which would be an abbreviated version of the full week of orientation. That’s something we’re planning to do for the fall.

Mary Croughan: One of the things we’re looking at as part of that. Students have not been in a position to really be together. In general, people who are freshman or new transfer students, those students we are going to give a $5 gift card to the CoHo, and advise them to sit down with some of their classmates and get to know each other because now they can.

Pablo Reguerín: One other thing. This is early in this development so we don’t have it figured out yet, but building off of what we saw with the Aggie Public Health Ambassadors and having folks visually be present around campus, we’re trying to focus on way findings, so how do you find services and great resources. We’re looking at having a student group where students are employed to be our connectors, wearing a common shirt or something that’s visible. Particularly for the 2020 students, there’s going to be a lot of wayfinding fall quarter. We haven’t figured it out exactly but what we do know is it’s going to be students who are mobilized to connect students more pronounced than in the past. I’ll be happy to share that as the idea develops further and we know what it’ll look like, but big focus on connecting students and wayfinding. 

TCA: At the moment, what is the plan for COVID-19 testing once classes resume in person and campus is at full capacity?

Gary May: We expect to continue our testing program, at least until the end of this calendar year. So, through December of 2021 and then maybe evaluate at that point. 

Kelly Ratliff: As Gary said, our intent is to continue testing. You may be familiar with guides from the CDC that suggest if you’ve been vaccinated, you don’t need to continue to participate in testing, but here we feel strongly that because we have such a robust program, it’s easy, staffed and prepared that we have occurrence of variants in our community so we’re seeing some of the COVID variants arise and we’ve seen some vaccine breakthrough. It’s rare, but it happens when somebody who’s been vaccinated tests positive and we expect that we’ll have a mix of students who are vaccinated and not vaccinated. So, what the CDC recommendation probably doesn’t take into account is the community like Davis that has this robust testing available at a relatively low cost. And because we have that tool available and we want to continue adding to the knowledge base and keep our community as safe as possible, we have the opportunity with Healthy Davis Together for everyone else to continue with the testing as well. That’s really the goal and the emphasis. 

Mary Croughan: It really does allow us to identify variants, if and when they arise because they are arising. We have our own here in Davis and Sacramento. It allows us to identify anyone who’s been infected very quickly, so we can keep others from being infected by them as well. The chancellor is right on the timeframe, but we’ll actually probably go two weeks into winter quarter because then we can have people tested when they return from winter break if they’ve been traveling and just prevent any outbreak in the winter break. 

Gary May: By the way, I don’t know if anyone checks the positivity rate every week like I do, but I think we had three positives last week, a positivity rate of 0.2% so we’re doing really great. I know Rocko has a bragging point on this issue that he probably wants to share. 

Rocko DeLuca: It’s more of a universal bragging point but we’ve had over 120 competitions on campus this spring since January and we haven’t had a single COVID impact for our student-athletes, which again, we give a lot of credit to the student-athletes for making good social decisions and coaches for support. It’s a universal group win for the Aggies. 

TCA: Are students who volunteer in research labs and for other on-campus organizations required to go through sexual harassment training? I know on-campus employees have to go through certain training but we were wondering more about volunteers. 

Michael Sweeney: There’s a state law that mandates training for employees and supervisors. In regards to volunteers, I don’t think there’s a law that mandates training for volunteers. I don’t believe there’s a policy that mandates training for volunteers. I think that would be a very great practice to require volunteers to participate in our program to understand the rules. But I don’t believe there’s a mandate. 

Gary May: Isn’t there something done in orientation though? For all of our students on sexual violence. 

Michael Sweeney: Oh yeah. All students participate in training. But to be a volunteer in a new lab, that doesn’t trigger a new round of training obligations. There’s base training for everybody.

TCA: Will there be more information released about the extent to which the widespread data breach affected UC Davis students? When? For UC affiliates who had their data stolen in the UC-wide data breach, what do you recommend they do? 

Gary May: There’s an FAQ that’s pretty good on the UCOP website for everything related to the data breach including an email by now, offering to sign up for the Experian protection service which is free for one year for all students, faculty and staff. I would encourage you to do that if you haven’t. It’s a very useful thing to have. I think there’s 142,000 people that have signed up UC-wide, so we’re getting a pretty good uptick in that. The breach itself was about 20 gigs of data, which is not a lot of data. My wife is a software developer so she says that at her company, if it’s less than a terabyte, they don’t pay attention. But I know it’s a scary thing for someone. The FAQ is pretty good telling you what to do if certain things happen. I’m not aware of a huge number of UC Davis affiliates who’ve been affected, but we handle those on a case by case basis. 

TCA: What are you most looking forward to in terms of in-person instruction this fall?

Gary May: We all probably have our own answers but I’m looking forward to people being here again. Bikes, bike wrecks, getting food at the Silo and all those kinds of things. There’s a lot of things we can do remotely well but there’s a lot of things that aren’t optimal remotely. As one example, I had my job shadow program that we started when I came and we can’t do things like that remotely well, so I’m looking forward to be able to do those things again.

Mary Croughan: Especially having been a student on campus, it is so bizarre to have it so quiet and empty. Like the chancellor said, you can walk across the street and probably not even look across the street before you cross because it’s unlikely somebody is going to be there to run into you on their bike. I’m looking forward to dodging traffic and having the MU full, the Coffee House full and everyone back. The vibrancy of the campus will feel quite different with the students returning en masse. 

Pablo Reguerín: I want to echo that, being around folks. Yesterday, I bought my bike on campus and ready to start when we’re all back to get to meetings, going around, so I’m looking forward to everyone. Similar to Mary, I started during the pandemic, so I have not been in this role with a full campus. I’ve been doing a lot of work to get ready and excited about the fall. 

Rocko DeLuca: I’m definitely looking forward to having the energy of campus back again, obviously with athletics specifically. With the few games we’ve had, like the track meet the other day, there were people on top of the parking structure cheering on from afar, so it gives me a lot of hope that the energy around some of the social pieces that make college so fun in addition to learning is going to be back, so I’m excited. 

Gary May: We actually had our first chancellor’s leadership council in-person meeting yesterday, first one in person since last March. You could kind of feel everyone was giddy with excitement, happy to be around other people and talkative. 

TCA: How are the administrators and instructors preparing to ease students back into the rigorous tendencies of in-person instruction and exams?

Gary May: We’ve had some discussion with the Academic Senate. We don’t have a representative here, but we have had those discussions about what sort of flexibility and accommodations should continue, and how we phase it back into regular order over time. Those also have mental health implications. 

Mary Croughan: I agree with everything the chancellor just said. One of the requests the Senate has specifically asked for is to have all testing if possible return to being in person. I’ve also heard that from a lot of students who don’t like the electronic or online proctoring of exams. They feel uncomfortable being watched on Zoom and so forth, so that’s the number one thing we’re really looking at right now. We do have student participation on every one of the fall planning group committees so there has been an opportunity through ASUCD, GSA and others to give input. Plus, we have a portal for all the fall planning workgroup activities and that portal is on the website on Campus Ready under Fall Planning Workgroup, so you can also give us information there if there are any issues or concerns you have. But, I think it’s quite real for students and faculty and staff. There are people who have been, in some cases, lived in social isolation or close to it for a year, and for some folks, that’s been quite welcome and for others they are just really anxious to get out and be with people again. We’re going to need to be able to address all those differences and approaches that may arise from people. 

Pablo Reguerín: I’m very happy to share that we are increasing the number of our therapists. We’re also working to hire a psychiatrist because of the market and the challenge of it being a hard to staff area in general for high education and even more broadly. But, we are currently filling six positions for therapists and there will be another seven added in addition to that. I’m trying to get prepared. We have a number of specialty areas that they are going to be covering as well, multiple languages across different student communities. We are ramping up and looking forward to having a comprehensive and very diverse set of therapists to support students who need that as well. One of the areas of stress that we’re focusing on is being connected. I’m just going to call it the student connector idea right now. It’s having students be very visible, having students be out and about and connect students to resources. The scale of it hasn’t been worked out, but we do think that social connection is going to be really important.

TCA: Just a follow up to that. I know that one of the issues a lot of students face is the long wait times for mental health counselors on campus, so I was wondering with the addition of these new counselors, do you have a goal in mind for a decreased wait time or how quickly you are planning to connect students to therapists when they are in need? 

Pablo Reguerín: One of the things that is often misunderstood is that students in crisis, we can see them right away. The appointment when you’re not in crisis, in terms of our ramp up, it was more centered around the number of therapists and the ratio of students. Our goal is to be at 1:1000. That is what we are planning and that would have an impact on the wait time and we also have our CAN counselors where it’s kind of a preset to a more traditional therapeutic model, so we continue to have that program in place. So yes, it will have an impact on our wait time, but I can’t say exactly. Those depend on what point in time you measured the wait, but it is a metric that we look at regularly. So it will have an effect, but I can’t say to what degree. 

TCA: Since the testing requirement is currently every seven days to be on campus for fully-vaccinated students and employees if there’s any plan to decrease that requirement on the symptom survey just because, as you mentioned, CDC guidelines does say you don’t need to be tested at all once you’re asymptomatic if you’re fully vaccinated. 

Gary May: I don’t think we plan currently to change that. We’ll continue to revisit it and if it looks like we’re overdoing it or it’s not necessary, we can make the timeframe longer or something to that effect. Right now we’re going to stick with once a week. 

Mary Croughan: The chancellor is exactly right. The conditions in which we would stop doing it would be something like zero cases, zero positive cases in both the Davis community and the Davis campus for something like four weeks. We’ve actually had a couple times where we’ve approached that. We’ve gotten two or three weeks with zero cases and then something happens again. But, the numbers of people are going to be considerably larger this fall obviously and everyone will be in closer quarters. The dorms will be full, so I would be very surprised if we stopped screening in the fall. It’s much better to keep us all healthy.

TCA: What led to the UC-wide decision of mandating the vaccine for the fall?

Gary May: Well, several other private universities have already taken that step and after contemplating for a while, we think that’s the best public health decision to have everyone vaccinated. The Academic Senate by the way is very much encouraging this step. The president and chancellor of CSU got together and said we should do this announcement together. That’s where we landed. 

Michael Sweeney: It most definitely is legal. We mandated the flu vaccine in the fall and there was a legal challenge that was dismissed. I think this mandate, I don’t know if you’ve had an opportunity to review it. It’s very thoughtful and allows for appropriate exceptions required by law and it doesn’t become effective at least until one of the vaccines has been approved by the FDA. It’s a very thoughtful mandate designed to make our community safe so we can engage in lots of fun activities in the fall. 

Gary May: To my understanding, the Pfizer vaccine has been submitted or will be submitted in the next day or two for full approval. We expect that to happen in the next several weeks. 

TCA: Why are student athletes and other student employees not allowed to speak to the press?

Gary May: Rocko can take that. First of all, let me dispel that notion. No students are excluded from speaking to the press. We do give advice of encouragement but there’s no rule against it. 

Rocko DeLuca: I don’t know if maybe given the remote nature of some of our staff working with their teams this year there was some error in messaging, but we have a full-time communications team that supports all of our 25 support programs and what we ask is that the media contact them as the timing to make sure that they help arrange and make sure the interviews don’t interfere with practice time or class time. That’s really why a courtesy request is done. If anyone is denied access to student athletes, oftentimes coaches like to pick certain students and spread that opportunity around so everybody gets a chance to speak with the media. But we don’t have any rules that preclude student-athletes from speaking with media. 

Michael Sweeney: I’ll just add, there’s no rule or policy prohibiting student employees from speaking to media. Indeed, people speak all the time, every day. It’s very common. 

TCA: I’ll just be very specific. I actually was a tour guide for a while here and one of our stories in the fall was to talk about campus tours on campus and I received an email as a tour guide saying we do not respond to requests for comment from individual tour guides. It’s a system in place where they need to contact admissions directly, so that was specifically from my supervisor. I do have record of being told as an employee not to speak to the press about a very minor article that talked about adjusting to campus tours. Additionally, there have been multiple other articles from my desk that have to do with the ARC and closing/reopenings in which ARC employees have been given interviews and have been told by their supervisors that they are not allowed to have interviews. That is specifically what I am talking about. Whether it’s a campuswide policy—although it seems like it’s not—it seems like there’s been a lot of pressure from supervisors to have their employees not speak to the press. 

Gary May: Sometimes what we’ll do is, if there’s a particular issue, encourage one point of contact and often that’s Dana’s office. We tell other employees and faculty that if they were to receive an inquiry, direct it to Strategic Communication and let Dana’s team or one of her teammates answer those questions. That happens fairly regularly. I can’t really speak to the examples that you gave because we don’t have a campus policy like that but there may be some reason why those supervisors thought it was important to control the messaging and make sure there was one voice or one point of contact. 

Dana Topousis: I just want to echo that because there’s not a policy from my department at all in that regard and I think it is sometimes supervisors just get nervous. I think some people just get nervous of media generally. I’m sure you’ve all experienced that when you’ve talked to people. People just get nervous about media and I think sometimes they put in extra obstacles. But, I will just say if you ever had an issue, you can contact any one of these leaders. Please reach out to me if you feel like you’re getting an obstacle put in your way or someone being told they can’t do something because that just goes against our transparency that I think everybody here agrees on and we hope that no one thinks that that’s a policy because it isn’t.

Pablo Reguerín: I don’t know about the specific cases but I’m just going to pick on the specific example like at the ARC. It’s not uncommon that we’re making a statement at a single point of contact. It’s different from students speaking on behalf of the ARC or giving their opinion on a situation like what it feels like that the ARC is closed as a student. Those are very different situations. The single point of contact is so that there’s one common message that’s the official position. I know sometimes that can get confusing but I think Dana is a good expert on this and I’m happy to also follow up on any potential issues in my area. 

TCA: Thank you. That’s a good point that you’re making. Just to be clear, to Chancellor May and the other administrators here, do you agree that supervisors should be instructing their employees in certain situations at least to not directly speak to the media?

Gary May: No, I wouldn’t say it that way. I would say that we encourage people to make sure that there’s a clear, unambiguous message that’s coming from the campus on a particular issue or policy. If there’s any doubt about that, there should be a designated point of contact that everyone should use for a particular issue. I don’t think that the examples you gave, if a student has a question on a tour about something, please answer it. I don’t think that’s a problem or if someone wants to know about how you feel about the ARC being closed, please feel free to answer that. That’s not something we would try to regulate.  

Michael Sweeney: I’ll just add, we have a robust community in terms of freedom of expression. Every employee, student has the right for freedom of expression and people understand that the administration should not interfere with that freedom of expression. I’ll just echo what the chancellor said. If we want to have a clarity of communication about what the policy is or what precisely are the rules, we may want to have a single spokesperson speak about that. Every single day, people express their opinions and we’re very comfortable with people expressing points of view that we cannot agree with. 

TCA: Just to clarify, I was wondering if there was a similar type of process mandated for students like volunteers for example since most students volunteer in some kind of research on campus. 

Gary May: I will add that for employees, faculty and staff, we do have an annual training that we have to recertify every year, so anybody who’s supervising a student lab will have their annual training certified. 

Michael Sweeney:  A manager that doesn’t do their training cannot manage. 

TCA: What are the steps the university takes when a graduate student is inappropriate and engaging in sexual harassment? How would an undergraduate report that?

Gary May: We have a couple of offices where that can be reported depending on what actually happens. 

Michael Sweeney: So, there’s many routes to how a student can report. Everybody working on the screen are the responsible employees, so a student can report that to any university employee and then a university employee can report that to the Title IX office. A student can also report that anonymously through our harassment and discrimination program or they can contact the discrimination officier or Title IX officer. Upon receiving those reports, they in real time receive those reports and commence the appropriate corrective action. Typically, there’s an immediate communication with the manager of the program to assess what’s the situation like in that lab or wherever it may be. If there are fears that the student is at risk, the alleged harasser is away from that community until there’s appropriate fact finding. If the allegations are serious and would be a violation of policy, it would be initiated by the compliance office. The victim would be informed of what their rights are. A full understanding of the process, including the opportunity to have a victim advocate through our CARE program. 

Gary May: There has been some policy changes in Title IX from the previous administration that is being changed again, back to what they were. It may be a little confusing. I don’t know if that’s part of your question but we could delve into that if you’d like. 

Michael Sweeney: We could also schedule a time for all of you to meet with the folks who operate these programs. They’d volunteer to meet with you.

TCA: How will safety precautions (i.e. mask-wearing, COVID-19 vaccine and test confirmation) be enforced at this spring’s commencement?

Gary May: Karl has had the pleasure of sort of permutations of commencements since March, so I’ll let him take this one. 

Karl Engelbach: In terms of precautions, we’re going to be ensuring that every participant in the graduation ceremony, both the graduates as well as the guests, bring with them a vaccination card or a test indicating that they tested negative within 72 hours of the commencement or exercise that they are participating in. Everyone will also be required to wear masks. The only time you can take your mask off is when you’re actually crossing the stage for a photo. Otherwise, we’re going to be requiring everyone to wear masks. We did meet with the Yolo County Health Officer about our plans. She was supportive and comfortable with the plans we proposed. We’re going to have many people on sight to ensure people are social distancing and there will be lots of space. Most of this will occur outside. We are still determining the exact location of the stage which potentially will be inside in order to improve both the livestream capabilities and for the most all of the public health guidance that you’ve heard repeated over and over and over again over the past 13 months. So, we’ll be following all of that and there will be a lot of focus on the staff involved and volunteers trying to encourage everyone to follow it. I’ll be honest, our students are great at Davis. They’ve been great at following the rules and I have no doubt all of you and all of your friends who are graduating and their parents will continue to do so we can celebrate safely. 

TCA: What do you think will be the future of the new rapid COVID-19 test that was recently developed at UC Davis?

Gary May: This is a really cool story. I know Mary will want to comment but I think it’s a great partnership between industry and our UC Davis Health neurology and biology experts to develop using spectroscopy and artificial intelligence as a point of care test. What point of care means is you take the test as you’re entering the movie theater and it tells you if you’re positive or not and if you’re negative you can go in. So imagine if we had this test last March, we would have had very minimal disruptions to our lives because we would’ve been able to isolate people who had the virus easily. But, I think it will still be useful for COVID going forward. It will also be useful for the next virus—which there will be one—and the beauty of it is that the algorithm is tunable. You can tune the algorithm to detect whatever peaks in the spectroscopy signature. I know I’m getting a little scientific here but you can turn the algorithm to recognize whatever signature that the virus produces and I think this is going to be very successful for our law as well as some really noteworthy publicity and our experts. 

Mary Croughan: The one thing I will add is that it’s still at the FDA for full review. Safe to say the FDA is swamped these days. There’s a lot of people working on things related to COVID-19, let alone all the usual things that get brought to the FDA. We’re hopeful this will be approved fairly soon. Maury Gallagher, who was our partner and funder on this, owns Allegiant Airlines and is also the named Allegiant football stadium in Las Vegas where the Raiders play, the ones that used to be the Oakland Raiders and are now located in Las Vegas. So, the pandemic hit literally that week when the stadium was supposed to open and so you had an airline company and a football stadium both hit with the pandemic. He looked at this as there’s gotta be a better way we can do this to keep everybody safe and healthy. I really do think this can provide this type of opportunity. So very happy we were able to be helpful. If you recognize the name it’s because it’s the Maurice Gallagher Graduate School of Management. Same person, so he is an Aggie. 

TCA: I just want to go back to the data breach issue real quick. As far as I’m aware, every single member of our Editorial Board now has their data on the dark web after we initiated the Experian service. I don’t know if it impacted more student employees. Obviously, it’s not a representative sample of the campus but it is a bit odd that all nine of us have had that happen. So, I’m just wondering why UC affiliates only get one year of free Experian service and if you know whether or not the service will be extended for who’s data has been found to be breached. 

Gary May: Let me just say a couple of things. First, it’s highly likely your information was on the dark web before this breach. Mine is as well. It’s not a small fluff. There are many ways that miscreants get data and put it out on the dark web. As to whether we will extend the Experian protection, that’s really a decision for the office of the president. I know that they are thinking about that. They’re also thinking about making it a normal benefit of employment and being a UC affiliate, so that you automatically get this when you become part of the UC. That hasn’t happened, it’s just something being discussed and considered. I would not be overly distraught about your social or something else being on the dark web because it’s pretty common. […] It’s highly likely that the credit protection that you get with the standard credit card protection will keep you protected. So make sure you pay attention to those texts that could be annoying but helpful. 

TCA: What advice do you have for incoming freshmen and transfer students next fall as well as students who may not have been on campus this past year? 

Gary May: Well I’d tell students to try and get acclimated or reacclimated quickly, learn where your resources are, in terms of academic resources as well as facilities, mental health and all things that you might need to be successful. Join an organization, make some friends, have some fun, all those sorts of things. 

Mary Croughan: I’m going to go with Rocko’s thing. Go to athletic events. You can actually go now to many things and I just enjoy being back in person with friends and family and people you care about in your life. 

Gary May: Take a selfie with the chancellor.

Michael Sweeney: We have over 800 student clubs and 50 plus sports clubs. Join a club, participate in activity, get out and enjoy being an Aggie. 
Transcribed by: The Editorial Board

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