Chancellor's Update - June 2020

June 23, 2020
Kim A. Wilcox
June 23, 2020

Dear Campus Community,

Last Saturday, we began summer with the solstice, a day on which people in the Northern hemisphere experience more sunlight than any other day of the year. As one season comes to a close and another begins, I continue to be grateful for your efforts to keep the university moving ahead. Thank you. 

Fall Planning  
We continue to make progress, as over the last few weeks, important progress occurred as we moved through new phases of resuming campus operations. First, research teams began heading back to their labs following guidelines developed by the Research Ramp-up Working Group

Then, last week Tom Smith and I sent out a message summarizing fall instruction plans based on the work of the Instructional Continuity Working Group. In brief, all classes will continue to be available in remote formats at least through fall quarter, and any class that is approved to be offered in-person will accommodate students who cannot attend on-campus with a remote option. 

As working groups develop plans and we enter new phases of operations, we will continue to provide updates via email, virtual meetings, and on the Campus Return website.

Remote Work
For several months, Stay-at-Home orders required most of us to work from home. Now, even as those mandates have been adjusted, all of us who can work from home should continue to do so as a means of reducing community spread COVID-19.

In staff meetings for a broad cross-section of departments, many have asked about current remote arrangements and how it will impact the future of work. Some wonder if there will be more opportunity to work from home. Others want to return to an office. 

In short, we don’t know yet what changes will stick as we continue to adapt during and post-pandemic. There are some areas of campus that will always operate best through a shared work environment. Other functions are best tailored for individual staff preference or benefit from a hybrid approach. One thing we do know is that a tremendous amount of professional activity has taken place on kitchen tables and in virtual conference rooms. 

Whether you are a front line worker who continues to come to campus or someone working from home, a researcher ramping up operations or a faculty member planning for remote classes, thank you for your continued commitment to our mission as we navigate shifts in work spaces and strive to do our part to reduce community transmission of COVID-19. 

State Budget
As we approach June 30, we have been closely monitoring budget negotiations in Sacramento between Governor Newsom and the California State Legislature. A final agreement was reached on Monday, and a final vote is expected later this week. Below are a few highlights of the budget for the next fiscal year. 

  • $25M will be allocated to the UCR School of Medicine for increased enrollment and operations.
  • The 2020-21 budget bills, SB 74 and AB 89, jointly include $3.466 billion for the University of California, of which $3.462 billion is ongoing funding and $3.7 million is one-time. The budget bill package provides the UC with an ongoing funding decrease of $260.8 million, or 7%, from the Budget Act of 2019 at the start of the 2020-21 fiscal year.
  • The proposed cuts would be restored with the passage of additional federal COVID-19 relief to states. 

Given the state’s projected revenue shortfalls, we are grateful that Governor Newsom and our legislative leaders continue to support the mission of our School of Medicine while also knowing that any state budget cuts will cause some pain. We are assessing the overall impact our campus and will continue to provide updates as they are available.  

Budget Town Halls
In order to help prepare for potential financial challenges, and to provide greater detail for our community about our sources of income and expenses, answer questions, and listen to feedback about important considerations during a time of limited resources, we invite you to join us in a budget-focused Town Hall session. 
The leaders of our Budget Advisory Committee will be hosting two sessions to allow maximum participation.

The Budget Advisory Committee is a longstanding campus group that has offered recommendations for budget issues on an annual basis, and in this time is focused on gathering campus feedback to assist with implementation plans to respond to the financial challenges related to COVID-19. 
Sessions will be available on the days and times noted below. 

  • 6/26, 11 a.m.-Noon
  • 6/30, 3-4 p.m.

To request the Zoom link to attend one of the Town Hall sessions, please email 

Further Protecting Our Community
As a reminder, one tool designed to protect the UCR Community and prevent the spread of COVID-19 is a hotline for employees for reporting COVID-19 symptoms or exposure. Below you will find instructions for reporting.

WHO:  Faculty, Staff, Student Interns, and Student Workers

WHERE:  Working On-site at a UCR Property or Remotely

ACTION: Call UCR Employee COVID-19 Hotline to report if you meet any of the conditions below:

CONDITIONS: I have 1) Two or more COVID-19 related symptoms (e.g. Cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, or new loss of taste or smell) 2) Been exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 3) Tested positive for COVID-19  

WHEN: Employees should call within 2 hours of experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, receiving test results, and/or learning of exposure to someone known to have COVID-19

CALL: UCR Employee COVID-19 Hotline | 1.844.827.6827

PLEASE NOTE: Information gathered when calling in does not constitute protected health information under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), however, any information retained is done so in compliance with applicable law(s). The use of information gathered by calling in will not be made a part of the user’s personnel file and will be accessed and utilized on a limited, need-to-know basis.

A New Visual Identity for a New Era
By now you’ve likely noticed the new logo and bold design adorning UCR web pages or other communications. The new UCR visual identity follows a year-long creative development process involving hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and campus supporters. Our blue and gold colors remain while a new rising ray of light motif recalls the UC system motto, “Fiat Lux: Let There Be Light” and familiar UCR sunburst. More background on our new visual identity is available here

A Final Word
Simultaneously, our university is steady and ever-changing. Protests throughout the country in response to the deaths of Black Americans, the removal of statues and other symbols of colonization and enslavement, and the higher mortality rates from COVID-19 among underrepresented groups reinforce the importance of our mission while showing we must continue to do more to combat inequities. 

And, so we take steps forward making informed adjustments along the way. As we advance, thank you for being a part of our journey and helping us move from where we’ve been to what comes next.