Dear Campus Community,
A couple weeks ago, I had planned to start this message differently. I was excited to send just a partial list of amazing campus accomplishments during the past academic year. It’s impressive. The work completed by this community at a time when we have continued to adjust every quarter to new realities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic is nothing short of astounding.
But then, in this month when we remember the murder of George Floyd just two years ago, another form of violence captured our attention when adults and children were killed in a grocery store, a church, and a fourth-grade classroom, as well as many places that didn’t make it into national headlines, including nearby locations.
On May 24, I released a statement on our UC Riverside Twitter account following the shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, indicating that I seem to be out of words. The viciousness of the people who perpetrate these crimes is beyond understanding. Our collective grief keeps finding new bounds somewhere out of reach of the usual adjectives. While violence and hate crimes have peppered the annals of human history, our modern version along with a 24/7 news cycle can feel overwhelming.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I want to directly address the importance of mental health within the UCR community. We know some in our community may feel the impact of recent events more personally. UCR faculty and staff can access support at 866-615-3047. UCR students needing mental health services should call 951-827-5531.
On May 19, Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona hosted a conversation with UCR students spotlighting the mental health support systems we have in place here. Among the reasons to celebrate this event was the intelligence and empathy demonstrated by our students. Their commitment to mental health and the programs we have put in place are inspiring. At a time when there is so much to grieve, our students radiate hope and remind us of our mission.
So, I return to the initial plan for this message. What each of you has been doing to set UCR apart and support our mission is worthy of celebration, even though now is not the time. I will plan to send a partial list of achievements to you in June along with any additional updates.
CHANCELLOR’S OFFICE HOURS
Please join me for the next Staff & Faculty Virtual Open Office Hours on June 7 from 11 a.m.-noon. I’ll provide a brief update and take audience questions. Please register and submit your questions by June 1.
FACULTY AND STAFF GIVING MONTH
Last October, we launched the Beyond Brilliant student initiative to raise funds in support of scholarships, experiential learning, and support systems. May marks Faculty and Staff Giving Month. We invite you to participate by donating to this initiative or any fund on campus. All gifts make a difference. Visit our faculty and staff giving page to learn more.
As we head toward the end of the academic year and graduation, thank you for all you are doing to support one another and our students. Your work makes a difference in the lives of those in our community and beyond our campus boundaries. Thank you.