Nov. 6, 2018
Dear Campus Community,
The violent events of recent weeks have been painful and sad for our country. Racism and anti-Semitism whether in Kentucky, Pennsylvania or closer to home are distressing and disturbing. Our hearts are heavy for the victims of the recent unspeakable violence. We grieve along with their families and the members of these targeted communities. When anyone is attacked because of their race, religion, ethnic background, gender or sexual orientation, we are all in danger.
At Sonoma State, we pride ourselves on being a caring community. When some within our Sonoma State community, including members of our immigrant, black, Jewish and LGBTQI communities, are left more fearful than ever, it is important for us to show our support and understanding. Sonoma State University values, protects and supports all members of our campus community. We must not accept nor tolerate bigotry. In particular, I want to reiterate our support for our transgender and non-binary students, staff, faculty and alumni who have been the target of recent proposed federal policy changes regarding the legal definitions of gender.
If you are feeling fearful, angry or any other difficult emotion, please know that Sonoma State has many resources to support and assist you. Students many reach out to Counseling and Psychological Services, and faculty and staff may seek confidential support at Human Resources.
These are troubling times, but we must remain hopeful. We must each do our part to ensure a brighter future. Let’s reach out to those who are different from ourselves—those of a different faith, ethnic background or sexual orientation. Let’s share ideas and talk openly. Let’s get to know one another. Let’s work hard to listen and truly hear one another. After all, we are a university community, committed to an open exchange of ideas, discourse and discussion. And, we are Sonoma State Seawolves committed to integrity, respect, excellence and responsibility.
Today, I urge you to exercise your civic responsibility and right to vote. Many important local, state and national races and ballot measures will be decided in today’s General Election. Polls will be open until 8 p.m. Student Involvement in the Division of Student Affairs is providing a shuttle service to local voting precincts where you can cast your ballot. The service will be available from noon to 2:30 p.m. today. Meet at the circle by the flagpoles. If you have a mail-in ballot, make sure it is postmarked today. Every vote and every voice counts!
Please join me in welcoming three new SSU staff members. Sarah Clegg, our new director of Title IX and HR Compliance Services, who started on Oct. 22. She comes to us from Kennesaw State University in Georgia where she served as the Equity Specialist and Title IX investigator. David Rhoades, our new Senior Associate Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, most recently was at Pepperdine University where he served as Associate Athletics Director. And Melinda Konya is SSU’s first Athletics Academic Advisor. She joins us from the University of Detroit Mercy where she worked with student athletes in a similar position. Both she and David started with us on Oct. 15. We’re excited to have such talented and experienced staff join our team. Welcome, Sarah, David and Melinda!
Finally, here are some important dates and reminders to put on your calendars.
- The University Art Gallery will be celebrating its 40th anniversary this week with a reception on Thursday, Nov. 8 and opening of a new exhibit honoring the facility’s history as a premiere local venue for modern and contemporary art. The reception will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibit will run until Dec. 9.
- The Fall 2018 Budget Forum will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 27 in the Student Center, Ballroom A from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. All students, faculty and staff are invited to attend. We hope to see you there!
- Our year-end campus holiday celebration and luncheon will be held on Thursday, Dec. 6 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Please hold the date and time.
- And speaking of saving dates, please note that we have set the dates for our 2019 Commencement: Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, in Weill Hall at the Green Music Center. For further information, please visit the Commencement website.
With hope and gratitude,
Judy K. Sakaki