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COVID-19 (coronavirus) guidance for remote teaching

Announcement

June 10, 2020

Subject: UCR Senate Chair support for June 10 Strike for Black Lives

Dear Senate Colleagues:

As a growing national and global movement builds mass consciousness around the anti-Black violence of policing, the university remains a necessary and crucial site of engagement. I am using my platform as your Divisional Senate Chair to express my solidarity with today’s national university based action, the Strike for Black Lives. This one day strike has circulated under the social media hashtags #Strike4BlackLives, #ShutDownAcademia, and #ShutDownSTEM. A number of prominent national academic organizations have endorsed today’s action, including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see their statement below).

A complete description of the action and its organizers appears here: https://www.shutdownstem.com. Its call to action reads, in part,

In the wake of the most recent murders of Black people in the US, it is clear that white and other non-Black people have to step up and do the work to eradicate anti-Black racism. As members of the global academic and STEM communities, we have an enormous ethical obligation to stop doing “business as usual.” …Our responsibility starts with our role in society. In academia, our thoughts and words turn into new ways of knowing. Our research papers turn into media releases, books and legislation that reinforce anti-Black narratives. In STEM, we create technologies that affect every part of our society and are routinely weaponized against Black people. Black academic and Black STEM professionals are hurting because they exist in and are attacked by institutional and systemic racism. Black people have been tirelessly working for change, alongside their Indigenous and People of Color allies. For Black academics and STEM professionals, #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is a time to prioritize their needs— whether that is to rest, reflect, or to act— without incurring additional cumulative disadvantage. Those of us who are not Black, particularly those of us who are white, play a key role in perpetuating systemic racism. Direct actions are needed to stop this injustice. Unless you engage directly with eliminating racism, you are perpetuating it. This moment calls for profound and meaningful change. #ShutDownAcademia and #ShutDownSTEM is the time for white and non-Black People of Color (NBPOC) to not only educate themselves, but to define a detailed plan of action to carry forward. Wednesday June 10, 2020 will mark the day that we transition into a lifelong commitment of actions to eradicate anti-Black racism in academia and STEM. We join with members of Particles for Justice in calling for a #Strike4BlackLives.

I personally encourage and support any of you who wish to similarly support the Strike for Black Lives to do so.

Peace
dylan

June 1, 2020

Subject: For Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Tyisha Miller

Dear Senate Colleagues:

It seems profane to be writing a note that attempts to express a sense of universal outrage over the police killings of Breonna Taylor in Kentucky, George Floyd in Minnesota, and Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. Frankly, i am unsure in these days that such outrage is even remotely universal, and i am unprepared to offer such a declaration.

Rather than make such a gesture, i wish to humbly but unapologetically state that the context of the nationwide rebellions cannot be reduced to these three incidents, or even a dozen incidents of anti-Black police violence. Such casualties at the hands of state power are a systemic, institutionalized historical fact of American life that are experienced differently-radically so-by people in the extended UCR community, whether students, staff, faculty, or administrators. It is worth recalling that our campus is mere blocks from the scene of Tyisha Miller’s killing at the hands of Riverside Police Department officers in 1998-a trauma that has continued to define many Black students' and coworkers' collective experiences of UCR and Riverside more generally.

I write today to honor those who are continually working to confront and abolish this state violence, many of whom are among UCR faculty, staff, and students. Such historical moments as the one we are living amplify the need for rigorous, critical, community-accountable scholarship, activism, and teaching that radically challenges these dominant and oppressive systems of institutional power.

Peace with justice
dylan

COVID-19: Instructional Continuity Guidance

April 2, 2020 - "Zoombombing" and revised Spring virtual office hours

Dear Senate Colleagues:

I write to announce a revision to my virtual office hours for Spring 2020. I will hold open Zoom sessions for anyone who wishes to drop in on Tuesdays from 9-10 am, through the Spring Quarter. Our conversations will be secure, one-on-one meetings. Just use this link

I am also writing to bring our collective attention to the unwelcome surge in the "zoombombing" of virtual classrooms around the world. Zoombombing—the intrusion on videoconference classes by uninvited and unwanted users—takes the form of racist, anti-Black, misogynist, homophobic, transphobic, Islamophobic, and xenophobic abusiveness that creates significant distress for students and teachers.

While there are some measures we can take as faculty to prevent or minimize the possibility of such disruptions (see this link), it may be helpful to address this matter in open conversation with our students and each other. I urge you to refuse to “privatize” any such incidents: report them to your department chairs and deans, talk to your colleagues to build awareness about what’s going on, and please feel free to reach out to me as well.

I look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Peace
dylan

March 17, 2020 - Senate Chair office hours (on Zoom), research curtailment, and more
March 14,2020 - Get your stuff this weekend: Campus ordered closed March 16-April 3
March 13, 2020 - Four Points on Spring 2020 "Remote Learning
March 10, 2020 - Senate follow up on "COVID-19: Important instructional continuity guidance"

Update on COVID-19 contingencies for Senate

March 9, 2020

Dear Senate Colleagues,

I am writing to assure you that the UCR Academic Senate is actively preparing for potential campus contingencies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m sure you have been paying close attention to this serious, constantly changing global health crisis. As UC campuses in Northern California begin to seriously consider the possibility of temporary closures, we must prepare for the possibility that our campus may be doing the same very soon.

While our Senate is navigating unusual and exceptional circumstances on this issue, i would like to offer some basic guidance on how i am asking our Senate committees to approach their work in the event that the campus temporarily shuts down.

Some committees find it perfectly reasonable and efficient to periodically carry out their work through email discussion and decision making. On matters that are not of extremely high confidentiality, this practice may need to expand a bit, to whatever degree the committees and their leadership deem it appropriate.

The Senate has generally not encouraged or sanctioned videoconference meetings--Skype, Zoom, and the like. This is because the matters discussed in committees are often of high sensitivity and utmost confidentiality. Security can be very easily compromised, usually involuntarily or unintentionally, when using videoconference technology. Further, Senate leadership has consistently expressed concern that allowing individual committee members to participate in meetings through videoconference might well undermine the coherence and integrity of their committees in the long run. As many of us have expressed in relation to online learning, there is no substitute for face-to-face interactions, especially when dealing with complex, challenging, or contentious matters.

Yet, the unusual circumstances of the COVID-19 pandemic compel some temporary flexibility in the Senate’s approach to committee meetings. The Senate analysts working with committees will contact committee members in the coming days to provide options for utilizing videoconference technology (Zoom) in the event of a temporary campus closure. If the campus shuts down, i encourage committees to utilize this technology to hold committee meetings that do not involve highly confidential exchange of information on personnel files, faculty grievances, and so forth.

We must be highly selective and judicious about the use of such meeting technology in regard to the sensitive discussions of our Committees on Academic Personnel, Charges, Privilege and Tenure, and others whose agendas may include discussions and decisions that must be kept in the highest confidence. Thus, on such matters, i would like to offer the general guidance that these committees do their best to refrain from discussions and decision-making during any potential campus closure, with highly specific exceptions to be decided by the committee Chairs in conversation with committee members and analysts, and perhaps with me if they think it would be helpful.

These highly specific exceptions would be made in instances where the matters at hand are so urgent that any delay of deliberation and action would compromise our colleagues’ (personal and/or professional) well-being and/ or the fundamental integrity and credibility of the committee’s work.

(One example of such a highly exceptional instance would be in the case of a personnel action that had direct implications for a faculty retention or appointment—that is, a personnel action that was not otherwise typical.) I trust the judgment of the committee chairs, analysts, and members to determine their approach, and will be readily available to discuss these decisions if committees need my input or analysis.

Finally, in order to sustain our Senate’s work in the event of a temporary campus closure, i ask that all committee members pay close attention to their email for communication from committee chairs and analysts. We must act decisively and urgently in response to this spreading health crisis, while simultaneously fulfilling our responsibilities to the Shared Governance process.

Peace
Dylan Rodriguez
Chair of the Riverside Division of the Academic Senate

Riverside Division Meetings

The following meetings will be held at 1:00pm in Genomics Auditorium, Room 1102A:

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