UC President's letter to campuses: what's missing?

MERCED (BLJ) -- As the second possible case of Covid-19 is reported at the University of California, Merced, and the campus awaits the test results, we found this letter from UC President Janet Napolitano to the campuses. Absent from the letter is any concern for the populations that surround the campuses, and there is no thought that a vector for the infection are likely to include UC students, and other members of the "UC community." But read the letter below with the knowledge that the state of California now provides only about 10-percent of UC's annual budget.

As of yesterday evening, if the public has accurate information, we are awaiting the results of 15 or 16 tests,  two of them identified as UC Merced students.

The population of the county is 257,000. The roughly 90 tests alluded to by county health department staff do not make a meaningful sample. But at least we now know that the "screening" by the health department of people, particularly vulnerable people, who have symptoms, particularly some but not all, is a bogus coverup: they don't have the tests and do everything they can to avoid telling us that.

It goes without saying but must be said over and over again that these tests, like all other scarce goods in the US, are rationed according to privilege as in all other Third World countries.



Office of the President, University of California

Letter from UC President Janet Napolitano to the UC community

UC Office of the President Tuesday, March 17, 2020


University of California President Janet Napolitano today (Mar. 17) sent the following letter to the UC community about COVID-19:

To the UC community:

The spread of the COVID-19 virus across the world and here in California is causing understandable concern across the University. First, I want to assure you that UC leaders are monitoring this situation closely, and that we are doing everything we can to protect our students, faculty, staff, medical center patients and campus visitors. The health, safety and well-being of the University community is our top priority.

Our campuses and the UC Office of the President have made alternative arrangements and provisions to enable students and employees to reduce the risk of community spread by minimizing face-to-face interactions, reducing commuting and travel, and enabling social distancing. On Monday, March 16, seven Bay Area counties announced “shelter-in-place” orders, and the UC Office of the President in Oakland is closed at least until April 7. This week, the UC Board of Regents meeting will also be held as a teleconference.

We also want to ensure that our employees are financially secure through this crisis. Yesterday, I issued updated guidance outlining expanded paid administrative leave to address the extraordinary demands placed on UC employees and their families due to COVID-19. The executive order makes all employees eligible to receive a one-time allotment of up to 128 hours of paid administrative leave to be used no later than December 31, 2020, based on certain conditions.

I know many of us feel anxious about these fast-moving developments, but I encourage everyone to remain calm yet vigilant. You can find detailed information about UC’s systemwide response to COVID-19 and other helpful resources here. This includes links to campus-specific information, the latest travel advisories, guidance tailored to UC faculty and staff, updated guidance on expanded paid administrative leave, and frequently asked questions about the virus. You can also find tips here from a UCSF psychologist on how to stay clearheaded amid coronavirus anxiety.

I also want to recognize our exceptional UC employees — at our campuses, medical centers, laboratories and the Office of the President — who are working tirelessly to prevent and respond to both confirmed and suspected illnesses, and to ensure that critical UC operations continue as smoothly as possible. I’d like to thank everyone in the UC community who has helped us transition to working and studying remotely. These are unusual circumstances for many of us, and I greatly appreciate everyone’s flexibility, cooperation, understanding and patience as we work through the many issues associated with this uncertain situation.

This is a difficult time, but remember that the University of California is a resilient and caring community. We take on big challenges every day, and we use facts and science to guide our actions. Stay calm and informed. Take care of yourself, your families and your community. Together, we will weather this crisis.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano
University of California