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Carol Christ: Plans for the fall semester and changes to our public safety operations

As we head into July, I know that you and your child are eagerly awaiting more information about what Berkeley’s fall 2020 semester will look like. There is too much to share on this topic in a short message, so I strongly encourage you to look at the revamped COVID-19 information hub on the Berkeley web site, which contains detailed and up-to-date information about our fall plans.

Our number one planning principle since the early days of the pandemic has been to protect the health of our campus community. As we look ahead to the coming semester, the need to maintain community health and safety means that our plans may need to be adjusted. The shape of the pandemic continues to change, and so too do the guidance and restrictions issued by our city and state governments and public health authorities. I recognize that this requires you and your child to have a degree of flexibility, patience, and resilience. Please be assured that we are committed to providing the highest quality educational experience, and will do everything possible to support your student’s progress toward a UC Berkeley degree.

Separate from fall planning, many of us have been profoundly affected by the killing of George Floyd in May, other recent instances of police brutality, and what these actions have revealed about the state of race relations in our country. As an institution of higher learning, it is Berkeley’s responsibility to investigate the critical questions facing our society, and I encourage you to read about some of the ways our scholars are examining these issues.

As calls for police reform have swept the country, many of our own students, faculty, and staff have also shared with me their pain, anger, exhaustion, and desire for more accountability in UC Berkeley’s systems of public safety. I invite you to read about the changes we are making to our policing and public safety operations to help ensure that we better and more justly serve our diverse campus population. We cannot rest until we are all satisfied that our institution and its constituent parts are free of racism, bias, and discrimination.

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