President Harrison Q&A: CSUN will announce fall 2020 format on May 18

Orlando Mayorquin and Logan Bik

Here are the main takeaways from this semester’s final Zoom Q&A with President Dianne F. Harrison:

CSUN and CSU system plan to announce fall semester plans on May 18 (14:48)

CSUN and the CSU system will announce plans for the upcoming fall semester on May 18.

Harrison confirmed that the announcement will include a decision on the format of the fall semester. In the past few weeks, Harrison has discussed different format options, including a “hybrid model” which combines both in-person and virtual instruction.

Harrison said that the CSU system and CSUN will also announce details on the budget for the upcoming academic year. The announcements will come four days after Gov. Gavin Newsom is set to announce a revision of the state’s budget. Earlier this week, the state projected a $56.4 billion budget deficit.

Individuals who were ineligible for the CARES Act money should apply to the Matacare grant (0:32)

The university is continuing to raise funds for the Matacare Emergency Grant fund. The application deadline has been extended until May 22. According to Harrison, the minimum unit requirement to be eligible for the grant has been temporarily lifted. Applicants just need to be enrolled and in good academic standing in order to be eligible. This is the primary way that international, online, undocumented, DACA recipients and other students who were excluded from the federal emergency aid can receive the grant.

The restriction that prevents students from receiving the grant more than twice in their time as a CSUN student has also been temporarily lifted.

Harrison said the university is specifically using the Matacare grant to target students who were excluded from the CARES Act money by redirecting applicants who are eligible for the federal money to the application for the grant money.

Harrison said that some excluded students seeking relief are eligible for the State University Grant, a state-funded grant that is open to students who filled out a California Dream Act application.

According to Harrison, there will “probably” be enough funds backing the Matacare grant for the rest of this semester.

More than 15,000 students have applied for the CARES Act relief so far. This is a little less than half of the approximated 33,000 students who are eligible. The priority deadline is May 15, but Harrison said that the university will be flexible in supporting students who are unable to apply by that date. She said that, so far, nearly $11.4 million of the available $22.3 million in grants has been distributed or is pending distribution to students.

According to Harrison, federal student relief funds can continue to be awarded to students until December.

President Harrison still plans on retiring at the end of the fall semester (8:41)

Harrison said that she still plans to retire in December. She was originally set to retire in June, but she postponed her retirement until the end of the fall semester to deal with the pandemic.

Harrison said that CSU Chancellor Timothy White told her that the search for her replacement will recommence in the fall. A search committee was formed to find Harrison’s replacement earlier this semester, but it was temporarily suspended in light of the pandemic. White was set to retire in May, but he also postponed his retirement until after the fall. The search for his replacement will also resume in the fall, according to Harrison.

Harrison said she still hopes to participate in the Class of 2020’s commencement ceremony, even if it is postponed until after she retires.

According to Harrison, the goal is to have the new CSUN president start the job on Jan. 1, but it’s possible they will start later than that date.

CSUN’s census tract has the lowest response rate in Los Angeles, sitting at 3.9%, because most residents moved out of student housing (11:10)

Harrison said that CSUN’s response rate is so low, because the university only reported the number of students who remained in student housing on April 1. The university reported 383 residents. The university asked students to move out because of COVID-19 concerns. More than 3,000 students were living in student housing prior to the pandemic.

The university will reach out to the census to see whether the number of residents it reports is supposed to reflect the number on April 1, or the number of residents prior to COVID-19 related move outs.