Campus Updates for DSA Staff

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Friday, September 11, 2020

The following message was sent to DSA staff from Vice President for Student Affairs Patty Perillo on Friday, September 11.

Dear DSA Colleagues,

I have been wanting to get this note to you all week long. But, what a week it has been!  I do hope you are as well as can be!

As I write, I am keenly aware that today is the 19th anniversary of 9/11 - one of the greatest tragedies in our nation’s history. It was a time when we all came together as a country to help one another and, in our united front and our collective healing, we became a stronger community. Nearly 20 years later, we find ourselves in the midst of another - although very different - global crisis. Like back then, we must all work together to come through this as a stronger community in the end. You are demonstrating that we can do that because we are working together for a healthier campus community. I remain grateful for you!

As I meet with our DSA Response Team daily - a team who is mightily managing this pandemic with care, perseverance and commitment to community, I continue to be amazed and inspired by our divisional colleagues. We never would have been able to move to some in-person instruction without the significant labor of so many in Student Affairs who are deeply invested in the health and safety of our community. At the top of this list are our colleagues in the University Health Center, under the very able leadership of Dr. Sacared Bodison. And, there are many others! Thank you! Thank you so much!

I am also meeting daily with President Pines and other senior leaders to focus on many indicators that help us know - in real time - how our community is faring. We are committed to ensuring the health, well-being, and safety of all members of our community - staff, students, and faculty. As you read yesterday, in President Pines’ communication to our campus, while we will move to in-person instruction we will not change course with what we are doing in Student Affairs. Reservations are still required for Stamp and RecWell, grab and go dining will remain, events will continue to be virtual and the Resident Life guest policy remains in effect. We want to keep activity limited - still - specifically until we can get more test results back from our next testing event beginning on Tuesday, September 15. Please remember to sign-up now! All staff members who are coming to campus prior to Thursday, October 15 must get tested again. All students living on and near campus must get tested again as well. We all must continue to do our part to keep our community safe!

I trust you either attended the Town Hall yesterday, about the financial impact of COVID-19, or read President Pines’ follow-up communication. It is my hope that you will be reminded that we care about you and your well-being and want to do all we can to support you during these complicated and trying times. Our human resource - YOU - is our most precious. Know that I remain invested in serving you in all ways possible.

Amidst all of this, life has its way of moving forward, right? As such, I have some bittersweet news to share. After 32 years on campus, Dr. John Zacker, Assistant Vice President, has decided to retire, effective Friday, October 16. Given his love for this community, he very generously postponed his retirement for several months to help us chart a course through COVID-19 response. Join me in wishing him well, for he has certainly earned this next chapter, and has served us well. Over the next few weeks, I will work with John, his team, and the VPSA Council to collectively consider next steps. 

It is important for me to remain in communication and community with you. As such, join us for the next DSA Town Hall gathering on Tuesday, September 22 from 2:00pm - 4:00pm. During this time we will offer more updates about DSA happenings, COVID-planning, budget implications, and our continued commitment to issues of racial and social justice. Please sign-up now!

I continue to be so grateful for all you are doing. And, I carry you with me as I have a profound sense of all you are carrying. I continue to think about all the ways we can support you, I remain in it with you, and I know that we will get through this together!  

Be well, good people. Have a beautiful weekend!

Patty Perillo, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Affairs

VPSA Message, Staff