CSUF’s idle action and lack of transparency in response to COVID-19 is an affront to what it means to be a Titan family.
By Jiyo Cayabyab
CSUF has had quite the tumultuous year. Starting with a stabbing before fall classes commenced, hate crimes and xenophobic propaganda as a common occurrence, and now the coming of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
The administration responded each time by invoking that we are a ‘Titan family’ who can move past adversity if we stick together and wait for things to blow over.
If you’re going to call us a Titan family, then treat us like one. I would never put my family in harm’s way like the administration has let us down time and again, especially in the wake of COVID-19.
This pattern of a lag on action and a lack of transparent communication flies in the face-value notion of ‘family’ that President Virjee’s emails espouse. Families are supposed to protect and support each other. However, students like yours truly had to pester the university on Twitter to pressure the administration into action to ensure our safety.
i would be lying if i said i was shocked @csuf doesnt care about the health of their students and staff… we had a whole ass murder on campus last semester and they kept us in the dark about it and still had us on campus.
— jiyo (@ysanjiyo) March 11, 2020
So let’s talk about the murder:
I woke up that morning to notifications about news of the murder. Without needing to take a step, I saw the yellow tape through my window. It really looked like a crime scene from my apartment. What transpired after this crime was some of the scariest days I’ve ever experienced at CSUF. We kept on with business as usual, like nothing had happened.
Meanwhile, everyone was thinking the same thing: Why are we at school with a potential killer in our community?
Then there was that hate crime by a fraternity:
Fraternity Phi Sigma Kappa got in trouble for watermarking the N word on their flyer as a joke. This caused even more tension for an institution already structurally hostile to its Black students. The Black Student Union (BSU) held a town hall meeting and issued a list of demands for the school to implement in order to support Black students, faculty, and staff more sincerely and hold the fraternity accountable to their racism.
President Virjee, an alumnus of the frat in question, took his time responding to the incident, and the administration has yet to make good on any of the demands put forth by the BSU.
Now the pandemic:
As COVID-19 became more and more urgent, students, faculty, and staff were left like sitting ducks waiting for a response from the administration. CSUF literally did nothing before following suit after all the other California universities took action.
The excuse was that they needed time to make research-based decisions. But did they really need to wait until it was dangerously close to a confirmed or suspected case in our campus community to take cautious measures into effect?
Why couldn’t the university just take preventative precautions instead? Swifter action and candid communication could have eased the transition to virtual classes and would’ve given the administration time to prepare everyone to adjust to these unprecedented times.
There are students who have been displaced who need support, professors who have to reconstruct their syllabi who need support, university staff who are out of work who need support, and folks who rely on campus resources who need support.
CSUF needs to show they care for their Titan family through tangible actions instead of sappy emails that do little to support our Titan community.
If you want us to feel like a real Titan family—Do something.