Education

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Humboldt State Contending with $20 Million Budget Shortfall

Posted By on Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 2:49 PM

Humboldt State's Founders Hall. - FILE
  • FILE
  • Humboldt State's Founders Hall.
Contending with a projected $20 million budget shortfall, Humboldt State University is putting finishing touches on its spending plan — with reductions to be spread over the next two years — and more details are expected to be released in August.

HSU’s budget director Amber Blakeslee writes in a letter to the campus community that progress is being made “on stabilizing its financial position” and the university is “actively working with entities across campus to ensure we have the resources to deliver a quality educational experience for our students in the face of immense uncertainty and changing circumstances.”

The letter notes HSU has received nearly $6 million in federal funding through one-time infusions from the CARES Act and Minority Serving Institution Program to offset the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Blakeslee also states that “$7.5 million in spending has been reduced through a combination of strategies” and an early retirement program is still accepting applications until Monday.

On a small upside, Blakeslee reports cuts to the California State University system in the state budget are slightly less than those proposed in the governor’s May revise — 7.5 percent compared to 10 percent.

“If the state receives additional federal stimulus funding (we should have additional information in the September/October time frame), we may receive one-time relief in the upcoming year,” the letter states. “Next week, we anticipate receiving notification about HSU’s 2020-21 state appropriation, which is one of the final pieces needed to solidify the 2020-21 budget.”

Read the letter from HSU budget director Amber Blakeslee:

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Friday, July 10, 2020

COVID-19: Humboldt County Schools Weigh Reopening Plans Amid Funding Threat, T-S Reports

Posted By on Fri, Jul 10, 2020 at 11:43 AM

Eureka City Schools' main office. - FILE
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  • Eureka City Schools' main office.
The Times-Standard is reporting that Humboldt County schools are weighing their reopening options and plans as the 2020-2021 school year approaches. 

Read the full story here.
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Thursday, July 9, 2020

California AG and State Public Education Leaders Sue Trump Administration for Policy that Requires International Students to Take In-Person Classes or Risk Deportation

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 5:42 PM

The California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley, and California State University Chancellor Timothy White announced that the State of California is filing a lawsuit against the Trump Administration's "unlawful policy that threatens to exacerbate the spread of COVID-19 and exile hundreds of thousands of college students studying in the United States through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)."

According to the release, on July 6, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), which oversees SEVP, announced the agency would formally issue a policy that will disqualify students from SEVP for taking classes entirely online during the COVID-19 pandemic. For those enrolled in SEVP with no in-person classes available, ICE’s only guidance to students was to either leave the country or transfer to another program.

"Shame on the Trump Administration for risking not only the education opportunities for students who earned the chance to go to college, but now their health and well-being as well,” said Attorney General Becerra in the release. “Today, President Trump appears set to do just that — amidst a global pandemic of historic proportions. Not on our watch. No one graduates more students from college or assembles a more talented and diverse group of future leaders than California. Today’s lawsuit rests on America’s enduring principle that everyone who works hard and plays by the rules can earn a chance to get ahead. We'll see the Trump Administration in court."

Read the full release below. 

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Newsom Appoints Yurok Education Department Director Jim McQuillen to State Board of Education

Posted By on Thu, Jul 9, 2020 at 4:49 PM

On Monday, July 6, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Yurok Education Director Jim McQuillen (left) to the State Board of Education. - SUBMITTED
  • Submitted
  • On Monday, July 6, California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Yurok Education Director Jim McQuillen (left) to the State Board of Education.
Gov. Gavin Newsom has recently appointed Yurok Education Department Director Jim McQuillen to the California State Board of Education.

“I am honored to receive this appointment by Governor Newsom,” McQuillen said in a release. “In this role, I will continue to advocate for our native students and for all students to receive equitable educational services.”

According to the release, McQuillen is the first Yurok Tribe citizen to serve on the board, which is the state's K-12 policy-making body for academic standards, curriculum, instructional materials, assessments and accountability. 

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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Humboldt Area Foundation Matches Donations to Support HSU's Dreamers

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 3:54 PM

FILE
  • FILE
The Humboldt Area Foundation helped raise more than $20,000 to provide emergency financial support to Humboldt State University's California Dream Act students amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Throughout June, all donations in support of HSU Dreamers were doubled with a matching grant of $10,000 from HAF's COVID-19 Regional Response Fund.

For more information, see the full press release from HSU copied below:

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Humboldt State Fine-Tuning Reopening Plans

Posted By on Wed, Jul 8, 2020 at 12:45 PM

Humboldt State University - FILE
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  • Humboldt State University
Humboldt State University released updates today on its plans for the fall semester, which include limiting the number of people on campus to about 30 percent of normal and a hybrid model that melds virtual learning with in-person instruction for some classes.

Residence halls are also expected to operate at half capacity with single occupancy rooms for up to 1,000 students, according to HSU.

According to a news release, several teams have been formed to prepare for the campus’ next steps and a reopening website is being created.

At this time, HSU is offering 311 course sections of 151 distinct courses with an in-person component. The schedule can be found here and will be updated throughout the summer, the release states.

“All courses with a face-to-face component will incorporate virtual teaching and learning in the first two weeks of the semester to allow for quarantine of those traveling to campus, if necessary,” the release states. “HSU will also develop an ‘HSU Standards of Social Responsibility,’ a set of safety and health standards primarily designed for students coming to Humboldt County from other regions.”

Meanwhile, a “repopulation plan” is being fine-tuned. The campus remains closed to the public.

“This plan takes a phased approach for the safe return of students, faculty, and staff. It outlines the process of bringing back essential employees and prioritizes the reopening of services,” the release states. “More information on the process will be provided in future communications.”

According to the university, more detailed information will be released in the coming weeks.

Read the full HSU release below:

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Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Current, Former Staffers Call Out Dell'Arte on Equity

Posted By on Wed, Jun 24, 2020 at 2:39 PM

In an open letter to Dell'Arte International shared on social media titled "Collective Response to Dell'Arte International," nine current and former staff members of the theater school call out what they say is a leadership that "cannot competently lead the organization in matters related to Equity." The post says this has created "an unsafe environment for BIPOC, and has caused POC and ally staff members to face hostile work conditions, fear, retaliation, constructive terminations, and mental and physical stress every time we have voiced concerns."

VIA FACEBOOK
  • Via Facebook
As with a number of similar public critiques nationally, the open letter was sparked by a public statement from Dell'Arte International in support of Black Lives Matter and Black and Indigenous people of color that the current and former staff members saw as less than genuine in the context of their own experiences with the organization.

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Sunday, June 21, 2020

Humboldt State's Robotics Camp Returns This July

Posted By on Sun, Jun 21, 2020 at 12:12 PM

Humboldt State University announced that its popular summer Robotics Camp will return this July.

A press release from HSU News & Information stated the STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) - oriented camp for students entering eighth and ninth grades will be held virtually this year, using videoconferencing.

The camp runs July 20-24 and July 27-30 during the afternoon.

Read more about the Robotics Camp below:

Robot Kits and STEAM Skills with HSU’s Robotics Camp

Humboldt State University’s popular summer Robotics Camp returns this July!

To inspire students and foster interest in STEAM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), HSU’s Robotics Camp introduces students who are entering eighth and ninth grades to programming and various other STEAM disciplines through fun, age-appropriate activities. The goals are to learn programming skills and spark a life-long passion for learning.

“Developing and supporting a love of STEAM at an early age is important,” says Computer Science instructor David Marshall. “STEAM knowledge is not just about studying a STEAM subject in school. Almost everything we are doing now and will be doing in the future will include a component of STEAM.”
Each participant this summer will receive a Makeblock mBot Ranger kit (see video). Students will work in teams of two using videoconferencing to build the kit and solve robot challenges.

The camp runs July 20-24 and July 27-30 during the afternoon. Cost is $300. Participants will work from home and will need a Windows computer and network connection. To register and for more information, visit camps.humboldt.edu or contact Molly Pucillo at molly.pucillo@humboldt.edu. 
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Wednesday, June 17, 2020

HSU Independent Review of UPD 'Uncovered Organizational Issues' Within the Department

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 7:20 PM

The Office of Independent Review group completed its independent review of the University Police Department and allegations against then Chief of Police Donn Peterson and Lt. Melissa Hansen and found "there were broader problems within the department that need to be addressed," including communication and leadership at all levels, internal division, and organizational dysfunction."

Last October, UPD officers cast a "vote of no confidence" toward Peterson, which is a public statement of dissatisfaction with the chief.

UPD officers also accused Peterson of violating labor laws, manipulating crime statistics, excessive absenteeism as well as creating a hostile work environment, including making racist remarks.

The review found that the allegation of manipulating crime statistics didn't occur, "... We concluded that the allegation of manipulation of crime statistics was unfounded, meaning that the information we gathered during our investigation indicated that the alleged act did not occur," the report states.

As to the allegation of making racist remarks, the OIR found the allegations to be “not sustained.”

According to the report, "A 'not sustained' finding does not mean the allegations were false; it means that there was insufficient corroborative evidence to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the allegations of misconduct occurred. In other words, a 'not sustained' finding means that the investigation disclosed insufficient evidence to either sustain the complaint or fully exonerate the employee."

“I see this as an important time and opportunity,” Vice President for Administration and Finance Doug Dawes, whose areas of responsibility include the police department, said in a release. “We strive for constant improvement in every process and effort on campus, and the OIR Group uncovered organizational issues within the University Police Department that very much need attention.”

Read the full press release and report below.
HSU Commits to Broad Review and Changes in Police Department

An extensive review of alleged misconduct within the University Police Department has been completed by an outside investigative group, the OIR Group (Office of Independent Review), which concluded that one alleged act did not occur while others lacked sufficient corroborative evidence and were “not sustained.”

At the same time, the OIR Group concluded there were broader problems within the department that need to be addressed. These include communication and leadership at all levels, internal division, and organizational dysfunction.

Based on the findings, the University will be undertaking an effort to address the issues and make improvements. This will be guided by additional outside review as well as leadership from Interim Police Chief Christina Lofthouse. It will take into account recent calls for changes in police practices that are being made across the country, and include implementation of the recommendations of The President's Task Force on 21st Century Policing, reported to President Barack Obama in May 2015. (See: Pledge from CSU Police Chiefs)

“I see this as an important time and opportunity,” said Vice President for Administration and Finance Doug Dawes, whose areas of responsibility include the police department. “We strive for constant improvement in every process and effort on campus, and the OIR Group uncovered organizational issues within the University Police Department that very much need attention.”

The OIR Group’s investigation involved more than 35 hours of interviews on campus, including every member of the University Police Department. They also conducted reviews of documentary evidence.

In the summary of their findings, OIR Group concluded: “While we found that the UPD generally provides effective public safety services to its academic community, interpersonal conflict and poor communication has created dysfunction from within. Our reporting to the University provided insight into the underpinnings of that conflict so that University leadership could use available tools to remediate and repair that divide and facilitate a climate of effective communication and respect.”

The University contracted with OIR Group following serious allegations about the former Police Chief Donn Peterson and Lieutenant Melissa Hansen, by members of the police department. OIR was asked to look at the allegations as well as any related complaints and matters. While the alleged acts were determined to have either not occurred or to have lacked sufficient corroborative evidence, the months-long process revealed the larger issues that the University is now seeking to address.

“This review has been very revealing and speaks to several areas, at all levels and by all officers, that warrant significant action,” said HSU President Tom Jackson, Jr. “It’s vital that we understand any issues in our police department. I’ve been very clear that I expect to see immediate and clear steps taken to begin resolving these issues."

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Two Feathers Native American Family Services Hosting Virtual Conference: 'Walking the Red Road Together'

Posted By on Wed, Jun 17, 2020 at 3:06 PM

Two Feathers Native American Family Services is hosting a virtual conference geared toward native youth that will focus on substance abuse prevention and early intervention.

“The goal of the conference is to bring awareness to ways of healing and thriving in Native communities. This often means preventing substance abuse in our communities," Virgil Moorehead Jr. Behavioral Health director with Two Feathers said in a release. 

The conference is free and open to the public. It will run from June 22-26 from noon to 1 p.m. on Facebook live. (Click here.)

Read more about the conference below.
Two Feathers Native American Family Services is hosting a virtual conference entitled, “Walking the Red Road Together.” The event is geared to Native youth and will focus on substance abuse prevention and early intervention. It is free and open to the public and will run from 12pm-1pm June 22-26th on Facebook live. www.facebook.com/2FeathersNAFS/

Each lunchtime discussion will feature a different Native guest speaker with the event culminating on Friday, June 26th with a youth panel. The entire event was organized by the Native college mentors at Two Feathers. According to Dr. Virgil Moorehead Jr., Behavioral Health Director with Two Feathers, “the goal of the conference is to bring awareness to ways of healing and thriving in Native communities. This often means preventing substance abuse in our communities.”

One of the organizers of the event, Chris Shaw is a Yurok Tribal Member and mentor at Two Feathers-NAFS. Chris said, “Much of what we are doing at Two Feathers-NAFS is providing youth with opportunities and hope so they can develop into balanced, whole adults. We believe our Native culture is prevention. This conference will highlight Native people who have struggled but are now positive role models. It's about showing what is right with Native communities, which is often found in our cultural traditions."

Here's a brief look at the scheduled speakers:

Monday June 22: Mike Duncan is an enrolled member of Round Valley Indian Tribes. His tribal heritage is Maidu/Wailaki /Wintun and Western Band Shoshone. In 2012 Mike Duncan founded Native Dads Network and is currently the CEO of the 501c3 non-profit. Since 2009 Mike has facilitated the “Fatherhood/Motherhood is Sacred” curriculum with great success and has helped create a network of Fatherhood/Motherhood groups in Northern California. He has worked in urban and rural tribal communities conducting workshops discussing topics such as Fatherhood/Motherhood is Sacred, Historical Trauma, and Healthy Relationships.

Tuesday June 23: Edward Gusto Bowie Sr is a Bear River Band of the Rohnerville Rancheria Tribal Member. Mr. Bowie’s maternal Great Grandparents are ‘aa-wok Ada Baldwin Masten (Hupa) and David Masten (Hupa & Yurok). His paternal Great Grandparents are James Moon (Redwood creek), James Bowie (Hupa) and Caroline Wright (Wiyot). Mr. Bowie comes from a large family of six siblings that include four brothers and two sisters. In Mr. Bowie’s 43 years of life, he has overcome many obstacles that have been placed in his path. Some of those obstacles, he created himself while others, he was inherently born into. Through these choices and obstacles, he has grown to be a better person. Mr. Bowie is a proud father of five beautiful children.

Wednesday June 24: Robbie Lara. Hupa tribal member, Northwestern California Graduate of Haskell Indian Nations University and Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute. Lara is employed with United Indian Health Service as a substance abuse counselor. She has cultural experience in beading, basket making, fishing, gathering, gardening and is a practitioner of traditional healing. Her life goal is to help people suffer less. Her vision is to create a wellness program for local Natives incorporating Native culture.

Thursday June 25: Frank Waln is an award-winning Lakota Hip Hop artist, music producer and performer from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. As a Gates Millennium Scholar, he received a BA in Audio Arts and Acoustics from Columbia College Chicago and he has been featured in numerous media outlets including ESPN, The Fader, MTV and many more. Frank travels sharing his music and story with communities to educate and inspire Native and non-Native people through performances, keynotes and workshops. To be Lakota means to be a good relative. As a Lakota artist, Frank Waln uses his art to encourage others to be better relatives, to each other, to the land and to ourselves.

Friday June 26: Youth Panel interviews. Local Native college students (mentors at Two Feathers) will be interviewing local Native high school students.

The mission of Two Feathers Native American Family Services is to inspire healthy and balanced Native American communities in Humboldt County. To achieve that goal, they work with Native American children and families in a good way which includes using culturally based interventions that promote holistic health and developing respectful collaborations with both Native and Non-Native agencies. For more information please visit the Two Feathers web site, www.twofeathers-nafs.org or Facebook page, twofeathersnafs.
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