September 28, 2020

Hello, everyone, and happy Monday.

I may be back in your inboxes this week with specific, time-sensitive updates on some of the ongoing issues impacting our community, from our COVID testing protocols to our current case numbers and the quarantine status of some of our residence halls.  But today I want to speak to something that I know many of us are feeling, in different ways and for different reasons: exhaustion.

We don’t need to look hard for potential sources of physical, mental, and spiritual exhaustion right now.  There’s the ongoing pandemic and the constraints it is imposing on our lives; visceral anxiety about our own health and that of those we love; concerns about our polarized political climate and the upcoming election season; anguish and rage over events unfolding that shine a light on violent racism in our country; alarm over the wildfires raging in our own state and others.  In fact, it would be surprising if most of us didn’t feel worn out.

What we are experiencing right now is more than fatigue, though; it is also grief. We are grieving a way of life we have lost for the foreseeable future.  We are grieving our natural world.  We are grieving men and women still being hurt and killed for no reason besides the color of their skin and in direct violation of all the promises on which our country was founded.

Reflecting on this collective sense of grief, I recognize that I don’t have the perfect words to offer to our CSU community.  And sometimes we hesitate to reach out to others who are grieving because we worry we won’t say the right thing—or worse, say the wrong thing.  But as anyone who has ever grieved knows, there are no perfect words.  What can make a difference is presence and constancy, an affirmation that from others that you are not alone, even on what feels like your darkest road.

I offer that affirmation to all of you right now, on behalf of CSU.  We are here for you, committed to your health and wellbeing, your job security, your education, and our shared future.  In our present moment, I urge you to do whatever feels right to ease your own pain and weariness, no apologies.  I believe in each of you, in your strength and your resilience, and I believe in the grace and optimism of the community we’ve built together.  Thank you all.