SJSU Looks Ahead to Fall Semester at Recent Adapt Town Halls

An infinity symbol with SJSU Adapt inside the inner circles

The recent town halls are part of the SJSU Adapt plan, a four-phase approach for the continuation of campus operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the past week, San José State outlined how the university plans to adapt to an expected increase of students, faculty and staff on campus in the fall. In December, the California State University announced an anticipated return to delivering courses primarily in person during the fall 2021 semester. 

The SJSU Adapt Town Halls on March 10 and March 16 featured short presentations by President Mary A. Papazian, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs Vincent Del Casino, Jr., and Dr. Barbara Fu, acting medical director of the Student Wellness Center, before shifting to a Q&A format. The Q&A featured questions submitted by attendees prior to the event as well as during the town hall.  

Most of the discussion was focused on fall 2021 courses and repopulation of campus for employees and students, with an emphasis on how the continued progression of the COVID-19 vaccination process plays a role in SJSU’s planning for the fall. 

“We live in a time of flux and fluidity, and we are doing the best we can to plan for fall while also understanding that a lot could change between now and August,” Del Casino said.

Del Casino added that he expects more face-to-face opportunities for learning in the fall while also remaining flexible for students who like learning in an online or hybrid environment. SJSU will continue to closely follow Santa Clara County and state of California public health guidelines as it finalizes the course schedule. 

Joanne Wright, senior associate vice president for University Personnel, said SJSU will not require the COVID-19 vaccination for students, faculty and staff. She added that departments will spend the coming weeks finalizing repopulation plans for employees. 

“Our mission is to educate our students, so as we repopulate, that will be foremost in our minds,” said Wright. “For individual units, the question will be: ‘How do we need to staff to best support our mission given that we anticipate a larger campus population for fall semester?’”

Wright added that some positions may continue telecommuting. SJSU currently has employees working on campus to support the limited on-campus population for the spring 2021 semester. 

To view the town halls in their entirety, visit the SJSU Adapt Town Halls page

SJSU Welcomes Secretary of State Padilla, Other Elected Officials for Election Security Town Hall

President Papazian served as the moderator for the election security town hall panel discussion featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla and U.S Congresswomen Zoe Lofgren and Anna G. Eshoo. Photo: Jim Gensheimer.

President Papazian led off the election security town hall with remarks about the importance of participation in the voting process. Photo: Jim Gensheimer.

San Jose State University will play a major role in the upcoming California primary, and with this month’s Iowa Caucus raising questions about election security, the university hosted a town hall on the topic.

President Mary A. Papazian moderated the election security town hall featuring Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Congresswomen Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) and Zoe Lofgren (CA-19) Thursday at Hammer Theater. Before answering questions from the crowd, Padilla, Eshoo and Lofgren discussed legislation they are working on to stop voter suppression and why it is important for voters to feel like their vote matters.

“Voting may be, in fact, the most fundamental expression of our civic engagement. Educating our students on their civic responsibility and helping to equip them to be engaged in their communities is part of our public mission as educators,” Papazian said. “No matter the topic, San Jose State takes pride in its role as a regional convener of important issues, as a public square and venue where debate and discussion takes place.”

“We all remember what we were feeling on election day and election night in 2016. It was the first time we started hearing consistently words like ‘cyberthreats’ or ‘foreign interference.’ That single election year fundamentally changed, in my mind, the job of a secretary of state,” Padilla said. “I’m so proud of Californians because it would have been easy to give up hope, easy to say ‘well, if the election is going to be hacked, why should I vote anyway.’ How will we respond in 2020? Record registration yet again, and with your help, I am anticipating record turnout. That’s how we resist.”

President Papazian is assisted in cutting the ribbon by Congresswoman Zoe Lofgren. The first voting center in SJSU history will open Saturday, February 22. Photo: Robert Bain.

Before the town hall, Papazian, Padilla, Eshoo and Lofgren were joined by Assemblyman Ash Kalra and Santa Clara County Registrar of Voters Shannon Bushey in celebrating the opening of the voting center on campus with a ribbon cutting. This is the first time SJSU will serve as a voting center.

The center, located on the first floor of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library, will be open from February 22 to March 3. Santa Clara County residents can cast their primary votes in the voting center. SJSU will serve as one of 21 11-day voting center locations in the county.

“This is an exciting year for voter engagement and an important chance to continue the momentum we have seen with increases in youth voter turnout, especially as we take part in a presidential election and transition into a Voter’s Choice Act county,” Kalra said. “It is imperative that we continue to empower and engage young people, which will in turn decrease the disproportional representation in voter turnout and move us toward a more active democracy.”

The voting center will be open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, February 22 to Monday, March 2. On Election Day, March 3, the voting center will be open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

San Jose State also has two 24-hour ballot drop boxes on campus, with one in front of Clark Hall and the other located at Campus Village.

Watch the Election Security Town Hall