March 16: Faculty & Staff Update from the President

Dear Faculty & Staff:

We’re in a new world as this new week begins – a difficult moment with tensions and worries we haven’t known before.

In ways we can’t fully predict, these trying, historic times will test our mettle. Some of you have relatives who are older and medically vulnerable. Others have children who can’t go to school, and are struggling to figure out how to continue their education. Perhaps you can’t see friends or family members who are caught up in precautionary isolation.

All of us are confronted with the anxiety of not knowing what’s next.

Still, our community is already reinforcing itself through profound concern and tireless dedication that illustrates exactly how we are going to pull through this coronavirus pandemic:


I stand with you in deep respect, admiration, and gratitude for the strength you’re all showing every day. You have my unwavering pledge that CalArts will act with compassion and care for everyone in the community as this crisis unfolds.

For our faculty and staff members, that means we’re devoted to taking every step possible to maintain financial stability and predictability, and to accommodate each employee’s unique logistical, familial, and personal circumstances. In practical terms, I’m urging everyone who can work from home to do so.

This guidance is not a mandate, but I deliver it with strong encouragement. Staying home, if you can, is an important way to foster social distancing and discourage the virus’ further spread. That said, please talk with your supervisor and Human Resources to explore your individual options before putting any arrangements in stone.

For those of you who – like me – simply can’t work at home: I am with you in solidarity. We will continue to use the best possible precautions as we come to campus, we’ll support one another, and we’ll weather this as CalArtians.

None of us has seen anything of this magnitude in our lives. The ambiguity of these days brings us angst. And the only way to navigate that angst is to care for one another, to watch over one another, to reach out, and stay in touch.

Much of that care also comes in the form of hard work – work that sustains our community and lets us keep living the goals we’ve laid out for ourselves. As many of you set up shop at home, we need your good work now more than ever. We need you to innovate and improvise, to nourish your creativity and bolster your productivity, to stay focused and vigilant.

For those who haven’t worked from home before… you might discover it isn’t easy. We’ll be sending out pointers about how to best handle this on email soon.

I know I’m asking a lot. Our lives have changed in what feels like an instant, and it keeps changing. It isn’t often in human events that we’re tapped to overcome anything like this.

But as tough as these days have become, we have to keep in mind that this crisis will end. Our capacity to persevere is extraordinary. Through our togetherness now, recovery will come.

Be well – and be strong.

With gratitude,