Campus update: Mostly in-person instruction returning; commemorating Black History Month; finalizing commencement plans

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cynthia Larive

I offer my gratitude for your continued patience and flexibility as we navigate the twists and turns of this COVID-19 pandemic. More than 60 lab, studio and field courses meet in-person this week, and I am happy to say that we remain on schedule to return to mostly in-person instruction Jan. 31. We anticipate the Omicron surge will have begun its decline by the end of the month, though we know that new cases will continue to occur as we transition to the endemic stage of COVID.

We can all help keep cases in check by making sure our vaccinations remain current including booster shots, wearing high-quality masks, getting tested when necessary, and social-distancing when possible. Our Student Health Center is offering COVID-19 booster shots to students, staff and faculty today and tomorrow, Jan. 20-21, then again next week, Jan. 26-28. Faculty, staff, and students living on campus or in the area can make an appointment through Health e-Messenger. Our Office of Risk Services is partnering with Kaiser to provide an additional booster-shot clinic Sunday, Jan. 23. Those not currently in the area can find locations administering boosters near them by visiting California’s MyTurn website. Remember that it’s vital you get boosted when eligible and upload proof of vaccination by Jan. 31.

We will soon be expanding our Fulgent Testing asymptomatic testing program through a new partnership with UCLA. More details will be available soon, but this is welcome news, allowing us to expand testing sites and increase testing capacity.

The Highlights

  • February is Black History Month
  • Happy Lunar New Year, Slugs!
  • Commencement plans in place
  • Alumni Week to include virtual and in-person events

Commemorating Black History Month

February is Black History Month. It is both a celebration of excellence and an opportunity to amplify community voices. I hope that you will take part in the campus happenings planned for the month and beyond, including:

  • Our African American Theater Arts Troupe, now in its 31st year, will present seven performances of “Da Kink in My Hair.” The shows, with in-person audiences, will be performed on the UCSC Theater Arts Center Mainstage.
  • You’ll see a host of stories on our newscenter next month celebrating Black excellence in our community. Among them is a profile of Professor Karlton Hester, a jazz musician, director of jazz studies in our Music Department, and director of our Digital Arts and New Media program. He also was recently appointed our Art Division’s first-ever Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. Congratulations, Karlton!
  • I’m thrilled to announce that Ruha Benjamin will be our Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation speaker on Feb. 23! She is a sociologist and professor in Princeton University’s Department of African American Studies whose work focuses on the relationship between innovation and equity, particularly at the intersection of race, justice and technology. More details will be posted soon on our convocation website!

Marking the start of Lunar New Year

Feb. 1 this year also coincides with the beginning of what China and other East Asian countries call Spring Festival, which is the start of the Lunar New Year. This coming year will be the year of the Tiger. Our Global Engagement team is putting together a list of campus events that celebrate Lunar New Year, with the schedule posted on their special Lunar New Year webpage. If you have an event you’d like listed, email In the meantime, I wish all who celebrate the holiday good luck, good health, and good fortune. Happy Lunar New Year, Slugs!

Commencement plans for Class of 2022 in place!

Planning is well underway for our Class of 2022 commencement. Many of the details regarding the June 9-12 ceremonies are already posted online, and I encourage anyone with questions to visit our commencement website.

As more students graduate every year, commencement ceremonies have begun to exceed our capacity. To continue to hold commencement on campus (which surveys show is the overwhelming wish of students and the greater campus community) we are keeping the hybrid format that worked so well last year. In short, we are planning the return of Slug Crossing! This stage-crossing opportunity for graduates will be held on campus over a period of several days. We will also hold virtual commencements to ensure Banana Slugs near and far can celebrate this great achievement with family and friends. Each graduate will be able to create a custom slide that will be shown during the online ceremony.

Emails with more details on commencement will go out later this quarter. Email our team at if you have questions in the interim. In the meantime, good luck as we inch closer to this major achievement in your life! It will be here sooner than you think, and I can’t wait to celebrate with our 2022 graduates!

Dates set for Alumni Week 2022

A mix of virtual and in-person events awaits those taking part in Alumni Week 2022, which will run April 19-24. The beginning of the week, Tuesday through Thursday, will feature virtual events, transitioning to more in-person events Friday through Sunday. Watch your inbox for more details or visit the Alumni Week website, which will have additional details posted soon.

Gratitude for your efforts

Finally, I would like to express my gratitude to the many incredible staff and faculty working hard behind the scenes over the past several weeks to keep our operations running. You are dedicated and showing up in an ever-evolving environment, and your efforts should not and do not go unrecognized. In the coming weeks, I hope that all in our SlugStrong community will double down on compassion and caring for one another.