Chancellor Update: Returning to campus post-break; additional Kresge housing approved; how to help shape UCSC’s future

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Cindy Larive

Dear Campus Community,

As we mark the end of fall quarter, I offer my congratulations to students graduating and to everyone moving a step closer to achieving your academic goals. I also extend my thanks to our dedicated faculty and staff for your essential contributions to our broad campus effort to advance student success and research excellence, and the vital work you do every day.

I recognize that the past weeks have been challenging for those involved with and impacted by the ongoing systemwide labor strike called by the United Auto Workers. The UAW represents UC academic employee groups in four separate bargaining units: Postdoctoral Scholars, Academic Researchers, Academic Student Employees (teaching assistants/readers/tutors), and Graduate Student Researchers. I was grateful to see the Office of the President and the UAW recently reach tentative agreements with the Postdoctoral Scholars and Academic Researchers and that both contracts have now been ratified. In the meantime, I remain hopeful for a resolution with the remaining two bargaining units.

With finals behind us, I wish everyone a restful and restorative winter break. It is well-deserved.

The highlights

  • Take precautions when returning after winter break
  • Regents approve additional housing at Kresge
  • Campus receives Agriculture Experiment Station designation
  • Community input on strategic planning coming winter quarter

Take precautions when returning after winter break

Campus officials closely follow public-health trends and data. We know our campus experiences spikes in cases of communicable diseases after students and employees return after time away with family and friends, and there’s worry among public health officials nationwide of a “tridemic” come January, with a spike in cases of COVID-19, flu, and respiratory syncytial virus, known as RSV. For that reason:

We strongly encourage you to take a COVID-19 rapid antigen test before returning to campus after winter break. Test kits are available free of charge to students and to faculty and staff at numerous campus locations.
If you test positive, do not return to campus until the isolation period is over.
If you have flu-like symptoms, do not return to campus until your symptoms subside.
If you have yet to get all of your COVID-19 boosters or flu shot, it is important to do so. COVID boosters are especially important. Public health officials anticipate another infection surge this winter and the possible emergence of a new COVID strain. UC, meanwhile, has adopted a flu-vaccine mandate for all students, faculty and staff who learn, live, or work at a UC location. To find off-campus, low-to-no-cost vaccine options, go to

Regents approve plan for additional Kresge housing

Our campus received great news at the November UC Regents meeting, as Phase 2 of our Kresge College renewal project was unanimously approved. The first phase, including three new residence halls with 400 student beds, community rooms, study lounges and a cafe, is well underway, with a projected opening next fall. The revised second phase provides significantly more student housing than what was initially envisioned. When the Kresge renewal project is completed, it will provide 600 more beds than what the college originally held. Our efforts to expand housing at Kresge were greatly helped by the $89 million grant California lawmakers awarded to our campus in the 2022–23 state budget. In addition to subsidizing the additional Kresge housing, this grant will enable the campus to offer lower-cost housing rates to 320 students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is wonderful news. Increasing the amount of campus housing is a critical element in advancing student success.

Campus receives Agriculture Experiment Station designation

UC President Michael Drake shared additional positive news for our campus at the same Regents meeting. UC Santa Cruz is being designated as an Agriculture Experiment Station(AES). We are the first campus, along with UC Merced, to receive this designation in 50 years, joining Davis, Berkeley and Riverside as AES campuses. This designation will allow us to continue building programs and to seek grant funding that will have a broad impact on our research enterprise and on the field of sustainable, regenerative agriculture. The designation should also lead to additional state funding that will help support the research and infrastructure of the Center for Agroecology.

Strategic planning under way

Work on Leading the Change: The UC Santa Cruz Strategic Plan remains on track. The process provides us with a valuable opportunity to develop a shared vision for the future of UC Santa Cruz, one that advances our campus goals of fostering undergraduate and graduate student success, amplifying our research impact, promoting an inclusive climate, and becoming more sustainable and resilient. Our five thematic committees have been working to identify opportunities for improvement and ways to measure progress toward our goals. The committees are now beginning to present the priorities emerging in their work and ask the campus community for input and feedback through a number of mechanisms including an upcoming campus survey. The Climate Change, Sustainability and Resilience and Distinction in Research, Scholarly and Creative Activities committees are together holding a town hall via Zoom 12:30–2 p.m. Dec. 13 to gather input. For more information, email Other committees are expected to hold stakeholder engagements in the winter quarter.

Thank you to all in our community who have been involved with Leading the Change to date. I encourage even wider engagement and input as we enter this feedback stage. Strategic planning succeeds when it reflects a wide range of perspectives. Your voice matters.

As the new year approaches, I am proud of all that we have accomplished together in 2022. I hope that the winter break brings you joy and relaxation, and I look forward to reconnecting in 2023!