December 10, 2017
Dear Campus Community,
The events surrounding the Thomas fire continue to be fluid and the accompanying uncertainty has been extremely frustrating for all of us. Today we have new concerns about power outages that are disrupting campus IT. Combined with confusion around Santa Barbara County’s false late-night evacuation notice and concerns regarding air quality issues and transportation, these concerns have only continued to raise the level of anxiety at an already stressful time. Continuation of scheduled exams has become untenable.
Due to these extraordinary circumstances, final exams scheduled for the coming week will be rescheduled for the week of January 8. We are encouraging all students who wish to leave campus to do so.
Fall quarter has been extended. Winter quarter will now begin on Tuesday, January 16 (as Monday, January 15, is a holiday) and will be reduced by one week. Holiday break will continue as scheduled.
The revised final exam schedule will be posted on the Office of the Registrar website and in Gold on Tuesday, December 12.
The campus will remain open. Student housing, including residence halls and apartments, will remain open as scheduled. We will offer support to students who need assistance. Campus offices will follow up separately with additional information to respond to student questions, including those related to financial aid and course prerequisites.
Campus officials have stayed in close touch with County and fire officials throughout the night and have been assured that the campus remains safely out of the path of this fire. The Red Cross emergency shelter for those evacuated from other areas remains open on campus. Though there is no need to evacuate campus, again, we are recommending that students make arrangements to leave.
We will be monitoring the situation around the clock and will share regular updates.
We know how hard many have worked this quarter – faculty, students, and staff – in preparation for finals, and we will continue to work with faculty on the implementation of this change. Some faculty have already made alternative arrangements instead of the previously scheduled exam, and these arrangements remain in effect.
For students who are leaving today, we understand, at the time of this notice, that Highway 101 is open in all directions, but we urge you to continue to check traffic alerts and state agencies for updates. Additional information will continue to be posted to the ucsb.edu home page.
For staff who may continue to be impacted by the fire, we are continuing the existing policies of curtailing operations for Monday, December 11. We will evaluate operations on a daily basis and communicate with the campus. We also urge managers to communicate with their respective staff about staffing plans.
Again, we deeply regret the stress that this has caused, not just for those on campus, but also for our families here in California, across the country, and for some around the world. It is difficult to manage these circumstances when you have your family and support nearby, but even more difficult when that support is far away. We appreciate that we are all looking out for each other during these challenging times. That’s what our campus has come to be known for – supporting our friends, peers, and colleagues. We have seen it many times this week already and are humbled by the compassion and resilience of our community. Although we know we do not need to state this, we ask that if you know or suspect that someone is struggling or is in need of assistance, please reach out to them, and to us. If you are having trouble, please reach out or take advantage of the resources across campus.
Over the years, we have repeatedly demonstrated our strong community and that we come together in difficult times. We are confident that despite these circumstances we will again prove what it means to be a Gaucho.
Lastly, we would like for our campus to recognize the brave and heroic first responders who have been risking their lives to protect our community. Their continued efforts should not go unnoticed.
Henry T. Yang, Chancellor
Henning Bohn, Chair, Academic Senate
David Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor
Margaret Klawunn, Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs
Joel Michaelsen, Interim Vice Chancellor, Administrative Services
Hieu Le, Associated Students President