December 13, 2017

Dear Members of Our Campus Community,

The events and uncertainty surrounding the Thomas fire continue to be a source of distress for everyone in our campus community – our staff, faculty, students, and families. The fire has affected all of us in so many ways. Our hearts go out to our colleagues and all those who have lost their homes or have been forced to evacuate. Our thoughts also are with those whose lives have been disrupted in other ways.

I am deeply grateful for all the hard work and sacrifice that have gone into keeping our campus open and functioning during these extraordinary circumstances.

Understanding that members of our community are struggling to make choices to manage their individual and family needs, we are implementing an Emergency Leave policy, which allows the Executive Vice Chancellor, Deans, and Vice Chancellors to grant up to two days of administrative leave with pay for the period of December 5-15. I urge administrators at all levels to exercise maximum flexibility for staff who have endured hardships as a result of the Thomas fire.

In consultation with HR, the Executive Vice Chancellor, Deans, and Vice Chancellors also may grant additional leave in response to requests from staff employees who were unable to report to work due to this natural disaster.

For more details about this policy, please visit the HR website at and unit heads and managers should also consult their HR representatives. Additional questions may be directed to Farfalla Borah (

In addition to this Emergency Leave Policy, the curtailment policy that has been in effect since Friday, December 8, will be extended for an additional three days to Friday, December 15, in order to provide our staff with more options.

Another resource available to staff and faculty is the Academic & Staff Assistance Program, which offers counseling and consultation on a short-term basis for all UC Santa Barbara employees. More information is available at or by calling 893-3318.

The fire has affected air quality on campus, as it has throughout Ventura and Santa Barbara Counties. Almost all buildings are equipped with air filters, and we have adjusted the systems in most buildings to reduce the amount of outside air that is mixed with recirculated air (within OSHA guidelines) and improve the interior air quality. We will also be working diligently to replace filters. N95 masks continue to be available at Human Resources, Student Health, and Housing. Departments can email to pick up additional masks.

I would like to take this opportunity to express the great pride I feel to be a member of this dedicated and compassionate community. I have heard from President Napolitano, who asked me to share her thanks and gratitude for our hardworking staff and faculty.

The most valuable resource we have at UC Santa Barbara is our people — our staff, our faculty, and our students. We will continue to work to support those who have been impacted by the fire, and I want to extend my sincere thanks to those who continue to serve with dedication here on campus or from remote locations despite the challenges presented by the fire.

With gratitude,

Henry T. Yang