University President Janine Davidson, Ph.D., led a conversation on the future of the University’s masking mandate at Thursday’s meeting of the Metropolitan State University of Denver President’s Cabinet and invited Cabinet members to share feedback gathered from their respective areas.
Members noted that masking policies are shifting swiftly throughout metro Denver and across higher education, presenting challenges regarding consistency and enforcement on campus. Members, who polled respective constituencies ahead of the meeting, also shared concerns about changing expectations mid-semester and the health and safety of immunocompromised Roadrunners should the mask mandate be removed as well as the desire of many to remove masking requirements. Anecdotal polling showed that students also remain divided on the issue and that there is support for keeping masks in classrooms and higher-risk settings.
“We’re a complex institution, and there is no one-size-fits-all (solution),” said Provost Alfred Tatum, Ph.D., who encouraged fellow Cabinet members to continue discussing masking protocols with their teams.
Davidson added that MSU Denver and Auraria Higher Education Center partners will continue to make decisions that are guided by public-health experts and will consider decreasing case rates, increased vaccination rates, community feedback and City and County of Denver guidelines.
Honoring Black History Month
In recognition of Black History Month, Davidson noted that MSU Denver educates more Black students than any other four-year institution in Colorado. Last fall, MSU Denver had 1,082 Black undergrad students. The University has helped more than 1,500 Black undergraduates earn degrees in the past decade.
“We can do better,” Davidson said. “This is a month to think about our role here. I share these numbers to reiterate how important it is that we provide the right kind of supports for Black students at this school, including celebrating Black History Month, which is also American history and human history. It has shaped our country and our world.
“I’m proud of the events that we are sponsoring on this campus and proud of the posture that we’re taking to support these students. We all know that we have a long way to go, and I’m proud to be leading a University that is moving in that direction.”
Get ready for Day of Giving
For MSU Denver’s Day of Giving event March 31, the University Advancement team hopes to engage 900 donors. The theme will be MSU Denver Superheroes. The deadline for proposing a crowdfunded project is Monday. The best ways to get involved as a faculty or staff member is by submitting a crowdfunding project, participating in a telethon segment, sharing Roadrunner pride on social media, posting “I Gave Because” signs and making a matching donation or a challenging gift.
Mike Hart, chief information-security officer and director of Security, presented on updates to the Information Security Awareness Training Policy and the User Account Management Policy, both of which have already advanced through the MSU Denver Policy Advisory Council and the community-review process. Updates are primarily centered on scope, and the proposed new language now applies to students and contractors, link updates and specific timelines regarding access changes. The updates are primarily intended to reduce risk to University data and systems, establish consistent expectations and reduce audit findings.
In response to questions from the Cabinet, Hart explained that the University’s current security-awareness training is administered through EverFi, and Information Technology Services aims to make the training experience and modules more tailored to user needs and schedules. He also addressed questions regarding the length of NetID activation for students postgraduation, which is three semesters.
- Vaccinations are required for all students, faculty members and staff members.
- The booster-requirement deadline for students, faculty members and staff members was Feb. 15. The University is now reviewing all booster data.
- Employees who did not complete the Colorado Immunization Information System vaccine-verification request form were contacted Friday with next steps. Student information is already accessible within CIIS.
- Screening testing for unvaccinated students and employees has been suspended.
- Face coverings are required indoors; no waivers are accepted.
- The Roadrunners Safe Return Committee is soliciting feedback regarding potential changes and updates to the masking requirement; email [email protected].
- All Roadrunners must complete the mandatory Daily Health Assessment before coming to campus.
- Anyone experiencing any symptom that could be associated with Covid-19 should not come to campus.
- Visit the Safe Return to Campus website for general updates and information.
- Visit the Health Center at Auraria website for testing and vaccination information, including the student exemption process.
- Save the date for the Higher Education Diversity Summit on April 7-8.
- Mark your calendar for the upcoming President’s Speaker Series event featuring Fiona Hill on March 16.
- Commencement is May 13. See the Early Bird for details on how to volunteer.
- Plan to attend the Spring Update on April 6 at 8 a.m.
- The Years of Service celebration will occur during Spring Update.
- Don’t forget to take the Campus Safety Survey.
- The Student Advocacy Council hosts Coffee Mondays each Monday at 10:30 a.m. in the Tivoli Student Union.
- Provost Tatum is completing the Minor Requirement for Graduation analysis in April.
- Staff Senate nominations close March 21. Senators serve one-year terms, and officers serve two-year terms on rotating schedules. Votes will be taken in April and announced in May, and the term begins July 1. Vice-president and treasurer positions are open.
- The openings for associate vice president for Enrollment Management and executive director of Financial Aid and Scholarships will be posted soon. Be sure to share across your professional networks.
- The Classroom to Career Hub is collaborating with the Denver Public Library on a National Endowment for the Humanities grant that will allow MSU Denver students to complete DPL apprenticeships. Stay tuned for details.
- Human Resources has improved hiring processes to increase flexibility.
- A variety of confidential mental-health resources are available through the CHEIBA Trust.
- Stay tuned for updates on the transition to WorkDay.