Skip to main content Skip to navigation
Office of the President News and Notes

In-person commencement canceled

It is with much sadness and regret that we write to let you know we have decided to cancel the in‑person commencement ceremonies scheduled at all of our campuses later this summer.

This is not a choice that any of us wanted to make. It was a decision not easily made nor quickly reached. But in consideration of the state’s COVID‑19 guidelines for resuming group activities and our own abundance of caution in protecting the health and safety of the entire Cougar community, we feel it is the right decision.

Please join us in once again congratulating our 2020 spring semester graduates. They displayed … » More …

Supreme Court ruling affirms DACA policy

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Yesterday’s ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court is a tremendous victory for many students at WSU, as well as students and their families throughout the State of Washington and the nation.

The Supreme Court’s decision blocked the dismantling of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy, which would have affected an estimated 700,000 young adults across the country. Considering the events of the past few months, we welcome the Court’s decision in support of DACA students, especially for those undocumented students in our Cougar community.

Additionally, we reaffirm our commitment to creating an environment that fully encourages and embraces the educational and life aspirations … » More …

Next steps in reducing our budget

Dear Faculty and Staff:

As we continue to work together as a community to address all of the challenges presented by COVID‑19 and simultaneously fulfill our mission to the people of the state, I want to update you about the process we have kicked off to address one of our most critical issues—the University’s budget for the 2020–21 fiscal year.

As you know, in May I announced that all units across the system would be asked to prepare plans reducing their budgets by 10% to meet the steep declines in state revenues due to the pandemic. At the same time, I shared 4 guiding principles» More …

Plans for fall continue to take shape

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

As we continue working together across the WSU system on the details of a plan to resume in‑person operations at all of our locations for the fall semester, I want to update you about some of the key decisions we have made as well as some of the issues we continue to examine.

First and foremost, I want to reiterate that protecting the health and safety of our Cougar family is of paramount concern. All decisions affecting the fall semester are being scrutinized from a safety perspective.

As part of our planning process, we are heeding the advice of health experts. … » More …

Recent tragedies a call for self examination

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

Racism looms over our nation’s soul.

Breonna Taylor. Ahmaud Arbery. George Floyd. Three on a seemingly endless list of African American fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, loved ones, and family members, all of whom were killed because they were black.

Each a recent and stark reminder and memorial of the ugliness of historic, systemic inequality.

Each a victim of our country’s severe racial and class disparities.

The COVID‑19 pandemic has laid bare the truth about the unequal access to health care that people of color—specifically African Americans—face. This fact only compounds the current outrage.

We are still so far from achieving … » More …

Budget planning in a COVID-19 world

Dear Faculty and Staff,

As the University continues to navigate an environment filled with unknowns due to the impact of COVID‑19, it is critical that we develop a thoughtful approach to making decisions that will affect the community’s shared future. One of the most critical areas of our decision-making, not surprisingly, will revolve around university finances and budgets.

The economic fallout from the pandemic is—and will be—significant. While the state of Washington is still gathering economic data and analyzing it, we expect that public universities in the state, like other public agencies, will be asked to shoulder a share of the budget trimming that is … » More …

A framework for resuming in-person activities

Dear Faculty and Staff:

Spring is one of my favorite times of the year in Washington. Flowers are blooming, the weather is starting to warm up, and the sun shines almost every day here in Pullman. It is a welcome counterpoint to the challenges we have faced together as a community the last two months while dealing with COVID‑19.

I know it has been a frustrating, and for some—extraordinarily difficult—semester. Yet your resolve, and the resolve of our students, to persevere through this pandemic has been exceptional. I hope that you and your loved ones are doing as well as possible given the current situation. Know … » More …

Elizabeth Chilton WSU’s new provost

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students:

It is my pleasure to announce that Elizabeth Chilton will be WSU’s new provost and executive vice president, effective August 1. She joins us from Binghamton University, part of the State University of New York system, where she has served as dean of the Harpur College of Arts and Sciences since 2017.

As provost and executive vice president, Elizabeth will serve as WSU’s highest ranking academic officer, responsible for guiding all aspects of the University’s system‑wide academic mission. As such, she will oversee the evolution of WSU’s core mission to prepare students for career and life success, nurture research that addresses the challenges … » More …

Coming together for our students

Dear WSU Faculty and Staff:

I want to congratulate everyone on the successful completion of our fourth full week of online instruction across the WSU system. It has been amazing to learn about the ways you have continued to be flexible and creative in engaging with our students and colleagues through Zoom and other online tools while also practicing appropriate physical distancing when in public.

I also appreciate that you continue to ask questions about what things will look like in the coming months. Right now, we are actively planning for in‑person classes for the fall semester at all of our campuses. As we plan, we will … » More …

Financial planning in the wake of COVID-19

Dear Students, Faculty, and Staff:

As we all continue to adjust to the new reality created by COVID‑19, we want you to know we deeply appreciate your patience and support as we address the complexities of the University’s current day‑to‑day operations and future plans. We are seeking solutions applicable system‑wide while acknowledging that the implementation of some decisions may vary across the system.

We know that you are dealing with unexpected and challenging issues. We know that many of you are hurting and worried. While we don’t have answers to all of your WSU‑related questions yet, please know that we are working on them. We … » More …

Washington State University