EDITORIAL: Sac State students should be more involved in fall 2021 instruction decisions


Photo by Dominic Vitiello, graphic by Mercy Sosa

Correction: The original version of this story stated that Sacramento State administration had made no attempt to reach out to students for their opinions on fall 2021 instruction modalities. We have since learned that Sac State did reach out via a survey sent randomly to approximately 25% of students March 18. We have updated this editorial to reflect that information. 

It has been over a year since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic and since Sacramento State administration first closed down campus. Although communication from administration has improved, it still feels like we, as students, are always the last ones to know the plan.

RELATED: Sac State to suspend all in-person classes over coronavirus concerns

The latest lack of transparency is regarding how classes will be delivered in fall 2021. The State Hornet reported that the school was considering several different modalities for instruction from fully online classes to hybrid classes, in-person half of the time and whatever the hell ‘HerkyFlex’ is.

Faculty will make recommendations to their departments and then the deans of those departments will make recommendations or ask for approval from the administration. That chain of decision making is leaving out one very specific and important group.


You remember them, right? We know we have been absent from campus for over a year, but we are the ones paying the bills and we are the ones most affected by the decisions made about how we will receive our education.

You would think that a $7000 payment for tuition and fees would buy you a seat at the table, but apparently not.

Fully online, partially in-person, “HyFlex” — all of these options are being tossed around behind project names and trademarks, but Sac State is doing a poor job of actually explaining what’s going to happen with school this fall, and all of Sac State’s attempts to hear what we have to say on the matter have barely been vocalized.

RELATED: Sac State students should expect to return to campus in fall 2021, provost says

Classes are due to be posted in a few weeks with the options available to students and it seems that will be done without asking mostthe paying customers how they would like classes delivered.

Steve Perez, provost and vice president of academic affairs, said earlier in March that students should anticipate needing to come on to campus for at least one of their classes. This means that there will not be a fully online option in many cases for students who do not feel safe — perhaps because of the lack of a required vaccination for fall 2021 students.

RELATED: EDITORIAL: Please, get the COVID vaccine

Of equal importance is planning. Many students have been living at home — not in Sacramento. They left jobs, apartments and rented houses behind. In a typical year, many students would have already secured housing and would have a plan for the fall. Now they are left waiting and wondering what to do less than six months before the start of the semester.

How many leasing plans do you know of that renew in June? Or that let you leave a lease partway through because your online classes are suddenly in-person?

Let’s be real, this does not only affect students. What about the immunocompromised people that live in the same household as students? Has the administration stopped to think for a minute of the fear these people might have to attend class in-person without a clear plan of what they could do to protect themselves and those around them, especially when Sac State has said it won’t require COVID vaccines in the fall?

RELATED: Sac State’s immunocompromised community reflects on a year of COVID-19

We acknowledge that these decisions are fluid and very difficult to make for Sac State, but it feels unconscionable to not even bother to ask the majority of students what they want. It’s nice that we’re being given options, but we’re not really being given any control over the options themselves beyond a survey from administration that not all of us even received – it was only sent to about 25% of students and only 595 students responded.

We are getting daily CARmencement emails, surveys about health services and statements from President Robert Nelsen about faculty leaving or tragedies that have happened – the survey was a great starting point, but it seems odd that it wasn’t sent to all Sac State emails.

But then again, even if they had sent that survey to everyone, how seriously would the results have been taken if Sac State is already seemingly committed to partially in-person instruction less than half a year from the start of the semester? Sending a survey with such a small response feels more performative than substantive.

Sac State has proven time and time again that they’re planning on running their education as a business, making whatever decision they want whenever they want and expecting us all to fall in line — whether it’s hemming and hawing over whether to close campus, making a decision about commencement without much student input or promising fully in-person instruction, rephrasing at the last moment, letting everyone know vaccinations won’t be required and then not giving anyone the option for fully online.

For some of our editors and staff, this is their last semester, so this situation won’t even affect them. However, The State Hornet as an institution will always do our best to fully listen to and represent our student community, and we’d appreciate it if that commitment was mirrored by the administration.