CSU Leaders Navigating the Pandemic and Racial Injustice

By Madeleine R. Kerrick, Breaunna Alexander, Connie Tan

The California State University (CSU) campuses, like many institutions, contended with the magnification of deep-rooted structural and social inequities when the COVID-19 pandemic and racial reckoning of May 2020 converged. In this research brief, we 1) present salient themes from across interviews with senior and middle leaders from seven CSU campuses about how they and their campuses responded, 2) draw comparative conclusions about responses to the pandemic and racial inequities, and 3) close the report with guiding questions to inform the actions of middle leaders to advance equity efforts on their campus, based on what we heard from those we interviewed. Notably, we found that interviewees reported increased communication and collaboration about equity and the COVID-19 pandemic.