On behalf of the CSUEU, I wish to extend a warm welcome to Dr. Joseph I. Castro, a leader who has deep roots in California and reflects its diversity. The Office of the Chancellor holds a great deal of power, overseeing the educational success of some 480,000 college students each year while serving as the chief executive to an organization of more than 50,000 employees. Every CSU employee, regardless of our title, is a stakeholder in the institution that strives to equip the next generation with knowledge, skills, and competency. As the union representing 15,000 support staff that is the operational backbone of the CSU, our working relationship with the Chancellor-select and his leadership team contributes to the overall success of the institution. In these unprecedented times, we stand ready to work with Dr. Castro and his team to map out what is in the best interest of students, staff, and faculty for continued health and safety. We find it unfathomable that six months after the pandemic forced in-person classroom instruction to go virtual, the CSU continues without a rigorous systemwide repopulation plan. Front-line employees offer unique insights and expertise to an institution. We were deeply disappointed that CSUEU members did not have an opportunity to meet with Dr. Castro prior to his selection, described as “historic” by trustee Jean Firstenberg. We call on the new chancellor to meet with our CSUEU Executive Board; to further develop our relationship, we also ask that a staff member be appointed to the Board of Trustees. Dr. Castro comes onboard at a perilous time that demands strong and clear leadership. Financially speaking, the CSU holds a $4 billion surplus, of which $1.5 billion can be used to mitigate layoffs. Yet campuses are choosing to lay off some of the CSU’s lowest-paid workers in the middle of a pandemic and record-high unemployment rates. There are other alternatives and solutions. We are prepared to join hands with Chancellor-select Castro and work in earnest to forge a successful path in 2021 - and beyond - for our students, faculty, staff and community.