COVID-19’s challenges for reopening universities

University of California's system president-elect, Michael Drake, discusses how campuses are preparing for students to return, and how he will handle race and free speech issues.
4:40 | 07/16/20

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Transcript for COVID-19’s challenges for reopening universities
Mer cities and how they plan to operate this fall's would like to bring in doctor Michael Drake the incoming president. Of the University of California school system one of the largest in the world and he is the first black president in the systems but a 152. Year history. We so appreciate your time tonight doctor. Victory with you. So you're charged with keeping tens of thousands of students safe we know that college in high school students. Across the country we're seeing them. Go to parties not wearing masks and with some of the highest rates of positive tests in the country. How do you plan to keep your campus safe not just the students but by extension the faculty as well. Well I think you mentioned something very important that is the the real importance of wearing masks during this pandemic gets a critical for everyone both to. Help transmit and and then tried to knock him oneself from being infected so wearing a mask has the most important thing. That we can do as a country of that today. That's a that's a first thing the second is that things that you've heard about social distancing are critically important hand washing those those things must be done. And we will have to work closely with our students and everyone to make sure there adhering to these standards and it's. A question of what makes good public health sense yes but also people are not able to hear they standards we will be able to continue with our activities and so it's going to be critical that everyone. Do their best to adhere to these standards where mask. They say. And you have the unique experience of also being a medical doctor how do you anticipate that that is gonna come mind. That the medical roll with the attic education. Role is well. Well I that I think of things she the other two. Parts of that equation are things I think of all the time and so we're really committed to save the as we look at what our activities are going to be in the fall and it did help through my medical training and background as I'm discussing these things went public health officials and it helped us to make our decisions about the Ohio State University before I left and it's helping us now. And with this economic downturn the state of California certainly facing major revenue shortfalls in your school system could lose hundreds of millions in funding how concerned are you about that in our their programs that. They hear RD looking at considering cutting. Well in the economic fallout from this pandemic is something that all of us feel. Across the country and around the world it's quite. Serious and again make yourself safe is the best whether we can get our economy going again but we we can't get the economy going again until we can make ourselves. Safe and those so things are dying in great tension. We at the university of like everyone have to Bob mind our budget tree are trimming everything as we can trim while doing everything we can. To protect the core mission and to protect the pathway forward for our students during this critical time. Ed you've certainly been at the forefront since diversity inclusion for many years you've been been described as. Being a black man how you've been treated and stopped by police many times what are your plans as far as. Tackling issues surrounding race on campus. One of the things that's most important about our campuses is that they're great places for people from different backgrounds to come together and to discuss the most important. Issues to them as individuals to arm our. The cities and states and to our nation and the issues of diversity and inclusion are guard critically important they have been for. And mine a whole career we've worked. Part of the University of California in the past the have. Some of the nation's leading programs and diversity inclusion and and we knew we X that and intends fully to be leaders in this area going forward but it's it's hard work for all of us every day to make sure that we. We worked to help right the wrongs that have been a part of this country since its founding. What are still back to the beginning with my last questioning and just revisit the idea of corona virus and is there a point. Where you would say everybody were packing back up and we're just going back to remote virtual learning. Yeah I mean the first our first priority is to be safe and so and everything we do we have to be sure that we can be reasonably safe and if we were at a place where we felt that it was not safe to continue then we wouldn't Alter our behavior. Until we felt that was the case who we did this in March when we went to virtual education even before we had cases on campus. So as we look to the fall if we're not. Sure they were in a place we can manage the health and safety of our community then we'll change our behavior. Doctor Michael Drake want to thank you so much for your time we really appreciate it. Thirty that's to be with you take care as they save.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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