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Dear Santa Clara University Community,

Our community has long recognized the importance of marking and celebrating Juneteenth. That is the historic date —June 19, 1865 —when the federal liberation of enslaved people called for in the Emancipation Proclamation reached the southern holdout state of Texas.

A federal holiday since 2021, Juneteenth is typically observed as a joyful celebration of the resilience and brilliance of people of African descent. Santa Clara has in the past celebrated Juneteenth with a discretionary administrative closure day.

Earlier this month, the University’s Staff Senate proposed that Juneteenth be recognized as an official University holiday. We are pleased to share the news that at their May 17 meeting, the President’s Cabinet voted unanimously to accept the proposal and to make Juneteenth the university’s 13th official paid holiday. Incoming President Julie Sullivan also supported this change.

The holiday will be celebrated every year on June 19, or an adjacent business day if June 19 falls on a weekend. This change will begin this year, and as such June 20, 2022, will be a paid Santa Clara University holiday in commemoration of Juneteenth.

In addition, the Cabinet voted to request that University shared governance undertake a broader review of the University’s holiday calendar, to ensure that those we commemorate are consistent with our values as well as with current practices at peer institutions. This effort will be led by the Benefits Committee, which will bring in other appropriate university policy committees.

We wish to thank the Staff Senate for raising this important issue and helping effect positive change on our campus. We hope that you and your family find a way to spend Juneteenth honoring and advancing the cause of freedom and social justice that are at the heart of our Jesuit mission. The African American Community Services Agency has a robust calendar of events and activities to honor and celebrate Juneteenth.

Shá Duncan Smith
Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Lisa A. Kloppenberg
Acting President


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