Full interview with SF State President Mahoney about graduation, refunds and student housing

Juan Carlos Lara

Over the last month SF State has seen drastic change, including the cancellation of face-to-face classes for Spring semester along with most on-campus facilities, the postponement of graduation, the push to evacuate students from on-campus housing and two confirmed cases of COVID-19 among the campus community. Golden Gate Xpress sat down for an interview with SF State President Lynn Mahoney to get students answers to their most pressing questions straight from the source. 

Watch our second interview with President Mahoney here.

Below are some of the most notable excerpts from the nearly hour-long interview in the president’s own words, as well as some of the campus resources mentioned. Check out the video on Youtube for a full time log of every question. 


Tuition refunds

(8:15) Mahoney: “[The California State Student Association] played a leadership role in understanding why we are not refunding tuition. Our expectation is that you will all complete your courses this semester, remotely. Most of our student support services are available online from advising and counseling services to telehealth.” 

Fee refunds

(17:13) Mahoney: “So what we’re looking at are fees that it’s that one on one, I paid this fee in exchange for this direct service. That’s housing, that’s parking, we’re looking at some of the course fees. Course fees are not so easy because some courses, the students paid the fee and they got the materials at the beginning of the semester, so they have the materials. Others you paid the course fee and you don’t get the materials until the end. So there’s a group reviewing those so we are refunding or in the process of refunding things where it’s a one on one.”

(18:32) Lara: “So, to be clear, the fees that are paid at the beginning of the semester along with tuition, Mashouf, Gator Pass- which, again, goes to AS- the Student Health Services fee, there’s, as of right now, no plans for any refunds on those?”

Mahoney: “No.”  


Graduation refunds

(17:43) Mahoney: “I’ll give you the example of graduation. So that is a one on one. You pay a fee and you get your diploma and commencement. So that, we are refunding partially because we don’t know what we’re going to do with commencement yet. I’ve formed a work group that includes faculty, staff and events people to make some recommendations to me. But we do know we will not be able to have  in-person commencement at Oracle park in 2020. So we’ve refunded part of that.”

Graduation Postponement

(55:41) Mahoney: “I have formed a group. It includes three members of the Associated Students Executive Board, two members of the Academic Senate Executive Committee, someone from Academic Affairs, someone from my office, someone from events, it’s about 10 people, and they’re going to study it and come back with a proposal. All CSU commencements have been postponed across the board. So we need to explore one of two options. We just keep postponing it and have a face to face eventually, or we do something virtually. So I’m going to wait and see what I hear from them. So the one constraining factor here is that the message I’m getting from departments of public health, is we would be unlikely to have an event of any considerable size in 2020. So one of the questions that the group is going to wrestle with is would graduating students rather have a virtual commencement now in 2020, or would they rather wait a full year to have a face to face commencement?”

Student Housing

How many student residents remain on campus?

(27:23) Mahoney: “As of last week it was about 700… sprinkled across the residences.”

Will student residents be moved? 

(29:49) Mahoney: “So at the moment, we haven’t made any plans to consolidate, but there are a couple of issues that might require we consolidate. The first is as a state agency we are under orders to provide mutual aid during a health crisis. SO if the city were to come in and need access to some of our facilities, we would be obligated to help them.Right now we have not been asked, but I know other universities have been asked about using res halls. We have not been asked. I want to make that clear, not been asked. But if we were ever required to use some space, then we might have to consolidate students. The other might be if we get to such a small number on campus, that we’re worried about health and safety, our ability to secure it. Right now University Police are focusing their efforts on the residential area, because that’s where we have people. And then the other is, God forbid, this is the shoe I keep waiting to drop…. If we were to get into a situation in which students in the res halls, the remaining ones started to get it, then we would have to relocate people to keep people isolated and safe.”



Undergraduate Advising: 


Counseling and Psychological Services: 


Student Health Services: 


Gator Groceries: 


Showers and other basic needs


HOPE Crisis Fund Application:


Petition for fee refund:


Breakdown of student fees:


Academic Senate: