USF: Cancel Class 11/15-11/16 Due to Air Quality

This petition made change with 9,683 supporters!

11/15/18 10k UPDATE:

We did it, guys! All classes today and tomorrow are cancelled.
Thank you to everyone who supported us. Whether you are a student, faculty, friend, parent, or share no connection to the USF community, it took your signature and your support to get our message across. It wasn't just about missing class or pressing a few buttons on your phone, it was about keeping students and faculty out of the toxic air and looking after each other's wellbeing. I am so inspired by everyone who reached out to me since I made the petition with letters, calls of action, protest ideas, etc.- it is your passion for student/faculty safety and concern that strengthened our cause.

Health and safety come first and foremost. Stay indoors, wear your masks, and get some rest.
Sayeh Jafari


We did it! In less than 24 hours, 10,000 of you stood up and made your voices heard. 10,000 of you shared the petition with your friends and family to get more people aware about this issue. Some of you even went the extra step to call and/or email Provost Heller’s office. This is an example of democracy in action and I hope that this moment inspires you to seek change when institutions fail to protect you. Because of you, the University of San Francisco is shutting down all of its Northern California campuses until Friday. I applaud all of you that stood up for what this institution means and to fight for it’s Jesuit values to be heard and honored. Sayeh and I could not have done this without you. May this inspire and show everyone that change starts from the ground up. I’m humbled and grateful that we were able to “change the world from here.”

-Ethan Tan ‘22

8.5k update: The 132 panhandle reading was taken INDOORS. The correct average was 213. 

7.5k Update:
Thank you for backing our petition in the hopes that Provost Heller and University officials will do the right thing and cancel class for the remainder of the week. Current reading from, a website that allows citizens to view real-time readings from EPA sensors nearest them, shows that at a sensor at 930 Post St. is reporting readings of 209. Another sensor at the corner of Polk St. and Gulch St. show readings of 217. A sensor at the Panhandle Park is giving a 132 reading. The nearest sensor near USF’s Hilltop Campus located at Lower Pacific Heights has not been functional for the past six days. However, if you average the readings out from all three sensors that are closest to USF, the reading becomes 186, which is still on the high end of the “Unhealthy for all” zone. Analysis of graphs that contain data from the sensors indicates an increasing trend in readings and environmental experts predict that the situation might get worse over the next two days, which is why we still urge Provost Heller and the University to cancel classes for the remainder of the week. In addition, San Jose State University has also decided to cancel classes for Thursday and Friday, so we still request that Provost Heller do the same.


As we write this, the air quality index is at 177, 17 units over what is already considered “unhealthy.” 

Ethan Tan, '22
"The University of San Francisco prides itself on its Jesuit values, mainly on Cura Personalis or care of the whole body. The University is disregarding the “care of the whole body” by not cancelling classes on Thursday Nov. 14 and Friday Nov. 15 in light of the wildfires that are currently burning in Butte County.

The University Administration, primarily Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, Donald E. Heller, and President Paul J. Fitzgerald S.J. have failed to take adequate action in the face of the wildfire smoke pollution in the City of San Francisco.

Currently, as we are writing this, shows that the current Air Quality Index level is at 180, which the Environmental Protection Agency categorizes as “Unhealthy to all.” This is 30 points higher than the threshold for “Unhealthy for sensitive groups.”

With the main USF Hilltop campus spread over 55 acres and with students on the Hilltop having classes in both Lone Mountain and the lower part of campus, students are exposed to the unhealthy amount of smoke in the air. With the journey from Lone Mountain to lower campus, and vice versa, taking about 5-10 minutes each way, students are subjecting themselves to toxic amounts of pollution. As the University is inadequately prepared to take action in this situation by not providing the majority of students with at least N95 standard masks and by only distributing them via Public Safety delivery, we are asking the University Administration to cancel classes for the remainder of this week and potentially reopen on Monday, based on predictions and forecasts on Sunday night.

As numerous sources and health experts testify to the media and with forecasting even higher levels of pollution in the next two days, we urge the University to take action and to join other nearby educational institutions including San Francisco State University (which is further South than USF’s Hilltop campus), the University of California, Davis campus, and potentially join the University of California, Berkeley and San Francisco Unified School District  in cancelling classes for the remainder of the week."

UCSF, SJSU, SFSU, and UC Davis have cancelled classes. The current air quality is worse than when classes were cancelled due to last year’s wildfires. 

Keep signing and keep sharing this petition. Students cannot learn or study in this environment. 

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