June 10, 2020

Educational Programs' Value and Commitments

We stand at a threshold.

There is a doorway now that we are stepping through. The next steps we take matter. As our nation and communities rise up in the aftermath of yet more police-perpetrated murders of Black people, increasing police brutality, and disproportionate impact to communities of color during the COVID crisis, we have seen a militarized crackdown on protest. For a nation to rise up to demand change, most recently amplified by witnessing George Floyd’s life squeezed from him by a police officer, requires the freedom of speech, the right of assembly, and the necessity of being heard and seen. These are values we reaffirm.

We recognize that our students and employees are hurting from the events of the last week, and from the many events that mark our nation’s history. We stand with our Black/ African-American colleagues and students. We recognize the traumatizing nature of what we have witnessed.  We denounce murder in any of its forms and we decry the social injustice embodied by racism and acts of racialized violence. We know that the words and actions we have seen yield deep hurts that claw at our collective humanity. As an institution, we have struggled to fight systemic racism effectively, consistently and with humility, and a clear, sensitized understanding. We honor the work of the members and allies of LEARN, and others on our campus and in our community who continue to reinforce the urgency of acting now. We must stand against the dehumanization of anti-Black racism.

Across the nation and in our own communities, we see, support, and engage, as people are exercising their right to free speech. The people rise up to express what they believe and value. We uphold the values of free speech and free expression. We stand firmly with a commitment to anti-racism and anti-hate. As an educational institution, we have long affirmed our values and principles. Key among them include:

  • A psychologically and physically supportive environment

  • Free exchange of ideas across a diversity of learners

We must take stock of where we stand and reaffirm that not only does our college welcome everyone, but that we commit to the work necessary to realize our mission of “fostering an equitable, inclusive, respectful, participatory, and supportive community dedicated to the success of every student.” To do that for all students means that we must center our work on Black and African American students, staff, and faculty, and other people of color who have been disproportionately impacted by structural inequalities and institutional racism within the educational system. As a college, we have not yet succeeded, and we must commit ourselves to doing better. This is a constant and on-going effort which needs to be woven into our everyday processes and practices.

Our system’s Chancellor, Eloy Ortiz Oakley and other powerful leaders called us to action in these critical areas: 

  1. Systemwide review of police and first responder training and curriculum (ASCCC, CTE Deans and Faculty)

  2. Campus leaders host open dialogue and address campus climate (CEO’s, District Leaders, Campus Police, CSSO’s and their Student Leaders)

  3. Campuses audit classroom climate and create an action plan to create inclusive classrooms and anti-racism curriculum (Faculty, CIO’s CSSO’s, ASCCC)

  4. District Boards review and update our Equity plans with urgency (Chancellor’s Office, All Campus Leaders, and District Trustees)

  5. Shorten the time for the full implementation of the DEI Integration Plain (DEI Implementation Workgroup, Consultation Council, and Chancellor’s Office)

  6. Engage in the Vision Resource Center “Community College for Change.” (Everyone)

You can see the webinar here: CCCO Call to Action, and read the letter from the CCCCO Executive team. We respond to this call to action through various actions including working with our newly reconstituted Student Equity Committee and Student Equity and Achievement Program and Committee to review our Student Equity Plan and push it to action that is departmental, programmatic, and achievable.  We will call upon our campus community to connect that work to program review, curriculum development, Guided Pathways efforts, and AB 705.

The next days, weeks, and months mark a turning point in our nation’s history, and it matters what we do. We again commit to the core principles of “fostering an equitable, inclusive, respectful, participatory, and supportive community”  that define our work together, and we stand with you. Please join us for a series of town hall conversations that will be scheduled throughout the summer and into the fall.

In solidarity, from us in Educational Programs:

Christopher Johnson, Jens-Uwe Kuhn, Priscilla Mora, Alan Price, Pamela Ralston, Arturo Rodriguez, and Carola Smith