Dec. 15, 2015
I want to offer my warmest wishes for a restful and restorative holiday break. This has been a strange quarter, in which our collective good work at De Anza was punctuated by violent events that felt too close to home. While we were teaching, and working with our students and fellow faculty and staff, our Umpqua Community College colleagues were forging through their term, trying to heal from a horrific act of gun violence. San Bernardino, too, was wracked by gun murder. The city of Paris suffered stunning violence.
In the aftermath of the domestic terrorism, we had to listen to the usual stupidities surrounding these events: from gun apologists and political opportunists and xenophobes, often in one and the same form. This means that we are also guarding our sense of solidarity and community from political assaults demonizing some of our most vulnerable neighbors, and the most vulnerable seeking to enter the United States.
I am deeply proud of the commitment to equity that defines our mission as a college, and defines the daily work each and every one of you do. Whether it’s teaching a basic skills, transfer or CTE class, giving course selection advice to a student, working in Student Services or division offices, cleaning classrooms late at night, making sure pathways are clear after a storm, managing our budgets and state-mandated reporting—no matter what, we share a fundamental commitment to a democratic vision, where all have the opportunity to learn, be engaged, and be safe.
I know you will take this commitment with you into the holiday season, as a reminder and a hope that we rise above the pandering dominating the headlines. Please give some thought to how we can reach out and support those of our students most fearful, and be generous in engaging each other in frank talk about how we can better deliver on our promises to build compassion, and build community.