August 24, 2017
Dear SMC Community,
As we prepare to begin a new academic year, we cannot ignore the acts of terrorism affecting innocent bystanders around the world. Close to home, the tragic events that took place two weekends ago in Charlottesville, VA made it clear that the United States, too, was witness to a reprehensible display of discriminatory and intimidating behavior in the guise of patriotism. Prejudice does not equal patriotism. Nothing justifies threatening the personal safety of or attempting to instill fear in those holding an opposite stance—who may not be of your ethnicity and/or cultural background, whose political affiliation or ideology challenges yours, and whose gender identity makes you uncomfortable.
Santa Monica College extends deepest condolences to the family and friends of Heather D. Heyer, whose life was taken so needlessly in Charlottesville. Also, we are saddened by the death of the two Virginia State Troopers who lost their lives in the line of duty in Charlottesville.
The SMC mission statement addresses our commitment to provide “…a safe, inclusive, and dynamic learning environment.” That commitment is visible in the SMC Global Citizenship Initiative; a diverse campus culture; special academic and student support programs like Black Collegians, Adelante, and the SMC Science and Research Initiative to help close the achievement gap; and more. We reaffirm that SMC will move forward, holding our values of diversity and inclusivity even more dear.
We believe that, as we instill those same values in our students, Santa Monica College will play a role in overcoming the forces of hate in our community, nation, and the world—to create a more equitable and peaceful future. To paraphrase the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “[We] refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality.”
To SMC colleagues: thank you for ensuring that in our community we respect each other and all of our students.
To SMC students, new or returning: know that at Santa Monica College, each individual is equally valued. Who you are—your ethnic background, race, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status—makes our college community a richer, more dynamic and better place. SMC is committed to being a safe place for open and respectful dialogue, where no individual has to accept hate or discrimination as "normal."
There is no room for hate at Santa Monica College.
Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery, SMC Superintendent/President
Dr. Andrew Walzer, SMC Board of Trustees Chair
Chase Matthews, Student Trustee
Jennifer Chen, Associated Students President
Dr. Nate Donahue, Academic Senate President
Dr. Peter Morse, Faculty Association President
Chris Bonvenuto, Management Association President
Robert Villanueva, CSEA President