January 12, 2021

An Urgent Reminder in the Wake of Jan. 6 Capitol Hill Attack

Dr. Kathryn Jeffery

Dear SMC Colleagues and Students: 

We have started a new calendar year. Regretfully, I am writing to you in the wake of the violent, anti-democratic attack on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021 that sought to disrupt the constitutional process to certify President-Elect Joe Biden’s presidential victory. I am therefore sending the following important reminders to the Santa Monica College community:

  • SMC’s core values as spelled out in the college’s Mission Statement (see “Vision”) include a commitment to democratic processes. Peaceful protest as enshrined in and protected by the First Amendment is a key building block of a healthy, functional democracy. What we witnessed in the January 6 attack on Capitol Hill was far from that—it was an assault on the democratic ideals of this nation, fueled by violence and hatred. At Santa Monica College, there is no room for such hate and disregard for our nation’s constitution. SMC stands against all forms of hate including racism, bias, bigotry, discrimination, harassment, and bullying. Santa Monica College is a teaching and learning environment dedicated to working in earnest toward fulfilling its above stated mission and vision.  

    We join the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (read Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley’s statement) and other higher education institutions in condemning the actions of those who seek to dismantle this nation’s democracy. SMC views these recent actions as a call to view with even greater urgency the work of advancing equity, diversity, and inclusion as a means of building a more just, equitable world. 

  • The FBI has received information indicating armed protests are being planned at all 50 state capitols and the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. in the days leading up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration on January 20. I urge SMC employees and students to exercise the greatest caution to maintain your personal safety in the upcoming days, and keep a distance from situations that might turn volatile and violent, resulting potentially in loss of life or injury.  

  • We recognize that this is an incredibly stressful and uncertain time, and especially so for those from communities that have struggled in the face of systemic racism, injustice, and inequities in recent history: 
  • Students, SMC is here for you. Remember to make use of the free 24/7 emotional support hotline: 800-691-6003 (more resources covering many other needs are available here). 

  • Employees: Through the EASE Program, SMC offers free, confidential counseling. Please do not hesitate to reach out and seek support for any stress or anxiety you may be experiencing: 800-882-1341.

I call on every member of the college community to uphold and defend the core values of democracy. Together, we must continue reaching toward the challenging yet very meaningful and rewarding objective of building a better country and world—through civil discourse, democratic processes, mutual respect and above all, through the transformative power of education. 

Please also remember that we are still in the midst of a pandemic and safety protocols including social distancing remain in effect. Stay safe, healthy and mindful. 

With best wishes for the year ahead, 

Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.