I am grateful to the many students, faculty and staff I engaged with this week about student equity. I appreciate the passion our students and staff brought to the conversations.
I carefully listened to the concerns of students and staff related to our student equity efforts. Their comments made it clear to me that some of our students want a greater sense of belonging at CR.
I listened to students and staff share their beliefs that College of the Redwoods doesn't foster an environment where all students have a sense of ownership for their educational experience. As a college community, we all have a responsibility to ensure that all students and staff have a sense of belonging, and to ensure that all students feel welcome, valued, and appreciated.
I urge everyone to think about how we can build a stronger CR, and do our part - collectively and individually - to promote equal opportunity and nondiscrimination in our educational programs and activities.
Students held a rally yesterday and later marched into my office. They presented me with the signed petition with over 400 names and a list of demands. As President of College of the Redwoods I am proud of these students for standing up for what they (and I) believe is right -supporting student success and changing the culture of the institution. We should all take pride in their display of passion and commitment. I know that I am.
Here is the list of demands:
We the unified students of Humboldt County Demand:
• That Renee Saucedo be reinstated immediately;
• That an apology be issued by the President and the Board of Trustees to both Renee and the students;
• That the multicultural center be built as we were promised by October 2017;
• We demand answers to the following questions:
* Why was Renee Saucedo fired?
* Who fired her?
• We demand that College of the Redwoods hire more faculty of color; and
• We demand cultural sensitivity training for all College of the Redwoods employees.
If our demands are not met, we will take action as we see fit.
I want to close this message by saying the College will continue its efforts to embrace diversity and further student equity. I am committed to fostering a climate of acceptance, cultural awareness, mutual understanding, harmony, and respect. The College will continue to intentionally align institutional efforts to embrace diversity and champion efforts to diversify the faculty, staff, and administration. The College will also continue to invest in culturally competent practices that lead to the success of underrepresented students. The administration will work with the Academic Senate, Associated Students of College of the Redwoods, the Management Council, and other groups as appropriate to create opportunities where faculty, students, staff and administrators can work together to strengthen our community.