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Special Message from the President: May 29, 2020

May 29, 2020

Office of the President

Good morning colleagues,

As the first week of summer instruction closes, I want to thank you for your commitment, dedication and willingness to teach during this transitional phase created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  For many of you, the virtual delivery of content may still be a new approach to teaching.  For others, your experience and knowledge has assisted our college greatly in helping students transition to online learning in the best way possible. Regardless, if you are a veteran or a novice to remote education, the current state of our world is one that represents fear and uncertainty with much trepidation on how to navigate through these trying times.  During these past few months, we have had to come up with innovative ways of living and working in a pandemic, and at the same time having to face the uncertainty created by the pandemic.

I was deeply troubled by the  “unacceptable” horrific event that took place in Minnesota where George Floyd was killed by a law enforcement officer. This was all captured on camera by a 17 year old young woman.  This senseless act of violence has pushed our nation to once again reevaluate our approach to dealing with the lives of African American people.   It defies explanation.

As your President, I do not profess to know how this most recent death of an African American has impacted our students, nor do I profess to know what this feels like in our community of color.  I have thought a lot about our role as educators, the history of America, and it’s current state. Also, how we have not been able to progress in making all communities a better place for all Americans.  It has saddened me deeply and I can only imagine the pain and fear that this most recent tragedy has sparked in our students and community.

I do know that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is right,  “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” 

Earlier today, I read the comments from UC Davis Chancellor Gary May, and I thought it would be most fitting to share with all of you in hopes that you will be even more resilient in making our community better:

“The events of this week also cause me to believe even more strongly, if that’s possible, in building an inclusive environment that recognizes and respects people of all backgrounds and experiences. I remain committed to that and hope you will do what you can to eliminate racism, sexism, and other negative influences on our progression as a nation.

Perhaps higher education can be that positive influence on lives beyond an education. Perhaps here we can create a way forward. Perhaps here we can breathe.”

I hope this horrific news is a reminder that we have a moral duty to create a safe space for our students to express their thoughts and concerns. 

I am reminded of a quote from an FCC African American male student that was in one of our focus groups:

“We don’t come from the neighborhoods that they [faculty] come from … when something like Baltimore happens, we actually feel that. That’s part of what we are in our being. So how could I not be thinking about this during a physics test? Unfortunately, it was business as usual for everyone else. So, where that affected the whole community of people, we’re walking in the classroom with this on our shoulders. I might not necessarily be thinking about my homework or something like that. But if we had teachers who cared about those kinds of things, then they could keep us focused … hey, this was terrible; we can talk about this. And also, let’s make sure you're doing good with your homework.”

Please take a moment to reflect on how we can make our community and country a more caring and compassionate place.

Lastly, if you or your students are experiencing difficulty coping with everything going on,  there are psychological services at FCC available to help.  

In unity,  

Dr. Carole Goldsmith
FCC Web Logo
Fresno City College
1101 E. University Ave.
Fresno, CA 93741
Phone: (559) 489-2212
Fax: (559) 499-6045

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