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Special Message: September 8, 2020

Sep 8, 2020

I hope this communication finds each of you healthy, well and safe.  Like many of you, I had hoped for a quiet, restful Labor Day weekend. That was not to be the case.

The Creek Fire has impacted so many of our friends and families. It is simply heartbreaking.  It is another crisis that challenges our sense of normalcy.  This year has been tough, disheartening and frustrating – for so many real reasons. Yet, I believe there is also some reason for hope. 

We have seen great acts of courage, grace and kindness this weekend…and throughout 2020.   We have also been reminded that there is much work to be done to make our college and community a better place.  And it is those virtues - courage, grace and kindness that we will need to confront the challenges that we face – the pandemic, economic uncertainty, political strife and racial inequality.

Like you, I am reminded every day that it is not enough to acknowledge that racism exists. We must continue to take action – collective and individual – to make sure our college promotes equity, access, and inclusion for all.

Some of you may have read a column this weekend written by Marek Warszawski in the Fresno Bee. In it Mr. Warszawski shares the disturbing news that our baseball park was named after a white supremist. If true, this is certainly an issue that needs to addressed.  Especially during this time of reflection in our nation as we evaluate race and equity. If you haven’t read the column entitled “This Fresno baseball park is named for a KKK member: City College Needs to change it.” 

Below is the response that I sent to Mr. Warszawski.  I share with you in full transparency of my commitment to uphold the values of inclusion, equity and diversity that we often tout:

Good morning Mr. Warszawski, 

While I do not think we have had the pleasure of meeting, I have enjoyed your columns, especially on your coverage of COVID-19, local politics and around race matters.   Coach Scott gave me a heads up about your article.  As you are now aware, there is a process and a policy around the naming of facilities.  With that said, given the work that the College has been, and is doing around equity and race, having a building or facility associated with a racist, is not in keeping with our mission and vision.

As the first community college in California, our goal is to strive for educational excellence while creating a welcoming, validating, and affirming environment for all of our students. After George Floyd was murdered, I sent a communication out to the college and community to affirm Black Lives Matter.  We were moved to action with a sense of urgency to review the Fresno City College Police Academy practices by forming a Task Force comprised of faculty, staff, students and community members charged to propose the actions to enhance the Police Academy’s program content on race-relations and social justice, and actions to strengthen training on implicit and explicit racial bias awareness and understanding of community policing efforts for future law enforcement officers.  

I share this with you as an indication of the level of willingness on my administration’s leadership team to address issues head on – collaboratively, using research and focused on a just and equitable outcome.  I must confess, I did not know the origin of the name of this baseball park, nor a few other names of buildings at Fresno City College.  We may also need to examine the origins of other areas across the entire District.  This is something that I have already addressed with two trustees.  

In closing, thank you for covering this story in a fair manner.  Thank you for dedication to journalism and our community.  

“There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.” Walter Lippmann

While it may be difficult, we must take a deep look at ourselves, our actions and our history. To that end, I will be working with Fresno City College Academic Senate, Classified Senate, Associated Student Government, Management Council and community members to convene a President’s Task Force which will review the names of all buildings on campus, examine the history of the naming origin and propose possible renaming options for the betterment of our beloved College to submit to the Board of Trustees for approval.

Additionally, I will be meeting with Chancellor Parnell and other members of Chancellor’s Cabinet later this week to discuss the methodical researched approach in accordance with our Board Policies. 

Thank you all for your continued passion and commitment to transform lives through education. 

Stay well, 

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

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