We honor diversity and encourage compassion for individual expression. We promote inclusiveness and equity on our campus and in the community.
This statement is one of five values that South Puget Sound Community College embraces strongly enough to write into our Strategic Plan. I’ve taken personal pride in our work to create and maintain an open and welcoming environment on campus for our students, our staff, our faculty and our visitors.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I learned of a recent incident on campus which violated our values of equity and inclusiveness and respect for diversity.
The incident involved students. It began in the classroom and spilled out into the campus. It included racial slurs, religious bigotry and physical violence. It required the involvement of the Olympia Police Department. The student on the receiving end of this hostility and those who witnessed it were left rightfully angry, and one of our faculty members was made to feel less secure on this campus.
Let me say this simply: We will not stand for this type of behavior. Not on our campus.
Dr. Rhonda Coats has taken up the matter with the student at the center of the incident. Our Safe Zone Team has met about it, and a Bias Incident Report has been filed with the college. We are in our fifth week of the academic year. We have many weeks and months of the year ahead to learn and work together in civility.
I remind all of you it is our responsibility and within our power to create the inclusive community described in our values. It is as simple as calling out hatred and bias in all their ugly forms: bullying, intimidation, harassment, name calling, etc.
If you witness or learn of a bias-motivated incident — that is an action in which a person is targeted because of their race, gender, religion, sexual orientation, ethnicity, veteran’s status or disability — please report it.