November 15, 2017
Dear SMC Community,
The 2016 election has come and gone—and the reactions around the country show a deafening divide. While many communities across this great nation are celebrating local and national outcomes, equally many are mourning. The most polarizing election result is that of the presidential election, which has created a victory or a tragedy depending on your point of view. However, having a different opinion from others should not justify trampling on their rights, insulting or dismissing them in ways intended to devalue and/or strip them of their dignity, and certainly does not justify threatening their safety or causing bodily harm through intimidation and discriminatory behavior.
The United States of America will inaugurate a new president in January 2017, who will have the immense responsibility of representing all the people, who should be expected to set the highest example of integrity and character, should inspire and uplift all citizens, and should uphold the highest ideals of democracy.
As for Santa Monica College, our mission statement makes it clear that we exist to provide “…a safe and inclusive learning environment…” We are demonstrably proud of our diversity—we recognize the strength that it generates in our remarkable teaching and learning environment.
I see the dedication of the faculty, classified staff, administrators, and Board members of Santa Monica College who are some of the most innovative individuals and thinkers. This excellence extends naturally to SMC students—who are “top students” in so many ways; and all of them are striving to improve the quality of their lives through the power of higher education. SMC is surrounded by communities that believe in the ability of those who work at the college to impart wisdom and impact lives evidenced by the recent passage of Measure V.
SMC is dedicated to ensuring that students’ aspirations become their realities. We help create pathways of hope for U.S. citizens and pathways to citizenship for immigrants seeking to be a part of the fabric of this amazing country. As we move forward, we will find ways to live together—nationally and locally—despite our differences. We will work collaboratively to ensure that our students—especially those who are immigrants or are undocumented students—know their rights and feel our support. And although, students who are immigrants are uncertain about what will happen to them given a great deal of campaign rhetoric, also, there are disenfranchised groups of American citizens who have similar concerns. But instead of dwelling in the shadows of fear and doubt, I wholeheartedly urge you to focus on higher ground. Set your aspirations above the confusion and uncertainty because that is where you will find meaningful solutions.
At SMC, let’s work to keep our campuses open environments where honesty, integrity, hope, and peace are driving forces; where we seek to be clear thinkers who value all members of our college community. With every SMC student who leaves our “doors” with certificates and degrees, or who transfers to a four-year university or college somewhere in the U.S. or around the world, we help build stronger and better communities locally and globally.
At SMC, we want each student to feel safe and cared for as they enter the college environment and as they go out into the broader community. These are the ways we can help America keep moving forward.
Kathryn E. Jeffery, Ph.D.
Superintendent & President