This email was sent out to the Saddleback College community today:
Campus colleagues and students:
We are responding to a finding of hate vandalism on our campus. This morning we discovered that someone had written the “N” word in large, chalk letters on a concrete side wall of the LRC. It has been removed, but I share this finding with you so that you can hear the following directly from me:
We will not tolerate hate on this campus. No matter who you are, where you come from, the color of your skin, the shape of your nose or eyelid, who you love or how you’re different, you are part of our campus. You don’t just belong here; you are who we are and why we are here. Saddleback is Saddleback because of you.
The people who speak hate do not speak for others, as they sometimes think or suggest. Their views are not shared. They are alone, frightened and angry at a world that has moved beyond hate. The more we march forward, the more chalk we will see. But the hand of hate cannot compete with the 1400 employees and 26,000 students of Saddleback, cleaning rags in hand, ensuring that our love of mission and students will turn hate to dust. Every time.
1 hater. 27,000 to wipe away the hate.
Dr. Elliot Stern
President, Saddleback College
Meanwhile, readers might remember former IVC President Glenn Roquemore's rather slow and vague response last year to various acts of vandalism, including the appearance of swastikas:
The Nothing that is Done: Swastikas Come to IVC
13 Days and Counting
Roquemore: A Failure to Lead
That was then, this is now.
Just today Rebel Girl was holding forth about the infamous "same-sex flier" of the 90s, sharing that instructive story with a relatively junior faculty member.
So Stern's inclusive rhetoric is especially welcome: "No matter who you are, where you come from, the color of your skin, the shape of your nose or eyelid, who you love or how you’re different, you are part of our campus."
What a difference 23 years - and new, brave, responsible leadership - make.
As the Saddleback colleague who shared Stern's letter remarked: "Refreshing."