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Chancellor's Update

Raul RodriguezDear Rancho Santiago Community College District Family,

It's been a week and a half since our nation elected a new president. Some are celebrating, while others, including some of our students, faculty and staff, continue to feel fearful, disappointed, and hurt. This contentious campaign was filled with exceptionally divisive and demeaning rhetoric, so it is completely understandable that many of you would feel worried and fearful about the future.

To our students, faculty and staff let me reassure you that, regardless of any election, our commitment to the values of inclusion, diversity, and equity will never change. We remain resolute in our commitment to all of you regardless of your religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, race, ethnicity, or color. Both of our campuses are wonderfully diverse and filled with students, faculty and staff from various backgrounds and from all over the world. This diversity is what makes this place special and we will continue to welcome, value and protect it.

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To our undocumented students, please have no doubt that the Rancho Santiago Community College District will continue to support you and stands with you in solidarity. I fully understand that you are feeling anxious, fearful and uncertain about your and your family's future. I want you to know that you are an important and equal part of our family and our commitment to you will never waiver. We stand firmly behind our commitment to FERPA regulations which protect our students' confidentiality. At no time will we ever share anything about our student's legal status, contact information or mailing address. We are working to ensure that all of our students understand that we will not jeopardize their situation and will do whatever is within our power to ensure their safety.

As community college educators we are provided with a special opportunity to contribute to the development of our student's compassion, understanding, empathy and support of others. Regardless how we may have voted, we must all affirm our mission to provide quality educational programs and services that address the needs of our diverse students and communities. Today, more than ever, our students need us to stand together and present a unified response to ensure that when they are on our campuses and in our educational centers, they feel safe.

I understand some may feel disappointed, but we must remain encouraged and engaged. We must resist any temptation to become cynical and abandon the public sphere to those who do not see the value and contributions of all the members of our community, regardless of their legal status, religious backgrounds, sexual orientation, race or ethnicity. We have to remain vigilant to protect the people and values we care about. This is not the time to allow fear to paralyze us, close our eyes or stop listening. We must continue to work together and create opportunities for our students, faculty and staff.

Let us never be guilty of demeaning conversation, intimidation, harassment, or acts of violence against those who hold opinions contrary to ours regarding the outcome of this election or any other matter. Rancho Santiago Community College District must continue to be a safe and supportive environment. Let us forever be known as a great learning community where all are valued and welcome.

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The Chancellor's Update is an e-newsletter distributed by the Rancho Santiago Community College District Chancellor's Office to inform district employees. If you have a question, comment or would like to provide feedback, please send us an email.