Like many of you, I’m concerned about the recent events that have occurred on college campuses and in some middle schools and high schools across the nation in the wake of last week’s election.
- at San Jose State University in California, a Muslim student reported that she had been grabbed by her hijab and choked;
- international students at Michigan State University have expressed significant fear and uncertainty about their future status in the United States;
- at Lone Star College in Houston, a two-year college system that serves over 90,000 students, undocumented students fear that their protected status under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy (DACA) is in jeopardy;
- racist graffiti has appeared on campuses in New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Vermont, and Kentucky;
- at the University of Pennsylvania, black freshmen received threatening and racist emails from an anonymous sender (later revealed to be a student from the University of Oklahoma);
- at the University of Vermont, someone spray painted a swastika near the Hillel offices;
- anti-Hispanic graffiti greeted students at a classroom at Elon University.
It is important, then, that we, as a community, assert some of the values that define this place that we and our students call “a home.”
We will not tolerate any acts of discrimination or hostility towards our students or towards our colleagues. We will celebrate the rich diversity of our student body and of our faculty and staff. We will encourage all students, regardless of age, income, national origin, gender identity or gender expression, race, religion, sexual orientation, or disability to join our community and to feel safe and secure. We will promote acceptance and civility. We will value critical inquiry, creative expression, and the creation of new knowledge. We will affirm that Raritan Valley Community College promotes the transformative values of accessible, affordable public education. We will imagine a campus and a community where all are honored and equal and where the possibilities of achievement are endless.
Ralph Waldo Emerson imagined the unlimited influence of the individual as “a self-evolving circle, which from a ring imperceptibly small, rushes on all sides outwards to new and larger circles, and that without end.” Surely, this generous and optimistic metaphor best describes the community of Raritan Valley Community College.
Together, we create ripples without end – circles that multiply, that bind us together in the promise of that ever-expansive American experiment.
Michael McDonough, President
Raritan Valley Community College