From President Kathi Hiyane-Brown
Dear Campus Community,
Spring 2020, a quarter of challenge, closes not with answers to all of the questions and requests brought forth, but with momentum towards progress and action. We each have a role in fighting systemic oppression. The consistent flow of messages committing to anti-racist changes across campus highlights who we are and how we respond as an institution.
Whatcom is a community of educators and learners who step up as needed, step back to amplify the most needed voices, and step into critical dialogue. We stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter through our area of expertise: education. We understand that systemic oppression transcends job title, division, and subject, and so we move in unison to fight injustice.
We believe in relationships and connections, bridging innovative ideas from a variety of community members to move us from talk to action. At present, we are working on implementing recommendations, including the integration of Intercultural Services into a leadership structure to coordinate campus wide equity and inclusion services; dedicated focus on anti-racist education on All College Day; and rapid response to COVID-19 student needs with CARES Act funding. We celebrate the continuance of DACA and continue support students with academic, financial, and social programs and services.
We honor the work of Black, Indigenous, and people of color at the college for holding space as students, faculty, and staff process the global impacts of COVID-19 and the national and local unrest for racial equity. We enter summer and the next academic year with an action plan to enact lasting change for our campus.
Thank you to our colleagues and students of color who continue to live with courage and compassion—in the face of relentless assault. Thank you to all white allies who continue to engage in this anti-racist solidarity work.
Through our actions, we will demonstrate our commitment to racial and social justice.
Kathi Hiyane-Brown, Ed.D.
This message from President Kathi Hiyane-Brown was updated on June 10, 2020 to include additional resources.
Dear campus community,
I am still processing Mr. George Floyd’s violent death and the subsequent actions and events that have occurred over the weekend. This recent event of violence is unfortunately, not just one incident, but an accumulation of historical racial oppression in this country. This came on the heels of my processing the anti-Asian rhetoric and events fueled by the global pandemic. I struggle to find the proper words to express the grief, anger, fear, and sadness many of us feel for the senseless murders of not only George Floyd in Minneapolis, but also Ahmaud Arbery in Brunswick, Breonna Taylor in Louisville, Sean Reed in Indianapolis, and many other named and unnamed victims. The continued acts of violence against Black, Indigenous, and all people of color are horrifying and appalling.
I stand in solidarity with our communities, with all who grieve over the violence, with all who live in constant fear of the brutality of racial discrimination and oppression, and with all who struggle with economic and social inequities, intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic.
I encourage you to take a stand for justice and equity by using your voice. As a community and a nation, we must confront the complacency and hypocrisy with which this country has dealt with racism and injustice. I am inspired by the words of scholar and activist Angela Davis, who said, "I am no longer accepting the things I cannot change. I am changing the things I cannot accept.”
We must continue to combat injustice through education. As an institution of higher education, we have the responsibility to model inclusivity, and fight ignorance and intolerance.
I recognize this is a deeply frightening, frustrating, and challenging time for us all. A strong network of campus resources is available to support you.
- The Employee Resource Groups provide a strong foundation of communication and processing.
- The Intercultural Services team has a statement for our student community here and a link to the Cultural Care Package, offering interactive and arts-based creativity for collective healing.
- For counseling services, WCC students can call 360.383.3080 or the Crisis Care Line at 1.800.584.3578. Faculty and staff can utilize the state's Employee Assistance Program by calling 877.313.4455.
- This message to employees from the Teaching and Learning Center on "Locating Our Work Within the Struggle for Full Liberation"
All of us have a responsibility to speak up and speak out against injustice. Together, we must continue to fight for systemic change and reaffirm our commitment to disrupting hate, bias, and racial injustice.
Kathi Hiyane-Brown, Ed.D.
A Call to Action
A message that I and colleagues continue to underscore and affirm. It has long been established that racial injustices are systemic, institutional, and have impacted communities of color and specifically Black, African American, Hispanic, Latinx, Indigenous, Asian, and Pacific Islander communities throughout multiple generations of U.S. and global history—from politics, housing, education, to public health, employment, and economy. Our egregious cultural landscape prompts us to strengthen our resolve against anti-Black racism, white supremacy and privilege, and racialized hate and discrimination in all of its insidious and explicit forms. To disrupt the cycle, our work will require increased and ongoing discomfort, awareness, and education in ways we see ourselves eradicating our racialized and racist world. Accordingly, there is a direct line to what is happening in our racialized realities and our need to bring agency and urgency in addressing racial equity.
The Student Services Division remains focused and committed to action. Over the next month, we will be sharing additional developments on the following priority areas:
- Departmental Action Plans. Utilizing the Center for Urban Education’s Equity by Design Principles and the College’s institutional data, our focus will be on leveraging inclusive excellence, examining student–level data to address and close equity gaps, and sharing new and established equity practices critical to student success.
- Advance Leadership and Team Building. Ongoing training and professional development are a priority as we integrate equity-minded principles and practices into organizational change (i.e., change management, DEI, SEM, and Guided Pathway frameworks.
- Return to SSLT Directors IDI Team Goals. SSLT Directors will return to a process we embarked upon throughout this last year through sharing and assessing team goals and progress regarding the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI), a 50-item assessment tool that helps people explore cultural differences. With consultation, the experience provided the directors with an individualized Intercultural Development profile and plan to identify goals, strategies, and interventions and to help individuals increase their intercultural competence, and from a team-building and leadership perspective.
- Increase Shared Space. For listening, processing, healing, and individual commitments and action steps. Some of which is already taking place, but needs to be more broadly communicated and more constructively facilitated for identity groups as needed. More information and details to follow as this plan is being finalized with SSLT.
- Reduce Operational Budgets. We have significant budget challenges that lie ahead—all fueled in the context of COVID-19 and its catastrophic impacts on our state budget, coupled with our strengths and opportunities to take meaningful action steps toward closing equity gaps and anti-racist action throughout the College and the communities in which we serve.
- Grow Enrollments. We may experience a surge in enrollments starting in the fall (economic and empirical research indicates this for CTCs). And yet, until we see these trends actualized, we cannot guarantee whether or not enrollment increases will occur. Accordingly, our strategy is to position the College to be nimble, equitable, and adaptive while advancing growth and development of academic programs, including grants, contracts, foundation development and advancement, and business and community partnerships. This also includes transforming the student entry and onboarding experience—both physically and virtually; utilizing equity-minded strategies to increase enrollment and pathway development; and guiding new and returning students toward a pathway to success through recruitment, re-engagement, and retention.
- Increase Progression and Completion. This is especially critical for our underrepresented student populations. Pathway research clearly demonstrates that when students are more engaged in the college experience, they are more likely to be successful. Accordingly, strategies will include developing more pathway programming and student engagement opportunities with staff and faculty to close racial equity gaps. This also will include alignment and increase of more career development opportunities with areas of study, including co-op, internships, work study opportunities, career, exploration, job shadowing.
- Bring New Building Operations and Programming Online. We are onboarding two new buildings online in fall 2020—the Learning Commons and Cedar Hall. As a College we need to continue to plan and strategize how new building, programs, operations and services will change the way we do our work with students.
Colleagues, thank you. Your leadership, collaboration, and strive toward continuous process improvement for students is truly inspiring. Please forward this message to anyone whom I may have missed, including PT hourly staff on your respective teams.
Luca E. Lewis, Ph.D.
Vice President for Student Services
Whatcom Community College
Whatcom Community College commits to the following steps over the next year, beginning now. These steps will require us to identify subgroups of individuals throughout the campus, and it will be necessary to include key leadership roles and voices from our faculty and staff of color as we engage in this work. We will organize these steps in a manner that readies us to engage stakeholder groups across campus in efficient and effective ways as we return to campus in the fall.
- Curricular and pedagogical changes. Form a work group of faculty and staff over the summer to formulate recommendations for 2020-21 in the categories of anti-racist curriculum, pedagogy, and classroom management. The goal is to identify high-impact approaches and the necessary plans for vetting and implementing changes during the 2020-21 year with respective committees, departments, and divisions. Guava Jordan and Xyan Neider will lead this work and form a workgroup with a few summer meetings. Faculty participants will be compensated for their time.
- Admissions. Review admissions procedures and codes of conduct for all selective-entry workforce programs for bias in language or process that results in inequitable access and student completion. Complete initial revision of processes by the start of winter 2021. Further, the College will actively recruit people of color for professional-technical advisory committees.
- FEWs. As a shared commitment between the faculty union and administrative leadership, FEW proposals that include a strong component of racial equity, anti-racism, or culturally relevant pedagogy will be prioritized for approval. We will also seek to ensure there are offerings each quarter with these elements. This will result in the broadest professional development for instructional faculty and staff in these areas in a short period of time and quickly translate into the classroom environment for the benefit of students.
- Mentorship and retention. Through the teaching and learning center and in collaboration with the campus diversity committee and other campus stakeholders, build a robust mentorship program for faculty and staff of color, supporting employee retention. This will occur during the 2020-21 academic year.
- Guided pathways. Our guided pathways work is grounded in racial equity and needs to see substantial progress next year to positively impact student completion. We will dedicate time during opening week to advancing the development of program maps and more. This work will be prioritized in fall quarter.
- Leadership professional development. Identify professional development for instructional leadership in anti-racist leadership that we can actively engage in over the next year, so we are learning, growing, and supporting one another.
Whatcom Community College Board of Trustee Resolution Denouncing Racism in support of students, faculty, staff, Black, Indigenous and People of Color, and the Whatcom County community Resolution No. 2020-03 was passed on June 10, 2020.
WHEREAS, the Whatcom Community College Trustees represent the governing body of Whatcom Community College;
WHEREAS, Whatcom Community College commits to integrate principles of diversity, access, and inclusion throughout policy, practice, services, and curriculum to close equity gaps in student outcomes and create an equitable work environment (Strategic Plan);
WHEREAS, Whatcom Community College is committed to maintaining an environment in which every member of the College community feels welcome to participate in the life of the College, free from harassment and discrimination (Affirmation of Inclusion);
WHEREAS, as Trustees we are deeply disturbed by the persistent and pervasive structural racism that enables the violence against Black, Indigenous and other People of Color to continue unchecked, including violence against Blacks in America, anti-Asian discrimination related to the COVID-19 Pandemic, and disproportionate death rates among Black, Brown and Indigenous communities due to COVID-19,
WHEREAS, the COVID-19 Global Pandemic has greatly magnified the many economic, health, and racial inequities in our society, and invoked violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color;
WHEREAS, People of Color make up 35% of Whatcom Community College’s student body population;
WHEREAS, students, staff, and faculty of color in our community are traumatized by the relentless violence against members of their community, and are under constant threat of racist actions and incidents of xenophobia and racially motivated hate crimes;
WHEREAS, as Trustees we are concerned for our students, staff, faculty, colleagues and their families who are at risk of being targeted in this environment in our community and in their daily lives;
Therefore, be it resolved that the Whatcom Community College Board of Trustees denounces racism in any forms; stands against structural racism; joins colleges across the country in affirming its commitment to the safety and well-being of people of color; and in combating acts of aggression and hate crimes targeting these communities. We commit our campus to working collectively with allies to combat and disrupt the hate and violence against people of color in our community.
Done in Open Meeting by the Board this 10th day of June, 2020.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES Whatcom Community College
Black lives matter. Black lives have always mattered. Today, Juneteenth 2020, in the midst of another moment in the ongoing revolution, we reflect on centuries of white supremacy, especially in the construction of our educational environment. We lift Black voices to the forefront of our awareness. Last year, Chris Lee (AIM Coach) and the Black Student Association led the campus celebration of Juneteenth at Orca Day. In this year's virtual environment, we ask that you honor the Black lives who built the foundation of this nation by feeding your soul with Black research, writing, and art.
Get started with a few of our recommendations:
- Read Celebrating Juneteenth and The Historical Legacy of Juneteenth
- Watch, or rewatch, Simon Okelo's Fireside Chat presentations from June 11th and 12th
- Listen to the smooth melodies Jaminah Shannon brought to her Fireside Chat
- Say Good Morning with Tony Blackwell (IC Media Assistant, BSA President ’19, ’20)
- Read this article on Decolonizing Antiracism.
There are many other ways to learn and amplify Black voices - enjoy your journey! Visit the Intercultural Center webpage to read our community letter and to visit the Cultural Care Package. The Intercultural Center will host a commencement watch party to celebrate graduates. Zoom in at 360 383 3100.
With great care for our community and in solidarity,
Intercultural Center Student Scholar/Leader Team: Iolante Hill-Locke, Marc Howard, Dani Kennedy-Jefferson, Ezinna Onukwufor, Manu Waore, Evelyn Jimenez, and Iman Adem.
Coordinating Team: Tanya Zaragoza-Rosas, Equity & Diversity Coordinator; Tony Blackwell, Interim Media Assistant; Jackie Rumble, Interim Program Coordinator support; Janis Velasquez Farmer, PhD, Director for Intercultural Services
The following is an excerpt from WCC's Library list of resources about Juneteenth, slavery, racism, and anti-racism. View the full list here.
Films on Demand streaming videos
Slavery by Another Name Narrated by Laurence Fishburne. "This program challenges one of Americans' most cherished assumptions: that slavery in this country ended with the Emancipation Proclamation. The film tells how even as chattel slavery came to an end in the South after the Civil War, new systems of involuntary servitude took its place with shocking force and brutality. ..."
Forever Free Directed by Ken Burns, Public Broadcasting Service, 1990 (The Civil War, episode 3)
A War to End Slavery—Freedom: a History of US "... the country fights a civil war over the future of slavery. Grim battles unfold: Bull Run, Antietam, and Gettysburg. Famous generals Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee lead the war between the North and the South. Lincoln speaks eloquently at Gettysburg, and just a year and a half later is brutally assassinated at Ford's Theater."
Into the Fire Into the Fire (1861-1896): The African Americans—Many Rivers to Cross
How to Be an Anti-racist by Ibram X. Kendi. (Physical book in our library)
Intercultural Center Collection a link to the OneSearch records for physical books housed in the Intercultural Center.
By Kolchin, Peter, in The Journal of Southern History, Feb 2015, Vol.81(1), pp.7-40
Civil Disobedience, Social Justice, Nationalism & Populism, Violent Demonstrations and Race Relations; Selected Essays from Salem Press (see under History)
Includes the text and discussion of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and an analysis of Stokely Carmichael’s “Black Power” (the text of which is here)
Employees can join WCC's Teaching and Learning Center Zoom room to workshop assignments/assessments, syllabuses, classroom management practices, and classroom pedagogy. Please bring materials you want to work on, get feedback on, and otherwise workshop. Participants will work to:
Develop/revise classroom materials and practices with an antiracist framework
- Construct assignments/assessments, grading criteria, syllabuses
- Develop grading criteria that are antiracist and communicate
Streamline assignments/assessments for an online course space
- Revamp face to face coursework for an online environment
- Streamline and simplify the evaluation, grading, and feedbacking process
Ramp up the intellectual rigor of assignments and assessments
- Provide many points of entry for students into the coursework
- Develop inclusive and antiracist high expectations
The third Wednesday of each month: June 24, July 22, and August 26 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. Learn more on Compass, WCC's employee intranet.
In light of current events and the fight against anti-Blackness and for racial justice in our communities and on our campuses, The Equity Project (TEP) is planning a series of professional development events for the summer quarter. You are encouraged to join The Equity Project every other Wednesday for a film or webinar that will help us better understand this moment and give space to talk about it. President’s Cabinet acknowledges these events as valuable professional development and encourages you to participate.
The first event is a webinar entitled Addressing Anti-Blackness on Campus: Implications for Educators and Institutions. The webinar’s description is as follows:
In the wake of the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery and others, educators are determining options for a thoughtful response. At first, school principals and college presidents responded by releasing public statements to their campus communities. But public statements in and of themselves are meaningless without thoughtful action that addresses the pervasive real and symbolic violence against Black communities. In this webinar, the presenters will address tangible strategies for addressing anti-Blackness in schools, colleges, and universities. All educators and institutions looking for concrete next steps should attend.
The subsequent events are film viewings followed by discussions. We will watch the films and then talk about them using thoughtful inquiry to guide our reflections.
June 24, 2-4 pm: Addressing Anti-Blackness on Campus: Implications for Educators and Institutions. Register in advance here and then join TEP to watch!
- July 8, 2-4 p.m.: 13th
- July 22, 2-4 p.m.: When They See Us: Part One
- August 5, 2-4 p.m.: When They See Us: Part Two
- August 19, 2-4 p.m.: When They See Us: Part Three
- Sept 2, 2-4 p.m.: When They See Us: Part Four
The following list was compiled by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services' Employee Assistance Program (EAP):
Washington Counselors of Color (counselor listing by ethnicity, language, and religion)
Washington Therapy Fund for Black People (please note that EAP provides 3 free counseling sessions)
Therapy for Black Girls Podcast (with Dr. Joy Harden Bradford, a licensed Psychologist in Atlanta)
Coping with the Psychological Impact of Racism (PDF from WA State EAP)
Free Online Healing & Grieving Group Sessions (for Black people by Black healers – options available in June 2020)
Minority Mental Health information (Mental Health America)
Encouraging Meaningful Conversations about Race and Trauma (Mindful)
Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (Dr. Joy DeGruy)
Strength Over Silence: Stories of Courage, Culture, and Community (Black and Latinx mental health from NAMI)
Self-Care Tips for Black People Who Are Struggling With This Very Painful Week (Vice)
Free eCourse on Racialized Trauma (from Cultural Somatics Training & Institute)
The following was compiled by the Washington State Department of Enterprise Services' Employee Assistance Program (EAP).
Racism hurts White people too—not in the same way that it causes harm to BIPOC, but it serves to diminish our collective humanity. It is an appropriate use of counseling to explore issues related to white identity, white privilege, the implicit racism we carry, white fragility, and the larger racialized white supremacist society within which we live. There are also many online resources you can find to do your own anti-racism work. Here are a few places to start, and you can find many more resources on the DES Workforce Learning Online Resources site.
Before You Check-In on Your Black Friend, Read This (Refinery29)
Deconstructing White Privilege (22 minute video by Dr. Robin DiAngelo)
Systemic Racism Explained (2 minute video)
Everyday racism: what should we do? (4 minute video)
White Privilege: Racism, White Denial & the Cost of Inequality (1 hour lecture by Tim Wise)
The Difference Between Being Non-racist and Anti-Racist (2 minute video)
Understanding Microaggressions (4 minute video)
Getting Called Out: How to Apologize (9 minute video)
The Characteristics of White Supremacy Culture (Showing Up for Racial Justice)
- EAP's Racism & Mental Health Resources
- Intercultural Center's our student community letter and Cultural Care Package
- Library's list of resources on Juneteenth, slavery, racism, and anti-racism
- Teaching and Learning Center's message to employees: "Locating Our Work Within the Struggle for Full Liberation"
- The Equity Project's summer programming for employees - Please join the conversation!
- Whatcom County Library System's book lists on racism and anti-racism
- More to come!