Archive

Letter to the Editor

This is a letter to the Editors and Staff of The Express. Please share with all of those students who contribute to the publication. If you would like to include this in The Express Newspaper, we request that it be included in its entirety.

Respect and responsibility

Last Friday The Express wrote a news article regarding President Walthers facing criticism from various factions on campus and his announcement that he will be seeking a job elsewhere. The news article discusses some of the conflicts experienced this past year with varying degrees of accuracy; it should be noted that not all faculty agree with the article.

We are facing obstacles that are unprecedented in our district and conflicts have arisen that have left us frustrated and demoralized but we are continuing to think through ways of making the seemingly impossible possible.

The president of a college is our advocate during district meetings regarding resource allocation, our representative in the greater community and provides the leadership to ensure consistency in the student experience.

The person in this role carries a lot of responsibility and requires respect in order to be successful. It is a journalistic duty to report on issues and conflicts. To do this takes courage. To do it in a balanced and respectful way is challenging, but essential if the integrity of the press is to be preserved.

How an article is written can undermine the work of any future president, of any college leader (faculty and classified too) and may deter future candidates from wanting to work at our school.

Let it be noted that while five presidents have come and gone at Las Positas in the last 9 years, faculty are constant and faculty are the institutional memory of this college.

As Las Positas faculty, we strive to communicate our concerns on any topic in a respectful, constructive manner, and we hope that this tone sets an example for our students and community.

We support free speech and commend you on covering some very important issues facing our campus this year, such as how LPC layoffs have created transfer problems and highlighting our specialized 1440 degrees that offer a fast track for students to four year colleges.

As a newspaper that is read by many on our campus and in our surrounding community, you have a unique opportunity to highlight the obstacles students face and the efforts to continue to improve our students’ experiences in a way that compliments the values of Las Positas College.

These are issues that our students and community need to be aware of and what a powerful way to get the information out there. We need to constructively work through conflict and consider what impact our actions will have. Our time and resources are valuable, rare and powerful. When focused, what power they unleash – both positive and negative – is up to us.

We have a choice about what our legacy will be. As a newspaper that is read by many on our campus and in our surrounding community, you have a unique responsibility to figure out how to use that voice and what your legacy will be.

Sincerely the following faculty,

Kristine Woods, Colin Schatz, Debbie Fields, David Everett, Craig Kutil, Barbara Zingg, Terry Johnson, Richard Grow, Ashley McHale, Bill Paskewitz, Angella VenJohn, Bob D’Elena, Joel Gagnon, Heike Gecox, Teresa Henson, Keith Level, LaVaughn Hart, Moh Daoud, Adeliza Flores, Gerry Gire, Scott Miner, Mike Ansell, Jane McCoy, Mark Tarte, Christina H. Lee, Jim Gioa, Brian Owyoung, Greg Daubenmire, Randy Taylor, Barbara Morrissey, Cindy Keune, Ruchira Majumdar, John Gonder, Jason Morris, Eric Harpell, Thomas Orf, Lisa Weaver, Rajeev Chopra, Elizabeth Abril, Gilberto Victoria.

As an elected representative of the student body, I have always strived to equitably and represent all students who attend Las Positas College. It has never been in my character to favor certain groups because of my firm belief in equal representation.

The Express’ latest editorial expresses disapproval of mine and current ASLPC President Amir Salehzadeh’s involvement in LPC’s Middle Eastern Awareness Club. In the editorial, our involvement in the club “does not help with the perception of fair treatment for all students, all clubs and all interests.”

I believe this statement could not be more incorrect. I do not see how being in a club which I was in a year before I was in office shows any favoritism towards that club.

I think it fails to understand that I am also a student who has passions that are separate
from student government. In my two years at LPC, these passions have lead to my involvement in the Middle Eastern Awareness Club, the Physics Club, the Gay-Straight Alliance Club, the International Business Club, the Poetry Club and the Philosophy Club. It was this experience that prepared me for the position of Inter-Club Council chair.

I also thought it was interesting that out of the many clubs I have been involved in—Amir and I were called out for our involvement in the Middle Eastern Awareness Club. I personally asked for the reasoning behind this and it was explained that it wasn’t that but the fact that two officers were in the same club. I then thought, ‘OK, if two officers in the same club is a problem, then how come it is not mentioned in the editorial that two officers are also in the Alpha Gamma Sigma Club?’
In fact, why were the only two Middle Eastern Officers shamed about being in clubs while other officers involved in clubs are not?

Then it all made sense to me. The editorial compares my involvement in the Middle Eastern Awareness Club to, and I quote, “it had been found that Barack Obama was also the chair of some random United Black People of America Club?”

When I read that, I was high- ly offended because I felt I was not getting called out because of favoritism but because of my race.

The direct parallel drawn between Amir and I being Middle Eastern to Obama being involved in an African-American club made it clear that it was my race that was the real problem. Why else would no other clubs be mentioned or it not mention non-Middle Eastern officers involvement in clubs?

I wish that this wasn’t true but this is how I felt. In my opinion, student officers should get involved in as much campus activity as possible. Not only does being involved help officers meet new students and gain needed leadership experience—it helps broaden an officer’s campus awareness.

This is their right as students. It is not favoritism to follow one’s passions.

If I had been asked if it was a goal of mine to represent the interests of Middle Eastern students, I would have proudly said “yes.” Along with the goal to rep- resent Political Science majors, women, Californians, Americans and all LPC students.

With that all being said, I want to ensure that my loyalty is to my LPC peers, not only my race.

Christina Aboud, incoming ASLPC Vice President