On the news of shooting deaths in El Paso, Texas, and in Ohio
At the beginning of a new academic year, we typically anticipate what lies ahead — new concepts and materials to learn, new relationships to build, new accomplishments to celebrate. Instead, after a weekend of mass shootings in El Paso and Ohio, we find ourselves in territory we have traveled before. The sadness and fear are too familiar.
So are the details of these awful killings. Young shooters, one of whom attended his local community college. Anxiety and hatred around immigrant issues. Death that occurs in the most ordinary of places. It is too easy to let our minds go to the possibilities for harm in our own community.
But we should not go there. White nationalism and prejudice are not part of our culture at Seward: instead, we choose to value everyone. Fear and violence are not how we do our work for student success. Quality, integrity, and trust mean that we are not afraid of tough conversations and difficult issues, even the ones that could easily divide us.
It is an honor to serve as your president, and moments like these remind me of how it started for my family. My great-grandfather made the journey here from Poland, a choice that required great endurance. His ambition was betterment for his family and our future.
As we look to this new year at SCCC, let’s continue our focus on betterment in how we serve one another and in how we will do big things that change lives.
I am sure that our year will be a bright one. We will welcome new faces on our team and among our students. We have our own way of doing things here, and it is far better than division and hatred.
Please join me in a moment of silence at 4 p.m. today, (Monday, August 5), meeting on the campus crossroads area in the main courtyard. If you are unable to attend in person, please observe a moment of silence where you are, as we remember the victims in Texas and Ohio, their families, and set an intention to follow another path in our own lives.
My very best,