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2020 Fall Convocation
Standing with our Asian/Asian Pacific Islander (AAPI) Communities
March 17th, 2021
We have been seeing and our AAPI colleagues and students are experiencing violent attacks against them, including the murders targeting Asians in the Atlanta-area last night. This hate affects all of us, but is a true threat of life for our AAPI community. Mesa College is geographically located in 2 of the largest and most vibrant AAPI communities, Linda Vista and Kearny Mesa. From businesses, schools, faith centers and neighborhoods our community is hurting, and we must act.
This morning our Student Health Center is creating an opportunity for students to receive support right now. I am also seeking opportunities to work with our campus and community leaders to enact support and actions that we as the Mesa College community can engage right away.
What can you do now? Check in with your students and colleagues, extend grace and support. Find a local non-profit like the Bayside Community Center in Linda Vista to give, volunteer or engage in whatever way that you can.
Please feel free to reach out and contribute to our efforts. I certainly do not have all of the answers and welcome feedback on where and how we can act.
In the last 10 days, we have experienced violent, racist and hateful interruptions through a system of what are termed “zoom bombings.” When we began in the remote environment, we experienced some of these, but in recent weeks they have increased here at Mesa and in other venues.
The impact is one that we cannot ignore. These events impact each of us differently, and have a significantly more harmful impact on persons of color, LGTBQ, women and those that are targeted by the intended actions.
We at Mesa College denounce these attacks, and we want to respond as a community in support of one another…by having plans for what we do as these attacks occur, create follow-up actions to address the harmful impacts, and by reporting the events to authorities to stop the attackers.
Towards these outcomes the college is doing the following:
Reports and evidence of these incidents have been documented by college police and are now in the hands of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department Computer and Technology Crime High Tech Response Team (CATCH) ; a multi-agency task force that apprehends and prosecutes criminals who use technology to prey on citizens. It combines local, state and federal agencies in San Diego, Riverside, and Imperial counties. We will continue to report incidents, and follow-up on already reported items.
The student health center in conjunction with student affairs is working with faculty and staff to identify and help students who have attended our workshops to support them. Today, student health held an open forum specifically to care for students who have experienced these zoom bombs. We have reached out to faculty and staff to support those who were hosts and attended workshops as well. We will continue to follow-up with resources in the coming days and weeks.
On Tuesday, Feb 23 at the Mesa Community Forum we had a session focused on the impacts of these incidents and offered the assistance of the LOFT and the President’s Office to create more secure Zoom sessions. You can find the link to the forum here.
We have come to rely on “Zoom” as our connection to one another and to our community. It is unnerving to think that every time we go into a session, we may have something like this happen to us. In order to take action, VPI O’Connor has invited a group of faculty, admin and staff to create protocols for how we handle these incidents, before, during and after they happen. VP Hands is working with our student support programs to connect and support students, faculty and staff. VPA Legaspi is working with our technology team both at the college and district to find ways to make our online environment more secure.
I want to thank all of the individuals that have come together so quickly to create plans of action. I believe that this community will create good practices to mitigate the impacts. Further, I believe that we must recognize the harm that this has caused, and the continued stress that these actions have on our colleagues, students and community. I commit to all of you my attention, action and care as we support one another through this and other threats to our community.
Finally, I encourage you to reach out to me directly, or to those in your own departments or programs to give us feedback on what we can be doing better. Few of us have dealt with these types of incidents, and all ideas and thoughts are welcome.
Dr. Pamela T. Luster, President
San Diego Mesa College