Black Lives Matter Statement by the Board of Trustees
We, as Trustees of Seattle Colleges, recognize that Black people are the targets of disproportionate number of police stops, arrests, detention, incarceration and killings. Given the mission of the Seattle Colleges, we are compelled to act in solidarity with those who are targets of this violence. Seattle Colleges stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matters movement and the protests that are occurring around the World.
Black Lives Matter is an important movement to address the state sanctioned violence and systemic racism against Black people in America. Seattle Colleges supports the fight against racism and the system of white supremacy in policing, criminal justice, housing, economic opportunity, health and education. This starts with standing-up to defend the basic human rights of our Black students, faculty, and staff to ensure a just learning and working environment. This requires that we listen, learn, and act.
Seattle Colleges has provided educational opportunities for students who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color for over 50 years. While we are proud of these accomplishments, Seattle Colleges can do more to improve access, completion, and student success for Black students. . This will require stepping-up efforts for equity and inclusion across all of our Colleges. Further, Seattle Colleges commits to do more in partnership with the City, School District, and other partners to take down the barriers to success for Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
We are heartened by the engagement of students, staff, and faculty in speaking-out about the need for change. We hear the imperative to change the make-up of faculty and staff to better reflect the demographics of our students, to require anti-racism instruction, and to improve the rates of completion and success by students of color. We understand that as long as anti-Blackness exists in our communities, it is up to all of us to fight and push back.
We are asking the Chancellor and members of the Executive Cabinet to effect meaningful changes across the Seattle Colleges. We expect the current Strategic Plan and operational plans to be revised with increased emphasis on student success for Black, Indigenous and People of Color and improving equity and inclusion. We understand the current challenges of COVID and budget reductions create both impediments and opportunities for change. In our role of reviewing policy, approving budgets, and reinforcing accountability, we, as Trustees, will be expecting improvement in removing barriers for our diverse mix of students. We also must be stronger advocates for adequate funding, including asking difficult questions – is the decades long underfunding of Community and Technical Colleges because of the high percentage of students of color enrolled in these institutions?
Our nation is dealing with a 400-year legacy of racism; now is the time to change the course of history. We are at a juncture; the injustice done to Black Americans must be confronted and stopped by breaking-down systems of racism. Seattle Colleges will be a leader in this dismantling.
Teresita Batayola, Louise Chernin, Steve Hill, Rosa Peralta, Robert Williams
Seattle Colleges Board of Trustees
June 24, 2020