Letter: LBCC Budget Cuts Discount Efforts to Expand Diversity, Equity
At LBCC in 2008, as faculty from varied disciplines, we recognized that the college’s commitment to address issues of diversity and inclusion for our staff and students was a serious issue. Above and beyond our normally assigned duties, we initiated a series of meetings designed to honor, encourage, and promote greater inclusion on our campus. The result was the birth of the annual LBCC Unity Celebration to bring together college members and students, who work to honor diversity, social justice, and equity.
Now, under the able direction of Dr. Ramycia McGhee, Heather Morijah, and Jason Dorsette, this campus-wide Unity Celebration continues. The February 2023 Unity event’s speaker, Dr. Nakeia Council Daniels is an Army veteran, and the deputy director of the Oregon Youth Authority. Dr. Daniels also served in the office of Gov. Kate Brown as director of Equity and Racial Justice. She has long been committed to equity and equal opportunity. Another example, in 2012, we were greatly honored to have Robert Singleton, one of the original 1960s Freedom Riders, come to campus to share his thoughts about the history of the Civil Rights Movement.
From the beginning, our explicit intent was to honor, celebrate, and elevate diversity, and not lessen its importance. Therefore, as faculty emeriti, we believe the recent administration decision to eliminate 46% of “minority” faculty, including extremely important and committed long-time library faculty, is a travesty. In fact, we are united in saying that eliminating these positions discounts the stated college mission, core values, and strategic goals of honoring the cultural richness of our communities, and of creating an environment of inclusiveness that honors equity and diversity.
We ask you to do whatever is necessary to prevent the loss of colleagues who on a daily basis continue to ensure that all of our diverse students and faculty have a strong represented voice in our community. These exceedingly difficult times require and demand it.
Gary Westford, LBCC Faculty, Art/Art History, 1999-2013
Analee Fuentes, LBCC Faculty, Art, 1997-2015
Robin Havenick, LBCC Faculty, English and Writing, 1999-2018
Dr. Dana Emerson, LBCC Faculty, Communication Studies/Speech, 2005-2015
Note: This letter was addressed to Dr. Lisa Avery, President, LBCC; Kristin Adams, Chair, Board of Education; Elizabeth Droscher, Executive Assistant