Diverse Learning Environments Survey
Beginning tomorrow, April 5, through the end of the month, the College will administer the Diverse Learning Environments Survey (DLE), a national survey of student experiences and outcomes measuring factors correlated with the success of a diverse student body. The DLE is designed to provide a snapshot of students’ experiences of the campus climate (perceptions and behaviors), campus practices (what the institution does), and student outcomes (retention and skills) that can be used to develop student success strategies that are both equitable and effective.
All students who have earned credit hours at OC and who are at least eighteen years old will receive a link to the survey through their campus email accounts. While participation is voluntary, we hope that the opportunity to influence institutional change will motivate a robust response. As an added incentive, completers will be entered in a drawing for a one-quarter tuition waiver and one of five OC Bookstore gift cards valued at $50, thanks to the generosity of the OC Foundation.
Students, check your inbox for the link to complete the survey. More...
Disability Rights Milestone – The Fortieth Anniversary of 504
Forty years ago this month, the country witnessed an important lesson about the power of community solidarity, when protestors in San Francisco banded together to demand the enforcement of the first major civil rights law barring discrimination based on disability. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 is landmark legislation requiring that all educational recipients of federal financial assistance, from pre-schools to postsecondary, provide equitable access to and allow the full participation of students with disabilities. Unfortunately, four years after its passage final implementation guidelines had still not been issued.
That is, until activists staged a 25-day sit-in in the Department of Health Education and Welfare’s San Francisco office to demand enforcement of the law. The Disability Rights activists at the core of the sit-in found support from other movements, such as Queer Rights organizers and the Black Panthers, who provided them food and other assistance until April 28, 1977, when the regulations were finally signed into law. The solidarity they exemplified, across identities and social movements, helped pave the way for the expansion of civil rights to millions of students with disabilities and is a lesson to us all about the strength that derives from diversity.
Read more about OC’s Access Services for students with disabilities.
Remembering the Internment of Our Bainbridge Island Neighbors
March 30 marked the 75th anniversary of the forced removal of 227 Japanese Americans (Nikkei) from their homes in Bainbridge Island, under the 1942 Executive Order issued in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack. They were the first of nearly 120,000 Nikkei (persons of Japanese ancestry) on the West Coast to be detained in government internment camps as “enemy aliens,” solely based on their ethnicity.
Commemorating that painful history, a plaque at the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial reads “Nidoto Nai Yoni” − "Let It Not Happen Again." It is a poignant message to future generations not just of the atrocity of injustice, but also of the healing power of community. Read more…. (https://www.bijac.org/index.php?p=MEMORIALIntroduction)
On a recent visit to the Bainbridge Island Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, I was proud to learn of the many local residents who supported their Japanese neighbors during their incarceration. They included Walt and Millie Woodward, whose Bainbridge Review was the only West Coast paper to speak out against the internment; Filipino-American and White islanders who maintained the internees farms and other property during their confinement; and those who welcomed home the handful of Japanese American families who returned to Bainbridge Island. While many communities were deeply divided by anti-Japanese bigotry during and after World War II, Bainbridge Island serves as an example of the strength that can come from standing together across difference in the face of injustice.
Learn about the Memorial at: https://www.bijac.org/index.php?p=MEMORIALIntroduction.
See how OC’s curriculum is helping to preserve the history of the Japanese settlement on Bainbridge Island: https://www.olympic.edu/anthropology/yama-project.
It seems that what’s past is prologue, as the Trump Administration’s attempts to ban entry by citizens from certain Muslim majority countries have fueled fractious debates that often find their way into the classroom. To support faculty in leveraging such polarizing issues in educationally purposeful ways, this month the Center for Teaching and Learning and I are piloting a three-part intergroup dialogue through which they can experience a model of engagement across difference that’s been shown to produce a host of positive educational outcomes.
Intergroup Dialogue (IGD) is a nationally recognized, evidence-based approach to dialogue developed by the Program on Intergroup Relations at the University of Michigan. Through structured dialogic inquiry it facilitates understanding, connections, and collective problem-solving, while upholding the dignity of participants.
Last fall, the Center for Teaching and Learning and I hosted an intensive, four-day Equity Institute on Intergroup Dialogue facilitated by one of IGD’s founders, Dr. Biren Nagda. The Institute inspired us to bring the IGD experience back to campus. While the pilot is designed for faculty participants, our goal is to offer future dialogues that will be open to students, staff and other campus constituents.
Read more about OC’s Center for Teaching and Learning.
Equity & Excellence Lecture Series
In January, we launched our Presidential Equity & Excellence Lecture Series. The inaugural lecture was an overwhelming success with more than 800 students, faculty, staff and community members in attendance to hear acclaimed activist, author and scholar Dr. Angela Davis’ talk on Building Community: The Case for Educational Equity.
The second lecture in the series, on February 28, featured noted historian, author, and activist Barbara Ransby (pictured right). Dr. Ransby, who is Distinguished Professor of African American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, and History at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), where she directs the campus-wide Social Justice Initiative, spoke on Democratizing Knowledge: Teaching and Learning for Critical Citizenship.
We thank everyone who joined us for these incredible lectures. For those who were not in attendance, the lectures are available online, via the Bremerton Kitsap Access Television Vimeo Channel, here: https://vimeo.com/bkat.
We began the academic year by installing a 20-foot tall inflatable elephant in front of the Bremer Student Center. It was an opportunity to confront the “elephants in our collective living rooms.” More importantly, it was a chance to begin to discuss the unpleasant truths that are too obvious to miss, yet still go ignored. The installation generated numerous discussions with students, faculty, staff and community members who stopped by to see what we were up to.
Keep your eyes peeled for our next pop-up marketing effort. It could be just around the corner! #Equity4Excellence
Vice President for Equity & Inclusion
Cheryl Nuñez is Olympic College's first Vice President for Equity and Inclusion. She was hired in 2015 and is implementing a strategic diversity plan for the College. She is also the Title IX Coordinator, and oversees the Human Resources and Communications departments.
To learn more, visit the Olympic College Equity and Inclusion webpage.