Here is a message I sent to the College community about an extremely important topic at PCC.
In January 2015, I approved Pima Community College’s Diversity Statement as a welcome to celebrate and foster the diversity and contributions of students, faculty, staff, and administrators, while emphasizing the inclusiveness of our college community. In light of the recent tragedies across the country, specifically in St. Louis, Missouri and San Bernardino, California, and comments made during the current political campaign, I would like to reflect on PCC’s commitment to diversity, inclusion, and social justice and ensure we maintain the utmost levels of civility and respect for all.
During my leadership and through the creation of the PCC Diversity Committee, I am dedicated to promoting student success, community engagement, and transparent communication through the stories like those of Celeste Nunez. Ms. Nunez is a PCC alumnus, and the first student in the six-decade history of the Arizona Town Hall to serve on its Board of Directors. As a first-generation and predominantly Spanish-speaking student, Celeste says that, “Having instructors that were an email or phone call away, and would go above and beyond, made all the difference in my success at Pima Community College.”
On any given day, the College serves a broad variety of learner needs, from the concurrently enrolled high school student, to the newly arrived refugee student, to the first-generation ESL learner. PCC programs span the advanced needs of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) guidelines in our unique Aviation Technology program, and meet articulation transfer requirements for students who choose to complete their associate degrees and transfer to universities throughout the nation. We serve more students through our Adult Basic Education Programs than anyone in Southern Arizona. PCC also recognizes the more mature learners and students over 50 retraining for second careers in new high-demand occupational fields. The students in these programs come from varied backgrounds, have different learning needs, and range in ages from 15-50+, but as the PCC Diversity Statement says, “Our differences are our strength and a source of innovation, excellence, and competitiveness.”
For more than a century, community colleges have stood as the open door to higher education, and, as democracy’s colleges. We uphold equity and social justice, and our open doors ensure equal access and opportunity. I will continue to work on behalf of PCC to support diverse ideas, safe learning environments, secure policies and practices, and to value multicultural education that unifies us as a learning community through open ideas and expression.