Friday Letter, 4-14-17

Did you know that our campus safety department did 278 safety checks in our buildings last month? Those happen sometimes when people are here, sometimes when people are not.  But I thought it was an interesting fact.  We indeed have our safety personnel around us and I appreciate the time they spend checking on us.  In talking to Cham, our Campus Safety Director, he indicated that it is important for him to now have the safety officers really get to know names and people so we can develop good connections.  I support that 100%.

Don’t forget the TEACH-IN.  April 24, 1:00-3:00 pm, in Mobius.  Check out the poster here.

Last week I talked about the history of our campus and the peoples who came before us. I supplied the references for those that asked, but (as I expected) I made some mistakes and applied my lens of white colonialism to my report.  I want to thank David Underwood for helping me to understand how complex this history is and how the language in my report actually furthered white privilege and perspective.  I think this topic may be the focus of a future TEACH-IN!!  Regardless, a future Friday Letter will be coming to help us understand those mistakes.

This week I attended an evening town hall in Redmond given by Congresswoman Susan del Bene. The gym at Lake Washington High School was packed.  They started off the evening by introducing me and the mayors of the surrounding cities that were in attendance.  It was nice to be the only non-elected public official to be recognized.  I’m glad the congresswoman thinks that highly of Cascadia and recognizes us as a community resource.  My point in mentioning this event actually falls along a different theme.  The audience was encouraged to ask questions.  Many of the questions had a tone and an emotion behind them that was accusatory.  It was “furious”, not “curious”.  I’ve always been taught to be “curious” first and “furious” later.  But that’s not how it went down.  I have so much respect for the congresswoman because she always thanked every individual for their question, recognized their concern, and answered directly.  She also has an excellent command over the issues.  There was not one thing asked where she did not know details.  And those details often provided the perspective that the questioner lacked and it diffused the anger.

The moral of my story is that we need to be a culture of inquiry. We need to ask the questions that give us the details before making the assumption of authenticity.  We do that pretty well here at Cascadia, but it was a nice reminder to constantly ask questions, AND ask the questions in a way so that we seek positive outcomes.  I was able to visit both exempt and classified assemblies this week.  I think both groups did a good job of being positively inquisitive.

As a reminder, there is a Board meeting next week, budget council is starting to hear requests, we’re talking about parking, and there are about a 1000 other things going on. Graduation will be here before you know it.

Have a great weekend.

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