Hate is a strong word. It’s an ugly word. But sometimes it’s an accurate word. It’s a word that we teach our children not to use. But more importantly, we teach them not to hate.
Rarely does anyone say, “I hate you.” But too often they demonstrate hatred. They look at others with cold eyes and tight-lipped mouths. They stare at those they hate, not even blinking – because, to them, blinking is a sign of weakness, a lessening of the hate they feel. Or if they prefer not to stare, they simply refuse to meet your eyes, dismissing you as not worth looking at.
They speak to others in a condescending way, believing that they are not worth speaking to. They insult others – sometimes directly to their faces, and sometimes behind their backs. If they do speak to you, they do so through clenched teeth and closed mouths. They demonstrate hate without having to say it.
They disrespect you. They lie to you. They lie about you. They treat you as an object, something to be used, abused, and discarded when they are through with you.
You are nothing to these people.
The Southwestern College Governing Board has a lot of hatred to give. Whether or not you want it, whether or not you deserve it… they will demonstrate their hatred of you. They have done so in the past, they are doing so right now, and unless things change on November 2nd, they will continue to do so in the future.
Simply so they could keep a lot of money in the bank – money that should have been spent on classes and teachers – your father, the adjunct professor, was laid off. They did not care that without him in front of that class, there would be no one to teach his students.
Your children – the ones who are attending SWC to get their Associates’ degree, or the ones trying to get enough credits to transfer to UCSD, or the ones trying to get a certificate so they can get a better job – are the ones who are suffering.
All so the Board can have $14 million in the bank.
Your wife, who worked for the school, was laid off. She was qualified for the job she held. She very likely attended Southwestern College herself, and loved the idea that she could work for the people that had given her that important education. But like the professors, she was let go.
For her, it was even worse. The college still needed the work done, but she wasn’t there to do it. Instead, the administration hired a “consultant” to do the work that she had done. They paid them more, and worked them less. When they were finished, the consultants went back to Los Angeles, giving nothing back to the community that you and your wife belonged to.
And when you spoke up at a board meeting and asked about these layoffs, what did the Governing Board do?
They lied. They told you that there were “no layoffs of any kind.”
And then they lied to the Union-Tribune, and to The Star News, and La Prensa San Diego, and to any other newspaper and television that would listen.
“We had no layoffs.” Jorge Dominguez, Terri Valladolid and Yolanda Salcido have told everyone that. They’ve bought ads in those same newspapers, and sent flyers to your mailbox that read – in bold type:
“There were no layoffs of any kind.”
But your father, or your wife, is now unemployed and looking for whatever work they can get. You know better. You know there were layoffs. And you know that the Board is lying.
Your son, who is working for the Southwestern College Sun newspaper is labeled an “extremist” by the board, because he disagrees with what they are doing. He is one of those students who were told that they are running a lousy newspaper, because what they should be doing is making the college and the board look good.
Yet the Sun is given awards again and again, and is called “the best community college newspaper in America.” He is earning valuable work experience at the best student newspaper there is. He will have a very good note on his transcript: “staff member at the Southwestern College Sun.”
But if the board has their way, the Sun would cease to exist. And they do not care about your son, his experience, or his transcript.
And if your son is caught carrying a laptop computer out of the newspaper office to work on a story, the campus police can stop and threaten him with arrest. They did so this year to four journalism students – students who were doing nothing more than they needed to do for their class.
The board has $14 million in the bank. That’s what’s important to them. Not your son.
Your daughter has only one class left before she can transfer to one of the University of California schools. But because of the class cuts, she now has to wait. There are students from all over the district who are one or two classes away from being able to transfer, but they can’t. The class she needs is only offered one time, and hundreds of students are trying to get into it. If she’s lucky, maybe next semester she can get in. If not… maybe she can find a job without that education.
Ask around. You’ll find any number of daughters and sons in the same situation she’s in. This is not her fault. It is the fault of our administration and our board. They do not care. The board members buy ads in the newspapers, and announce that there have been “no reductions in the number of classes.”
Tell your daughter that – the girl who has been waiting for six months or a year to take that one class.
The board members are telling people now that the school is “fully accredited.” What they’re not telling you is that they are still on probation from WASC – the group that oversees accreditation in California schools. And unless the board takes responsibility for the terrible way they do things, SWC may very well lose accreditation next year.
And those credits your children have earned will suddenly be worthless.
Then tell all this to your husband. He works hard to keep the bills paid, to keep dinner on the table, to make sure that your children can go to college and get the educations that they want. Tell him.
At work, he hears some other talking about Southwestern College. Someone asks about the laid off teachers, or the students who can’t go to school anymore, or possibly losing accreditation. And someone else answers:
“I heard from Yolanda Salcido” or “Terri Valladolid” or “Jorge Dominguez – none of that happened. Those are lies, made up by extremists.”
Tell him when he comes home and your daughter is still waiting to get into that class.
And tell him it’s not right to hate. He, and you, and your children, and your wife, and your parents are all better than that. They are better than the Governing Board.
Because even though the board loves that money, and they really love their jobs, they don’t care about you at all.
Hate is a strong word, an ugly word. But sometimes it’s an accurate word.
On November 2nd, vote for those who don’t hate you. Vote for those who want to see the professors working, and the students learning, and the employees doing their jobs instead of Los Angeles consultants. Vote for those who won’t lie to you, and about you. Vote for those who believe that those millions of dollars should be spent and not hoarded. Vote for those who believe that they owe the college, not that the college owes them.
On November 2nd, vote for Norma Hernandez, Tim Nader, and Jesseca Saenz-Gonzalez. You can end the hate.
(Spanish translation by Marielle Ceja.)