Welcome Back!

Welcome back, and I hope everyone enjoyed their spring break. Over the break, César Chávez Day was observed on March 31st. This holiday celebrates the birth and legacy of the civil rights labor movement activist whose lifetime commitment to empowering silenced voices continues to inspire us today. To learn more about the holiday, and to read the 2022 White House César Chávez Day Proclamation, click here.

National Deaf History Month
The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) has declared mid-March through mid-April as National Deaf History Month. The intent of this designation is to spread awareness about American deaf history and to highlight the experiences of people who are deaf and hard of hearing. We have a great upcoming opportunity to learn more by attending our Palomar Equity Speakers Series event featuring Catarina Rivera who will be speaking about her personal journey with disability, being hard of hearing, ableism and its societal presence, her perspective on intersectionality as a disabled Latina, and her work as an entrepreneur and content creator. The event will be held virtually, Thursday, April 14th from 4:00pm-5:15pm. More information is available here and the zoom link can be found here.

Community Engagement
This week I met with CSUSM College President, Dr. Ellen Neufeldt and MiraCosta College President, Dr. Sunny Cooke. We discussed, and planned, how to strengthen the relationship between our three institutions with a specific focus on what we want to accomplish through our North County Higher Education Alliance (NCHEA). Our NCHEA partnership has been extremely successful in supporting and improving the educational opportunities for North County citizens for many years. NCHEA promotes working relationships and active communication among faculty, staff, and students at our three institutions by focusing on student learning and the seamless transfer of students from lower to upper division programs. A special thanks to Luis Guerro, Matt Grills, and Marti Snyder who have been working closely with me in order to assure the continued success of this critical alliance.

Campus Engagement
During the Governing Board meeting this week, the Board passed a resolution officially proclaiming support of faculty, staff, and administrators who are working toward achieving our Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) goals and objectives. This resolution, along with our Title IX policies and procedures, substantiates the District’s commitment to protecting the health and safety of our employees.

At the same meeting, President of the Palomar College Faculty Senate, Rocco Versaci, included in his report a statement in support of creating a safe and supportive environment for all employees who are involved with our District’s DEI efforts. The statement, supported by the Faculty Senate and its subcommittee, Educators for Equity, Diversity, and Cultural Consciousness, called for college leadership to implement policies and procedures that address threats against faculty with a sense of urgency. The following seven items were specifically called out:

  • Acknowledgement and transparency of threats to Palomar employees  
  • Swift and public condemnation of threatening and hateful attacks  
  • Response with urgency to support employees  
  • Immediately draft a plan to respond to these threats, which will then be brought to all constituent groups for feedback and input   
  • Proactive and intentional actions to provide protection and safety by creating and implementing practices to cultivate a physically and psychologically safe environment, rather than a reactive approach that places burden on targeted employees  
  • Develop a safe reporting mechanism in collaboration with EEDCCC and HR to keep a record, provide support, and accountability  
  • Align intention with action for social justice, DEI, and antiracism work and Palomar employees who conduct/embody these efforts for the Palomar College community  

I would like to take this time to underscore that I, and the Governing Board, are prepared to address these concerns immediately. Initial conversations already took place this past week at our All-District Leadership meeting and College Council meeting. I have also already scheduled, for our next Governing Board meeting, a presentation that summarizes and discusses the District’s current protections in place to ensure a safe working and learning environment for students and employees.

Please note, any student or employee who feels unsafe for any reason, is strongly encouraged to immediately contact our Title IX officer, Shawn Cohen (scohen@palomar.edu) at 760-744-1150 ext. 2608 or may choose to utilize the Unlawful Discrimination Complaint Form to file a discrimination or Title IX/sexual misconduct concern associated with any student or employee. In addition, the Student Incident Report is available to report any alleged student code of conduct violation or student concern that requires basic needs resources. For more information on resources and support, please visit the following webpage. Also please note, our Assistant Superintendent/Vice President of Human Resources, David Montoya (dmontoya@palomar.edu) is prepared to make himself readily available for any concerns or questions. These efforts remain a top priority for the District, and I will keep you updated on forthcoming discussions and associated results. Hate is not a Palomar College value and district leadership is prepared to protect the rights and safety of our community members.

Also, in the spirit of keeping our campus community safe, a very big thank you to Heather Schmidt with CCC Tech Connect who created a micro-training video on how to deter unwanted behavior during zoom meetings. The video has been closed-captioned for accessibility. Here is the link to the very useful video.

This week we held our COVID-19 Update meeting. We will be hosting a vaccination clinic on April 14th from 10:00am–2:00p.m. in the Student Union Quad (note: GradFest will also be held on this day). COVID monitors, in addition to serving San Marcos and Fallbrook, are now set up at the Escondido Library. As of now, no major changes to our current COVID-19 procedures are scheduled for the rest of the semester. The recording of the meeting can be found here. As a reminder, if you are not feeling well, please refrain from coming to campus, and fill out this form so we are able to support you.

Comets of the Week
Congratulations to our Media Studies and Digital Broadcast Arts colleagues! The Broadcast Education Association (BEA) has announced its first annual rankings of schools based on the creative achievement of their students. Palomar made the list, coming in at #91, in the company of some other great media programs around the country. You can read the full announcement from BEA here. Congrats and job well done!


Have a great upcoming week. Go Comets!

For pictures of the various events, follow:
Twitter: @palomardrstar
Instagram: @palomardrstar