COCC President's Message to College Employees

Finding Hope and Purpose in These Troubling Times

Dear Colleagues -

As we witnessed the violence and disruption to our democracy in Washington, DC, many of us likely felt a wide range of powerful emotions. I know that I did and still am.

But I am also thinking about our roles at COCC, and I find both hope and purpose. As employees of an institution of higher learning, we are inherently stewards of education's highest potential. We can and should model open, honest, and civil discourse. We can center education's ability to promote empathy and learning from differences in people, ideas, and organizations. Through education, we can help instill respect for the dignity of all persons and forge stronger communities. And in order to facilitate this kind of community-transforming education, we also must ensure a healthy and safe learning environment for all.

So let me be clear: there is no place for violence and hate at COCC.

The College's commitment to nonviolence is longstanding. 2021 marks the 13th anniversary of our annual Season of Nonviolence, which is co-presented each year by the College's Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the COCC Foundation's Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar program. Our communities need this programming now more than ever. Inspired by the work of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., César Chávez, and Chief Wilma Mankiller, the Season for Nonviolence honors these leaders' visions for an empowered, nonviolent world. Our programming this year will once again bring together speakers and partners to educate and empower our community on how to use non-violent methods to create a more peaceful world. The COCC Foundation and the Office of Diversity and Inclusion will announce the event lineup next Tuesday, Jan 12, and their timing could not be more crucial. 

Please remember to take care of yourself, your families and loved ones, and all those in your community—whether or not you agree with their beliefs. If you're struggling, please reach out. You're not alone in those powerful emotions, and COCC has support for our employees and students during these challenging times.

Thank you for being a fellow steward of higher education with me.

Stay peaceful and stay safe,

Dr. Laurie Chesley
COCC President