I am writing today with a heavy heart and a strong resolve for our community to come together in the wake of the senseless act of violence and hate that occurred at Chabad of Poway on Saturday, April 27th. On behalf of MiraCosta College, I offer sincere condolences to the entire Jewish community and the families impacted by this tragedy that was motivated by hate and anti semitism.
This horrific incident occurred in the north county region and our MiraCosta College community was impacted. The individual killed was the mother of a MiraCosta College alum. This comes on the heels of an arson and hate crime at Dar-ul-Arqam, a mosque in Escondido, for which the perpetrator also claimed responsibility.
I am also extremely disheartened to share that we learned late on Friday that a swastika and derogatory racial slur about Black and African American people was found written on a cushion on the second floor patio of our San Elijo Campus Student Center. Late this afternoon, another bias incident was reported on the Oceanside Campus involving a defaced flyer with a swastika and a homophobic statement. Investigations into each of these matters are underway.
We are not immune to hate on our campuses and are committed to combating any acts of hatred.
We stand in solidarity with the Jewish, Black, African American, Muslim, LGBTQIA+, and other impacted communities on our campuses, across the United States and around the world. We condemn all acts of racism and terrorism. Acts of hate have no place at MiraCosta College, and any person found responsible for such acts will be held accountable.
At MiraCosta College, we are committed to fostering an environment of inclusion that values, honors, and respects our diverse college community. We are reminded that our words and actions carry great weight. Each of us holds a personal responsibility, through our shared humanity, to work toward building a world that is free from discrimination, harassment, and violence against people based on their race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, and other identities.
We are stronger together and must stand united in transitioning our words into actions. Therefore, MiraCosta’s priorities include a call to action and mobilizing support for our community as follows:
A team has been established to organize a series of actions starting within the following weeks on all MiraCosta College site locations.
As part of our MiraCosta culture of CARE and Support, the MiraCosta CARES team is available to provide students with information about on-campus and off-campus resources. Students can go to the Office of Student Life & Judicial Affairs (Oceanside Campus Student Center, Room 3341), the San Elijo Student Life & Leadership Office (San Elijo Campus Student Center, Room 929), or call the MiraCosta CARES hotline at 442.262.2200. The Health Services mental health counseling team is also available for students on the Oceanside Campus (Room 3326) and San Elijo Campus (Room 922).
All MiraCosta employees are eligible to receive confidential services to help with a variety of personal challenges. The Employee Assistance Services for Education (EASE) program provides free, short-term counseling over the phone or by appointment. To learn more, please contact the EASE Program at 800.722.3273.
To ensure your safety, College Police and leadership are on high alert and it is critical that we consistently report all bias or hate incidents on our campuses. If you see a bias incident occur or know any additional information on the above-mentioned incident, please complete a Bias Incident Report OR notify MiraCosta College Police immediately at 760.795.6640 or 6911 from any campus phone.
Together, as a community, we must work to rise above this and fight hate to ensure the safety of our campuses.
Our goal is to educate our community to be inclusive and supportive of diversity and equity, and to provide an environment that protects MiraCosta College from acts of hate, discrimination, and violence. Please join me in taking action and standing in solidarity with our students, faculty, staff, and administrators, which will enable us to start the healing process and ultimately help to prevent these types of heinous events in the future.
Sunita V. Cooke, Ph.D.