Racism and Acts of Intolerance

The Community Colleges have long been committed to providing educational opportunities to all who seek and can benefit from them, as evidenced in the mission statements and policies concerning student rights, affirmative action, and equal opportunity. The Board and the colleges recognize that an important part of providing opportunity is creating a welcoming environment in which all people are able to work and study together, regardless of their differences. At the same time, colleges and Universities have traditionally been at the cutting edge of protection of our most cherished freedoms, most notably freedom of speech and non-violent action, which protect even unpopular or divisive ideas and perspectives. Such constitutionally-protected expression can contribute to an unwelcoming and even offensive social and educational environment for some individuals in the college community, particularly when it concerns race, religion, sex, sexual orientation, disability, national origin, or ethnicity, and the first amendment does not preclude colleges from taking affirmative steps to sensitize the college community to the effects of creating such a negative environment. Therefore, the community colleges recognize that they have an obligation not only to punish proscribed actions, but also to provide programs which promote pluralism and diversity and encourage the college community to respect and appreciate the value and dignity of every person and his or her right to an atmosphere not only free of harassment, hostility, and violence but supportive of individual academic, personal, social, and professional growth. Acts of racism or harassment directed against individuals or specific groups of individuals will not be tolerated and will be dealt with under the employee affirmative action grievance procedures and the student grievance and disciplinary procedures. Each college will provide a comprehensive educational program designed to foster understanding of differences and the value of cultural diversity. This will include plans to (1) promote pluralism, (2) educate the college community about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors to increase sensitivity and encourage acceptance, and (3) widely disseminate this policy statement to the entire college community.