Las Positas College Statement on Hate Speech
November 29, 2023
The college administration is aware of an incident involving a verbal altercation between two individuals that occurred on our campus yesterday which has raised concern in our community. The incident was recorded and posted widely on various social media channels. The comments made in the video, and many comments made in response to the video, are hateful and offensive and have no place in our community, where we strive to create a safe, inclusive, caring, and supportive learning and working environment for all students and employees. Las Positas College stands firmly against hate speech. Harassment, antisemitism, islamophobia and all hate speech are unacceptable and do not reflect the mission and values of our college.
The safety and well-being of all students and employees on our campus remains our highest priority. When we receive reports of harassment or threatening behavior, we take immediate action to support our campus community. I encourage students and employees to report such incidents to: firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need immediate assistance, please contact Campus Safety & Security at (925) 424-1690 (non-emergency) or (925) 424-1699 (emergency).
As an inclusive college environment, we respect the diversity that is represented within our student body and within our broader community. The college’s commitment to supporting a diverse community requires an equally strong commitment to freedom of expression. Freedom of expression at Las Positas College, however, is not without limits and the college remains committed to providing an environment that respects the dignity of individuals and groups and is free of harassment and discrimination. The following district procedures define forms of harassment on campus, and the procedure for the investigation and resolution of complaints of harassment by or against any staff or faculty member or student within the district: Prohibition of Harassment (AP 3430) and Discrimination and Harassment Complaint Procedures (AP 3435).
We remain deeply saddened by the ongoing escalation of violence, loss of life, destruction, and suffering that has affected both Jewish and Palestinian communities. Our thoughts and sympathies go out to all those affected by this devastating situation. We continue to hope for a peaceful resolution to this complex and deeply rooted conflict and encourage our campus community to continue to support each other with empathy and understanding as we navigate these difficult times together.
Dyrell Foster, Ed.D.
Las Positas College Statement on Freedom of Expression
October 18, 2023
Las Positas College provides an inclusive, learning-centered, equity-focused environment that strives to support and empower students to develop the knowledge, skills, values, and abilities needed to become engaged participants and leaders in their communities. As an inclusive college environment, we welcome and support the diversity that is represented within our student body and within our broader community. The college’s commitment to fostering a diverse, inclusive community demands an equally strong commitment to freedom of expression.
Las Positas College promotes and protects the freedom of expression for all members of our community. Students, employees, and members of the public shall be free to exercise their rights of free expression, subject to the requirements of the following Chabot-Las Positas Community College District Board Policy and Procedure: Speech: Time, Place, And Manner: Board Policy 3900 and Administrative Procedure 3905. As a public institution our college is identified as a designated public forum and shall be available for community use, as long as the use does not interfere with scheduled instructional programs or activities. In accordance with the law and Board Policy 6700, no organizations shall be denied the use of District facilities because of the content of the speech to be undertaken during the use.
It is our hope that all members of our campus community, including visitors, consider carefully the use of words that may harm others. By protecting the freedom of expression, we recognize that on occasion it may appear to some members of our community that the college is not honoring our commitment to providing a safe, welcoming, inclusive campus environment; however, legal protections for free expression may sometimes supersede our college values of civility and mutual respect, therefore we can only encourage members of our community to consider these values carefully in exercising their fundamental right to free expression.
We also recognize that some words and phrases (or printed materials) may be particularly offensive or painful to individuals, members of certain groups, or those who have been historically marginalized. On occasion some members of the community may strongly disagree with the speech of others, or may view the expression of certain ideas as harmful. On these occasions, members of the campus community may choose to walk away, to not engage, or to respond by openly contesting the ideas that they oppose. Freedom of expression necessarily includes the freedom to engage in non-disruptive counter-speech or protest.
Freedom of expression at Las Positas College is not without limits. In accordance with our district policies:
- Persons using and/or distributing materials on campus public forums shall not impede the progress of passersby, nor shall they force any passerby to take material
- No person shall touch, strike or impede the progress of a passerby, except for incidental or accidental contact or contact initiated by a passerby
- A person shall not use any means of amplification that creates noise or diversion that substantially disrupts classroom or college/district/campus activities or operations, or the orderly conduct of the college/campus, district site, classes or operations
Questions regarding our district’s policies regarding freedom of expression on campus may be directed to Campus Safety and Security at (925) 424-1690.
Our commitment to freedom of expression does not mean that our college must itself remain neutral to ideas or beliefs expressed. As an institution, we have a responsibility and the autonomy to communicate our institutional mission and values through ongoing discussion in our classrooms, and with our students, faculty, classified professionals, and administrators. These discussions regarding our understanding of freedom of expression will enable each of us, and our students, to develop effective tools for engaging in productive and robust dialogue.
Dyrell Foster, Ed.D.