Concerns voiced at DVC listening circle


Samantha Laurey

The staircase leading up the Diablo Room. The DVC Inquirer was advised to not take photography to provide a safe space for students. (Samantha Laurey/The Inquirer).

Pavlina Markova, Staff member

In the light of recent events regarding the racist graffiti, students and faculty staff of Diablo Valley College gathered Tuesday in the Diablo Room to share and listen to concerns and thoughts on Tuesday, March 12. The listening circle conducted in a fishbowl fashion where students could approach the center of the room and speak to one another about their experiences. 

Staff from many different disciplines showed up to support the students, nonetheless, President Susan Lamb didn’t attend the event as she was reportedly in a chancellor meeting for funds according to interim Vice President of Student Services Brian Clemetson.

Student Activities coordinator Sara Larkin and Minority Student Retention Specialist NaTisha Hudson led the discussion as students had the opportunity to share their thoughts and worries.  Many students came in front to share how their experience at school is different from non-black students and how they felt when they learned about the graffiti. Due to the nature of the event and to protect the identities of students in their most vulnerable moments, The DVC Inquirer has made all of the following concerns from students anonymous at the request of Larkin.

Many of the students who came to express their thoughts and feelings didn’t think that the administration did a good job addressing and handling the incident. The school promotes itself as diverse, but the students didn’t feel like DVC attains diversity when it comes to actions.

One student criticized DVC stating that “they (DVC) advertise us as providing diversity but we don’t feel like a priority.”

Many students pointed out that they didn’t feel like the administration was standing behind them. This was emphasized even more when the absence of president Susan Lamb was addressed during the circle. 

“I feel like the school just needs to stand up and have our backs,” said one of the speakers.

According to two students, during the circle, dean of Student Services Emily Stone was allegedly texting when students were sharing their thoughts. DVC students Ivory Ennis and Whitney Johnson also stated that Stone was rolling her eyes at points, and continued to text even after she was asked to put her phone away.

Stone said she was communicating with staff to approve the student-lead walkout that was held on Wednesday.

The initial reactions to the discovery of the graffiti were also discussed, many students feeling outraged and disappointed that it was discovered on campus.

“When I heard the news, it made me angry,” said one of the students who stepped in the middle of the circle to share their thoughts.

And it didn’t end with anger; sadness, anxiousness, and fear found their way into some of the students’ minds, too. Students described feeling like they had to be constantly on guard, especially on campus, when they saw that something like this can happen at their school.

“I shouldn’t have to feel like that at my school,” said another one of the speakers.

Many of the speakers expressed worries about how the administration is going to react to future problems, if at all, and how the issue or racism could develop further.

“Right now, people are writing this in the bathroom. Next, they are gonna verbalize it. Once it’s verbalized, someone’s gonna get hurt.” said a DVC student. 

In connection to that, many participants voiced their displeasure about how the school handled the incident.

“I think they were trying to keep the situation on the low,” said one of the students who spoke during the event.

Students didn’t only want to talk but expressed that an action needs to be taken in order to see changes and move forward with battling racism on campus.

“How many times is DVC just gonna talk about it? We’ve talked about it so many times. When is something going to be done?” said one of the students who stepped in to voice her thoughts.

In the end, Hudson had to cut the conversation short when the event was over but students sure have many more words to say and many more actions to take.

“We just want you to know that you have people standing behind you,” said Hudson to seal the event.

Editor’s Note: Editor in chief Emma Hall contributed to this article.