Racism strikes again, in the same building


Ethan Anderson

A mass text was sent out to DVC students today at 10:33 a.m., however some students report that the receive no notification. (Ethan Anderson/The Inquirer).

Ethan Anderson, Photo editor

For the third time this semester, communities of color have been attacked on the Diablo Valley College Pleasant Hill campus.

At 9 a.m., President Susan Lamb sent out an email intended to reach the entire student body to inform them that, “this morning we learned of racist graffiti in a men’s bathroom in the ET building. The handwritten message was directed at members of our DVC Year Up program and Black communities,” Lamb said in the email. There was no picture provided, instead, she claimed the message consisted of the “N-word.”

The graffiti said, “F**k Year Up N*****s.”

The Year Up Bay Area program is designed to give students from low-income backgrounds an edge in the STEM department, by providing internships at some of the best technological institutes California has to offer. The 35-hour-per-week opportunity also provides a stipend of up to $200 per month during your first semester and $1000 per month during your internship.

According to the DVC website, the program is an “intensive, one-year technology-training program for Diablo Valley College students that combines hands-on skill development with professional internships at some of the Bay Area’s top companies — like Salesforce, Twitter, GE Digital, Workday, and Bank of the West.”

In the email sent out by Lamb, she claimed to have been notified of the incident this morning, as campus police monitored the ET building while the custodial staff removed the graffiti, all before classes began. However, the campus police were seen outside of the men’s bathroom last night and refused to let individuals enter, according to Industrial Design and Advance Manufacturing professor Jeffrey Smith.

“Honestly I was going to go to the restroom but there was a police officer in there. He kind of locked the door and kept everyone out. This was last night and they were going to deal with it. So I never saw it,” said Smith. “I kind of hear about it how you guys hear about it.”

Students can contact the division dean offices in order to see the graffiti for themselves; although the original message was taken down, a picture was taken. Students are allowed to see the photo because of new efforts at “transparency,” according to Lamb.

However, students are not allowed to have a copy of the image or take a personal photo themselves.

Racist graffiti was found on the Pleasant Hill campus March 6, March 26, and now May 16. After the campus’ response to the March 6 incident, students held a walkout and rally March 13 to force action by administration. A list of demands was presented, organized by student activists.

As a direct result of these demands, task forces have been formed to implement change.

A text regarding the recent incident was sent by school officials Thursday morning, intended to reach the whole student body. But some did not receive it – including Associated Students of Diablo Valley College President, Yuvia Mendoza.

“I did not receive a text from anyone, a friend told me to check my Insite email,” said Mendoza.

Music major Katie Kelly never received a text, either.

“(I) did not know [and] did not get the text,” she said.

Same with biology major James Bren. “I never got the text,” said Bren.

In the Fall, the Communication Plan and Process Taskforce will be dealing with communication between administrative leaders and students, to find the most effective way to keep in contact. Many solutions have been set forward by both students and faculty, who have begun to work together.

Rosa Armendariz, the Dean of Student Engagement and Equity, posed a possible solution:

“What I’m thinking [as] the task force is meeting next Tuesday: there are ideas on how to bring students together again in this last week, the finals. I’m thinking about how to [put] messages in the bathrooms,” said Armendariz. “Maybe we need to have posters or messages in there that talk about what we stand for, counteracting the graffitis.”

Armendariz has previously championed awareness to high school students in the area, according to Saud Molaib, a member of MESA.

The movement is still ongoing and change is in the works. Students and faculty will come together as a part of DVC’s new equity program in the Fall, to continue the fight against racism on campus.

For students that need support, there are counselors available at: (925) 969-2140 for the Pleasant Hill campus, (925) 551-6209 for San Ramon or [email protected] if students would prefer to reach out through email.

Editor’s Note: The following staff contributed to this story: Edwin Chen, George Elias, Samantha Laurey, Gavin Rock, Pavlina Markova, Sean McKenna, and Isabel Villalobos.