Letter to the Editor: A response from Susan Lamb

Susan Lamb

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent to all faculty on Wednesday. As a prominent figure of the campus community, The Inquirer respects Lamb’s right to disagree with our editorial published on March 11. However, The Inquirer believes our editorial accurately reflects the feelings of many students in the DVC community, especially ones we interviewed. We welcome further dialogue with administration but The Inquirer stands by our original editorial.

Dear DVC Inquirer Editorial Board,

In your March 11, 2019 Editorial Board Opinion, you indicated that “Lamb did not notify students right away because she and administration were held up in meetings and other arrangements.” I feel that this statement misrepresents the information that I provided the Inquirer reporters.

When I talked with your reporter, I explained that the delay was due to not wanting to compromise the police investigation and to ensuring that we had counseling and other support services in place before we notified students of the racist graffiti. I did mention that some of us were attending funeral services on behalf of a colleague during that same time period, but I am unsure if that is what you were referring to in your Opinion statement.

In an imminent threat situation, we will send out an immediate notice by text to take action (such as shelter in place or lockdown) with additional information to follow. In situations such as graffiti or a situation that is not an immediate threat, we will always make sure that support services (such as counseling) are in place before we notify students of the incident.

In this situation, we also were working to ensure that “porch talks” and other conversations were convened within our learning communities and across the broader campus, and making sure that faculty and staff had the resources to initiate these conversations. We are hopeful that these conversations can lead to on-going discussions on our campus around racism, sexism, homophobia, etc., and help us to create a more inclusive community.

I understand that there are individuals who have differing opinions and feel that students should be notified of every incident immediately. And perhaps, you are right….

These decisions are not easy.  We struggle to balance the need for immediate and accurate information with the need to provide student support and to not escalate the situation. We also are mindful of not compromising an active police investigation or increasing the possibility of additional incidents due to individuals seeking attention.

Hate crimes at their very roots seek to divide communities and create more hate. I, myself am angry that an individual would come on our campus, trash our facilities, and express their hate. This is especially troubling as we try to create a nurturing and caring environment for our students. As we move forward in our conversations, I am confident that DVC can work together to form an inclusive community for all students that celebrates differences while intentionally communicating and working together to address concerns.