Santa Barbara City College President Anthony Beebe sent two more letters to the campus community on November 29 and December 3, following up on the November 14 incident when Vice President Lyndsay Maas used the N-word during a gender equity meeting. In the November 29 letter, Beebe acknowledged and addressed black students, staff, and faculty. “I want to recognize and say directly to our Black/African-American students, staff, and faculty that your courageous comments at various public meetings and in private discussion have been instrumental. I hear you, I see you, I believe you, and I am deeply sorry for the harm you have faced, the institutional response, and my contributions to that harm,” wrote Beebe. Prior to the letter being sent, African-Americans on campus had expressed their frustration with not being considered or addressed in the letters and apologies sent out to the campus.
“He kind of got it right,” said Akil Hill, a black staff member at SBCC. “When the institution gets it right, people need to say that,” he added. In both letters, Beebe addressed two of the three demands made by the black faculty and staff association and the SBCC Coalition for Justice. Beebe reached out to the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights for guidance on moving forward with investigations. Beebe also reached out to UCSB to learn about the independent body that responds to and investigates hate incidents on their campus.
In the December 3 letter, Beebe described the steps being taken to implement an all-campus training. In addition, speakers from UCLA are being invited to the campus to present on racial microaggressions in higher education and the impacts of poverty and racism on the success of students.
However, not everyone on campus is pleased with the letters. “For me, it’s just too late,” said Krystle Farmer. “We had to demand and beg for these emails to be sent. We get to the point of losing our sanity just to be seen, just to be heard. Where is the process before that that humanizes us, that makes us feel valued?” In regard to the request for Maas’s resignation, “We are still asking for her to step down, not for the college to terminate her,” said Hill. “It’s the right thing to do in her position of power.”