Here you will find an archive of messages sent to the Dominican community from President Nicola Pitchford.
While we knew that today’s US Supreme Court ruling effectively ending the practice of race-conscious admissions in higher education was almost inevitable, it is nevertheless painful. Extensive research shows the harm done to our shared goals of equity and inclusion, of equal access to education and social mobility and of culturally rich learning for all, when individual states have ended or banned admissions practices that actively seek to counterbalance the long history of systemic exclusion in the US.
I am so pleased to announce that our friend and colleague Jessica Jordan has accepted my invitation to serve permanently in the role of Vice President for Advancement and Alumni Engagement.
Vice President Jordan has served Dominican since 2018, as Assistant Vice President for Alumni Engagement, Annual Fund, and Advancement Services. A seasoned advancement professional and gifted, empathetic supervisor, Jessica brings to the vice presidency particular expertise in alumni engagement and donor relations.
It’s my pleasure to announce that Javier Zamora, author of the bestselling new memoir Solito, will deliver our Commencement address this May. Solito tells the story of Zamora’s journey—at the age of nine, traveling with a group of strangers and a “coyote”—from El Salvador to San Rafael, California. Zamora was reunited with his parents, three-thousand grueling miles later and following the ordeal of a border crossing, and he came to reside in San Rafael’s Canal neighborhood.
Today is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. We know that among the roughly 11 million victims of the German Nazi regime who were murdered between the late 1930s and 1945 – an intentional campaign of mass murder and genocide that targeted Roma people, disabled people, Slavs, LGBTQ people, prisoners of war, and members of the anti-Nazi resistance – the largest single targeted population were Jewish civilians, of whom some 6 million were killed. There is no question that the Holocaust centered on a deliberate plan to eradicate European Jews, of every age and gender.
Excerpt: "The awful loss of life resulting from gun violence in recent days is at once unthinkable and all too familiar. I regret that my words will be of little comfort compared to the depth of pain and vulnerability that many of us, especially members of our Asian American and Pacific Islander community, are feeling at this time. Still, I wish to express my grief, to embrace you, and to offer love and solidarity. "
Excerpt: "Martin Luther King, Jr., Day is Monday, January 16, and classes at Dominican begin the following day. I write today to welcome you to the new semester, to wish you a safe and refreshing weekend ahead of a bustling spring, and to invite your (continuing) partnership in advancing Dr. King’s vision for racial justice and systematized equity."
Excerpt: "Sunday is Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of Black Americans from slavery. On June 19, 1865, a Union general arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed enslaved Black Americans that the Civil War was over and they were free. It had been more than two years since President Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation."
Dear campus community,
It breaks my heart that at the very moment we were celebrating together at Commencement on Saturday, lifting up the accomplishments and endurance of a community of graduates that represents the rich diversity of this country and the potential for change, a mass shooting born of hate took place in New York State.
I will say here only that I mourn with you and I am angry with those of you who are angry, although I am not directly targeted by the anti-Blackness that underlay Saturday's murders. I reaffirm the joy and beauty of what we make here together every day as a learning community committed to change, and I commit that we'll continue to learn when we – when I – get things wrong.
Faculty and staff, students and graduates, you've accomplished so much. You've built a good and loving place. Some of the words from a poem by Mexican-American writer Ada Limón that I read at my official Inauguration on Friday have been echoing in my head this weekend:
Look, we are not unspectacular things.
We’ve come this far, survived this much. What
would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?
My wish for Dominican and for us: survive more, love harder –
"With this federal recognition, Dominican joins a small minority of higher ed institutions (less than 20%) that together enroll a large proportion of students of color in the US. Having the official designation does two things for us: it publicly confirms an identity — and an achievement — that is central to our mission and our values, and it opens the door for Dominican to apply for competitive federal funding opportunities that might help us continue to deepen our commitment to serving and supporting diverse students."
Excerpt: "The pandemic has put a strain on all of us, and on the University. Through these uncertain times, though I know we have experienced anxiety, frustration, and even grief, I want to acknowledge the resilience and compassion of this community, which are so admirable. Thank you for your patience, your attention to evolving guidance, and for practicing both self-care and care for one another."
Excerpt: "(...) Dominican has made a formal commitment to deepen some of our most long-standing and precious community partnerships: those with Canal Alliance and Voces del Canal (San Rafael) as well as Performing Stars of Marin (Marin City)."
"Dear campus friends,
There was a rainbow this morning over west Marin. Along with the latest atmospheric river, this is perhaps a message: slow down, hug your family and friends if you can, and be safe and cozy. That’s what I wish for all of us as we approach the winter break (and I am sending this ahead of time as I know many of you will be starting your vacation early, an excellent idea)."
Excerpt: "In Brunswick, Georgia, the jury has just returned guilty verdicts (predominantly) in the case against the killers of Ahmaud Arbery. Our reactions to this news may be complex. I’m familiar with Brunswick and some of its history, as I have family nearby; I was actually there last week. My heart aches for Arbery’s loved ones."
Excerpt: "Today, I write to express Dominican’s solidarity with Maia Kobabe, BFA Studio Art ’11. Maia has been making unwelcome national headlines recently, as politicians and school districts seek to ban Maia’s award-winning graphic novel/memoir, Gender Queer."
Excerpt: "Following yesterday’s not-guilty verdict in the Kenosha shootings trial, I want to affirm Dominican’s commitment to dismantling white supremacy and honoring people of all backgrounds and identities."
Excerpt: "Today, I write with an update about the search for leadership in enrollment management and marketing, following Vickie Alleman’s departure in early August (that is, her departure from the role of vice president, though she has been supporting select marketing efforts and the search for a director of marketing in a part-time capacity)."
Excerpt: "It is deeply gratifying to see campus buzzing with activity again. At the end of next week, there will be even more happy buzzing, when our students’ loved ones join us for Family Weekend."
Excerpt: "Thank you sincerely for the massive amount of work you’ve done to make possible that first week—and this week, and the next and next—everything from recruiting students, packaging their aid and managing their payments, to onboarding new colleagues, to creating thoughtful and challenging syllabi and assignments, to beautifying our surroundings and ensuring our safety, to wrangling the data that will help us track where things are going well and where we need to move."
Excerpt: "Although we are a small community, we have within us the capacity to confront racism and build a stronger, more just, more equitable society. Now is the time to recommit as individuals and as a community to our Declaration for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. This declaration, so clearly essential, was envisioned by Dominican's Diversity Action Group (DAG), a cadre of faculty, staff, students, and administration. It is our responsibility to continue to elevate this important work."
Excerpt: "As a diverse university with a mission that declares our shared faith in the possibility that we can learn together, with all of our community, and also deepen that learning and turn it outward in service, Dominican welcomes and affirms such hope. We also mourn together, and will continue to make space to honor and listen to one another’s anger as well as our commitment to making further change. We work for a world in which all have access to education, autonomy, and the basic safety to reach their full potential."
Faculty, Staff, and Students, Dominican’s community simply would not exist without the work and presence of Asian-American students, colleagues, community partners, and families. As this country echoes the worst patterns of its racist history during the current pandemic, we decry the rise in anti-Asian hate and violence and affirm that honoring all people and dismantling white supremacy are non-negotiable and indispensable to our work as a university. We stand as an indivisible community dedicated to growth, to knowledge, to wisdom, and to making those things accessible to all.
To our Asian and Asian-American students, colleagues, and other members of our community: at this time of grief and anger and stress, know that this University stands with you. Please draw on the University’s resources for support. These resources include the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; the members of the Diversity Action Group and ASDU’s Student Diversity Advocacy Committee; the leaders and members of student organizations including Kapamilya, Black Student Union, Latine Unidos, and PRIDE; our Human Resources colleagues and the Employee Assistance Program; University Counseling Services; and Campus Ministry. In addition, the Office of the President and the Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Affairs are here to support and stand with you.
To those who seek to be effective allies: let us listen, look out, learn, speak up, and love. There are numerous resources available for ongoing self-education and action in the DAG Repository.
In short, prejudice, discrimination, and racist and sexist violence are always unacceptable. Dominican must continue working to be part of the solution, and continue to build a community of inclusion.
Mary B. Marcy, President
Nicola Pitchford, President-elect