Letter to the Editor: SWC is committed to district safety

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Statement of Clarification from the Editorial Board of the Southwestern College Sun related to global e-mail by Dr. Angelica Suarez about campus safety editorial.

In a global e-mail sent this week titled “Letter to the Editor,” Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Angelica Suarez mistakenly wrote that there was a “correction to the editorial.” That is not a true statement. The Editorial Board of The Sun has not issued a correction to the editorial “SWC fails to safeguard vulnerable students.”  The Editorial Board unanimously stands by its position that the office of student affairs does not adequately protect vulnerable SWC students from students who have demonstrated proclivities toward threatening behavior and violence. Dr. Suarez’ letter was published May 15 on theswcsun.com and will run in the first fall 2013 issue of The Sun newspaper as an opportunity to express her opinion on the topic.  It is not, however, a “correction” or any admission of a mistake or factual error by the staff of The Sun.

The Editorial Board of the Southwestern College Sun.
Amanda L. Abad, Editor-in-Chief

 

Dear Editorial Board,

This letter is in response to your editorial published in the most recent publication of the SUN entitled “SWC fails to safeguard vulnerable students.”  As Vice President for Student Affairs, it is absolutely essential to set the record straight with the following correction to the editorial – Southwestern College, Student Affairs, and the College Police are strongly committed to the safety of all students, staff and faculty throughout the district and we have clear policies and procedures in place to assure that each student’s due process is carried out, that confidentiality of all parties is maintained, and that the appropriate response/action is taken.

Last semester, we further strengthened the procedures of student conduct and created a student grievance policy to include new federal and state requirements.  Procedure 5530 (Student Rights and Grievances), and Procedure 5500 (Standards of Student Conduct) are posted on our website (http://www.swccd.edu/index.aspx?page=417) and outline the student’s and institution’s responsibilities that govern student conduct, grievances and due process at the college.

As part of the procedures, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to come to the Office of Student Services to discuss student grievances or student misconduct with the dean.   However, we must protect student confidentiality as required by the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA); therefore, we are not allowed to discuss the outcome of such conversations with college staff.  Hence, this may create the erroneous perception that action has not been taken.

Please rest assured that staff takes student grievances and staff reports of student misconduct seriously, and works closely with our college police department, College Safety Committee and the Crises Response Committee to balance student rights with institutional responsibility in order to maintain a safe working and learning environment for students and college employees.

Thank you for helping us ensure that students know they can continue to report any incident that impacts their safety and ability to successfully learn at Southwestern College.

Angelica L. Suarez, Ph.D. | Vice President for Student Affairs

Southwestern Community College District

900 Otay Lakes Road | Chula Vista, CA 91910

Phone.619.482.6315 | Fax.619.482.6491

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