At the commencement exercises at Santa Monica College, some members of the SMC faculty stood and turned their backs on Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger during his commencement address.
Previously, a coalition of faculty members, SMC employees, students and Santa Monica residents had petitioned the board of trustees to withdraw the college’s invitation to the governor to speak at the exercises on the grounds that his budget cuts and fee hikes were “anti-education.” Led by the same coalition, several hundred people also took part in a protest at the college’s north entrance prior to the governor’s appearance.
Last week, the college released the following letter, in which SMC Board of Trustees’ chair Carole Currey apologized to the governor for the behavior of “a few faculty members.”
Dear Governor Schwarzenegger:
On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the college, I want to thank you for coming to Santa Monica College and delivering the commencement address in celebration of our 75th anniversary. We were honored to have you here at your alma mater and hope that you enjoyed participating in this celebration of student success.
I do want to extend our deepest apology for the disrespectful behavior of a few faculty members. They did not represent the majority of those participating in the graduation, as evidenced by the thousands who came to celebrate.
Your address to the graduating students was inspirational and insightful; hopefully it will challenge the graduates to pursue their goals with persistence and commitment. Your remarks were delivered with incredible aplomb in a most challenging environment, which, in itself, was a real lesson in leadership for our students.
We appreciate your recognition of the value of community colleges, and, in particular, Santa Monica College. Again, thank you for participating in our 2005 Commencement. We will take your words to heart as we look towards the future and continue to provide a place of special opportunities.
Carole Currey, Chair
Board of TrusteesSanta Monica Community College District