Editorial, Issue 1: Homogeneous white males need not apply

Jan. 27


Illustration by Deborah San Angelo

When Onita Pellegrini announced her resignation at the Jan. 14 Santa Rosa Junior College Board of Trustees meeting, students and faculty alike turned their attention to replacing our Board’s only female member.

With calls for increasing diversity in our changing world, the current all-male, all-white, all-middle-aged-plus Board faces a difficult challenge. Dozens of groups will all want to be represented, but how can the Board repair centuries of inequality with one single appointment?

To be blunt: they can’t please everyone, but the Board must grow along with the school.

In selecting the next member, the Board needs to face the facts. Women have made up over 53 percent of the student body since 2011, according to the 2012 SRJC Factbook.

The book also details how nearly 40 percent of students are minorities, with Hispanic and Latino students making up the largest group as 20 percent of the SRJC student population.

But should race, color, age or religion be a main consideration while selecting candidates?

Yes, because as SRJC continues to grow more diverse, that same diversity should be mirrored in our faculty and Board members – but diversity for diversity’s sake must also be avoided.

Canidates need to be people who care for SRJC and the students they will be representing. This isn’t just a position to be used as a stepping stone for a political career or an entry for a padded résumé.

The next Board member must be selected by putting the needs of SRJC students first. With classes filling rapidly and the cost of books and tuition rising, it is getting harder and harder for students to improve their lot in life, no matter what their background.

This is an opportunity to enrich the dialogue between the Board members and the many different and beautiful communities they represent at our college.

Let’s not waste it.