2018 was a tumultuous year for our community, our nation and our world. We would like to inform you of the oppressions, disasters and the suffering we survived during the 100th year of this college’s existence.
This year, Santa Rosa Junior College celebrated its first century of existence.
To commemorate this incredible milestone, SRJC student media, The Oak Leaf published a print issue to be included in a time capsule for future students to read. We hope to give you a small taste of life in a 2018 SRJC students’ shoes.
The story starts with our community and the recent hardships we faced. Devastating fires swept through Sonoma County in October of 2017. The fires was one of the largest in California’s history. Wildfires burned 245,000 acres and people fled for their lives. The fires claimed 44 souls and hospitalized 192 people in Northern California alone. Five thousand three hundred homes burned and around 70 percent of those were inadequately insured, making it difficult for residents to afford to rebuild.
This year marked the completion of President Donald Trump’s first year in office. He went from billionaire reality TV star to the 45th president and has captured our unwavering attention.
One of Trump’s main presidential goals is to build a wall along the United States and Mexico border.
“We are sealing up our Southern Border. The people of our great country want safety and security. The Democrats have been a disaster on this very important issue,” Trump said.
Trump has also rescinded the DACA program and contended that there will be no deal to legalize the status of young adult immigrants, called Dreamers.
The #metoo movement has also influenced our culture this year. The movement unveiled the secrets of sexual misconduct and abuses of power in Hollywood, Washington D.C., Silicon Valley, at universities, organizations and corporations across the country.
Even Santa Rosa Junior College had its own #metoo scandal. Women (and affected men) banded together to call out bad behavior and reject the notion that victims provoke unwanted sexual advances.
On Feb. 14, 2018, a gunman killed 14 students and three teachers at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. This school massacre caused communities nationwide to realize this kind of tragedy can happen anywhere. Amazingly, the young Stoneman Douglas survivors ignited a national movement to change gun laws. They organized two successful events that captured the nation.
The first was a National School Walkout in which students and teachers across the country, including SRJC, left classrooms in solidarity for 17 minutes to commemorate the lives lost at Marjory Stoneman Douglas. The second, the March for Our Lives protest in Washington D.C., drew some 800,000 people and was likely the single largest day protest in the nation’s history. The surviving students might make the biggest difference yet in the drive to reduce gun violence.
The SRJC community has had its ups and downs over the last few semesters, but a couple of events stand out in particular.
A breaking story that shocked our community was the sexual misconduct allegations against the President of Academic Senate Eric Thompson while in a previous job he held almost 20 years ago at Ursuline High School.
A former student of Thompson made a Facebook post which discussed the sexual misconduct and urged for justice and prevention of any other students being similarly mistreated. The allegations were investigated but eventually dropped because of the college’s statute of limitations and different age claims of both parties.
An SRJC assistant football coach, Logologoa Taumaloto Tevaseu, 35, was charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and two counts of felony DUI when he hit and killed a Sonoma State University student, Paulette Geronimo Quiba, 21, on Lakeville Highway.
SRJC faculty and administrators were at odds this year over stalled contract negotiations, leading faculty to boycott 100th anniversary activities and picket board meetings.
While administrators worried about looming budget deficits and declining enrollment, SRJC students expressed concern for proposed faculty salary cuts.
Our society has become consumed by social media. We thrive on recognition and consume the most drama-filled and outlandish fake news we can get our hands on.
I hope the problems plaguing our culture today will be resolved by the time you are reading this.
I expect the stigmas and stereotypes we assign to people based on race, ethnicity, religion, gender or beliefs will be a distant memory in 2118.
Reina Underwood of 2018