We woke on Monday morning to the senseless loss of life in a mass shooting in Las Vegas on October 1, 2017…..58 lives have been lost, another 500+ injured/wounded, and countless lives impacted and changed.
Exactly two years prior on October 1, 2015, we learned of a gunman who opened fire at Umpqua Community College in Oregon, taking the lives of nine and injuring seven others. The quiet little UCC campus is a gem among the 17 community colleges in Oregon and it’s a place that I know well… having walked the beautiful campus grounds on countless occasions. A college campus…a familiar place.
Coming together for a concert, like those who attended the one in Vegas, is also a familiar experience for us at BC. We come so often together to enjoy music. A familiar activity, a community gathering. We go to smile, we go to celebrate. We go to feel alive because music has this incredible way of feeding our soul.
Many people had friends, family, acquaintances who were in some way a part of the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas. Coach Carl Ferreira shared that his students were at the concert when the shooting started. They were staying at Mandalay Bay, and as it turns out, on the 32nd floor. They escaped uninjured but were witness to a horrific event.
Our community has been directly impacted and we’ve lost special people in this terrible tragedy. Of those who lost their lives, three from Bakersfield: Jack Beaton, Bailey Schweitzer, and Victor Link; and one from Taft, Kelsey Meadows, a graduate from Taft High School in 2007. Our community came together and held a prayer vigil on October 2nd which was organized by Mayor Karen Goh and Houchin Blood Bank received an surge in blood donors throughout the following days.
This article about Jack Beaton specifically stood out to me. Near the end, authors Jay Reeves and Don Babwin delivered this important message: “Beaton said her husband, a 54-year-old construction worker, wouldn’t want much said publicly about his death. But she wanted people to hear how he had protected her, just as he always had done.”
Protection was the ultimate act of love and it’s important that we focus our attention also on the acts of heroism, kindness, compassion, and bravery that happened on October 1st and in the days following.
Karen Sallee posted on her blog, “This is why, with swollen eyes and a broken heart, I mourn this regular guy, who wasn’t regular at all. Jack was a hero not just to Laurie, but to everyone he knew. We look up to him in memory, we respect him as the finest sort of human being, and we miss him.”
We live in a new world in ways that are hard to understand. There are real threats, and with that, we must face the hard reality that it can happen to anyone – in any place – even familiar places and ones close to our community.
Active Shooter Response Trainings
Keeping our students, faculty, staff, and community safe is an ongoing and constant effort that will never be over. It requires constant awareness, understanding, and progress. We must also remember that our campus is an open institution and we are an integral part of our community. Active shooter training cannot be a taboo subject; we must engage with the best practices, the drills, the exercises, and we must be prepared. Such efforts can save lives.
Chief Chris Counts held 4 Active Shooter Response Training sessions throughout Wednesday and Thursday on the main campus as well as on our campus in Delano, to make sure our faculty, staff and students are prepared if we are ever unfortunate enough to have this experience. I was able to attend the Thursday morning training and it was difficult sitting through the training and listening to the brutal realities of what happens in an Active Shooter situation.
Chief Counts was somber and choked up at points when he was telling each of us to be ready and prepared for these horrific situations. Here are some of the sad statistics of the “ongoing trend” that he shared with us in training:
- October 1st, 2015 at Umpqua Community College, Oregon, a school that I am very familiar with, 26 year-old Chris Harper Mercer killed 9 students and wounded 9 more. The incident ended when detectives arrived and Mercer shot himself.
- April 16th, 2007 at Virginia Tech, Virginia, 23 year-old Seung-hui Cho killed 32 and wounded 29 with only handguns. In this case he had blocked escape routes by chaining the doors. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
- February 14th, 2008 at Northern Illinois University, a graduate student, Stephen Kazmierczak, killed 5 and wounded 16 with legally purchased shotgun and handguns. Again the incident ended when he killed himself.
- March 24th, 1998 at a school in Jonesboro, Arkansas, 13 year-old and 11 year-old Andrew Golden set off a false alarm and killed a teacher and 4 students and wounded 10. Imagine, children planned and attacked the school. They were caught fleeing the area.
- May 21st, 1998 in Springfield, Oregon, 14 year-old Kip Kinkel killed 2 and wounded 22 after killing both his parents. He was stopped by seven students subduing him until authorities arrived.
- April 20th, 199 at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, 17 year-old Dylan Klebold and 18 year-old Eric Harris killed 12 students and one teacher and wounded 23. They had planned to kill 500 by blowing up the school with multiple timed propane tank bombs. Once again, the incident ended when they killed themselves.
- March 21st, 2005 at an Indian reservation high school in Red Lake, Minnesota, 16 year-old Jeff Weise killed 5 students, a teacher and a guard after killing his grandfather, a tribal policeman. In this incident the shooter actually breached locked doors. The incident ended when he killed himself.
- September 26th, 2006 at Platte Canyon High School in Bailey, Colorado, 53 year-old Duane R. Morrison killed 1 student and sexually assaulted 6 students. He killed himself and one hostage when SWAT entered the room.
- December 14th, 2012 at Sandy Hook Elementary school, Connecticut, 20 year-old Adam Lanza, heavily armed, killed 20 children and 6 adults. Again, the incident ended when he killed himself.
As difficult as it is to hear these statistics and to imagine the loss and suffering of the families of those killed, recounting these statistics gives us an idea of a profile of who an active shooter is. Mostly they are individuals engaged in actively killing or attempting to kill people, but sometimes they have partners. These instances usually occur in confined and populated areas. Mostly they use firearms and usually there is no pattern to how they select victims. Many of the shooters had a history of mental health related instances and in nearly all incidents, somebody else knew.
The Chief’s mantra at BC is “if you see something, say something.” If you hear something, tell an administrator, Public Safety, or the authorities. Let them investigate it and know that you could be saving lives. Chief Counts says “the sole purpose of each Public Safety Officer at BC is to protect us.” We need to create a culture of awareness and action and let the authorities know when there is something amiss.
The Chief’s main message for our response to an active shooter situation is to RUN – HIDE – FIGHT, in that order. Your first response if you hear gunfire is to run. Be aware of your surroundings and always know where the exits are when you enter a room. Have a predetermined route in your mind for escape. Leave all of your belongings behind and get away. Take others with you if you can, but if they will not leave, continue your evacuation. Distance is your friend. Don’t group up. Warn others of the situation and not to enter. When the police are on scene, keep your hands empty and visible – a phone in your hand could look like a gun – follow their instructions. Call 911 if you have something to report, like how many shooters there are, where the shooting is located, a description of the shooter.
If you can’t run, HIDE. This is only if evacuation is not possible. Choose a hiding place out of the shooter’s view, protected if shots are fired at you, and does not trap you or restrict your movement. If you are in an office, lock and barricade the door. Use heavy furniture to block the door. The shooter is looking for an easy target and will likely move on if their way is hindered. Make sure to silence your phone, turn off any sources of noise and remain quiet so you do not attract the shooter’s attention.
If you can’t run or hide, then FIGHT. Try to remain calm and keep others calm, if you can’t evacuate and can’t hide and the shooter is coming – fight for your life. Don’t be a sheep waiting for the slaughter, be a sheepdog and attack. Act as aggressive as possible, throw things, improvise weapons, yell, overwhelm the shooter with numbers of people. It is okay to get angry and fight back!
Thank you Chief Counts and all of our Public Safety personnel for caring so much about all of us at BC and for holding this important training on a difficult and unpleasant topic. For those of you that were unable to make it to training, the main messages of Active Shooter Training are “if you see something, say something” and in an Active Shooter situation first priority is to Run, if you can’t run, Hide, if you can’t do either of the first two, then Fight.
New M&O Building Opens
After months of hard work, planning, and construction, Bill Potter, our M&O team, and guests from Klassen Corp. celebrated as we opened the doors to the new Maintenance and Operations facility on Tuesday.
We were honored to have Mark Delmarter from Klassen Construction with us as we showcased the ways in which this new state of the art facility serves as inspiration for the first stage of projects made possible by your support in Measure J. This new facility fully supports BC’s environmental sustainability, efficiency objectives, and came in on budget and on schedule with no change orders.
Everyone was pleased to tour the new space and I saw many smiles during the morning. The speakers included Chancellor Tom Burke, Aaron Kidwell and Mark Delmarter.
In his opening remarks, Bill estimated that the M&O department has had to move about 30 times while expressing gratitude about the accommodations at his department’s permanent new home.
Thank you to all who attended including Chancellor Tom Burke, Vice Presidents Nan Gomez-Heitzeberg, Don Chrusciel, and Zav Dadabhoy, all our staff and faculty from BC who came out to support and tour the facility, our architects, and Rod Paine, Mark Delmarter, Katie Angevine, and Mike Meyer from Klassen Corp.
This is just the first of many exciting developments to come. It’s a great time to be at BC! Thank you for your unending support of Bakersfield College.
See the gallery of photos at: https://bakersfieldcollege.smugmug.com/2017/Oct3MaintenanceandOperations/
Kern Shakespeare Festival
The Bakersfield College Performing Arts Department has done an incredible job presenting two plays for the 33rd Annual Kern Shakespeare Festival: William Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Top Stoppard’s Rosencrantz & Guildenstern are Dead. I’ve heard overwhelmingly positive feedback about both of the shows, especially that the banter between Kevin Ganger and Cody Ganger was very made the crowd laugh many times during performances of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
Thank you for all the crew and featured performers that made the 33rd annual Shakespeare festival so special: Colter Allison, Martin Arroyo, Brittany Beaver, Allan Bexton, Anthony Brooks, Stephen Bush, Josh Carruthers, Kara Coughenour, Decymbr’ Frank, Cody Ganger, Kevin Ganger, Amy Hall, Josue Jimenez, Tevin Joslen, Bob Kempf, Crystal Lara, Ryan Lee, Nolan Long, Shelbe McClain, Randy Messick, Ethan Monge, Sammy Noriega, Daniel Ochoa, Brian Purcell, Cheyenne Reyes, Brian Sivesind, John Spitzer, Nancee Steiger, Jose Tenorio, Blanka Trujillo, Salvador Vidaurri, Carlos Vera, and Spirit Wright.
And a special thank you to the two directors, Brian J. Sivesind, Director of Hamlet, and Bob Kempf, Director of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.
Strong Workforce Initiative
As a part of the statewide Strong Workforce initiative, Bakersfield College has taken the lead on a Central/Mother Lode Regional Collaborative project for BC’s Bachelor of Science Degree in Industrial Automation.
With the help of the Advanced Manufacturing Deputy Sector Navigator, Gurminder Sangha, we established a regional collaborative group to align and articulate the lower division electronics courses required for admission to the Bakersfield College baccalaureate program.
On Friday, September 22, 2017, with over 22 faculty and deans from College of the Sequoias, Fresno City College, West Hills Community College, Modesto Community College, Delta College, Taft College, Clovis College, Yosemite Community College, and Bakersfield College. There was broad discussion on curricular rigor and automation platforms prior to splitting into groups for in-depth collaboration on articulation packages. This collaborative will serve to create clear pathways for students in our regional community colleges to have seamless transfer into BC’s baccalaureate degree program. Much thanks to our regional partners!!
SHPE National Conference
BC’s Mathematics Engineering Science Achievement Program (MESA) and the Engineering Department are sponsoring four students to attend The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, conference. Leah Altman, Ashley Anderson, Christian Rodriguez and Lizbeth Sanchez. The students will be chaperoned by Math professor Joshua Lewis.
The SHPE National Conference on November 1-5 in Kansas City, MO, is the largest gathering of Hispanic student and professional STEM talent in the United States. The conference covers topics such as, Empowering Latinas in STEM Workshops; a distinguished lecture series, Nissan Design Competition, Engineering Science Symposium, Hackathon Competition, and a Career Fair & Graduate School Expo. On the official website for the conference, it says “SHPE changes lives by empowering the Hispanic community to realize its fullest potential and to impact the world through STEM awareness, access, support and development.”
CCCCO Guided Pathways Workshop
Last Monday, Janet Fulks, Cindy Collier, Jonathan Schultz, and Manny Mourtzanos attended a workshop in Fresno to learn more about the CCCCO’s one-time investment of $150 million to support the implementation of the Guided Pathways framework at community colleges across California (pictured here with our Vice Chancellor of Educational Services, John Means). Janet Fulks did an exceptional job as a featured panelist discussing BC’s experience implementing Guided Pathways. Thank you, team, for representing BC!
BE THE MATCH on campus
On Tuesday, we welcomed Paula Schwartz, a representative from BE THE MATCH on campus with an informational booth and presentation to find potential donors for bone marrow. Did you know every four minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer? This was one of the astonishing facts from the day. Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry, and hispanic and latino backgrounds combined only make up 10% of the registry. BE THE MATCH is seven million members strong with an additional five million potential donors. It’s incredible to think that you can save a life by just swabbing the inside of your cheek.
Community Voices by Reggie Williams
On Monday, the Bakersfield Californian published an op-ed from philosophy professor Reggie Williams about the symbolism being conveyed through body language on both sides of the national debate about athletes kneeling during the National Anthem.
Williams states that the significance behind whether athletes choose to stand, kneel or lock arms during the National Anthem embodies “deeply held values that we all endorse but weight differently.” However you feel about the debate—which started with NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel before the anthem last year in protest of racial injustice and police brutality, upsetting some people who interpret this symbolic gesture as an act of disrespect to the military and the principles our nation stands for–Williams’ article in the “Community Voices” section of the Californian asks that you think critically about the rationale behind your opinion while considering the perspective of African Americans who have fought in the military while being disproportionately affected by slavery, lynching, Jim Crow and discrimination.
At the end of his op-ed, Williams makes a call for unity. “If the US is going to live up to its name—to be united—we must understand each other,” Williams said. “We must understand each other’s symbols, histories, contributions and experiences as Americans.”
The Nobel Prize in Physics 2017
In an article from his “Bakersfield Night Sky” column on February 20th, 2016, BC’s own Nick Strobel accurately predicted this year’s winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics.
Nick wrote about the work published by Rainer Weiss, Barry C. Barish and Kip S. Thorne of the LIGO/VIRGO Collaboration on observing the universe’s gravitational waves for the first time. The waves, predicted by Albert Einstein 100 years ago, were produced from a collision between two black holes on September 14th, 2015. Describing the results confirmed by a peer-reviewed study published in the Physical Review Letters journal, Nick wrote that two black holes traveled toward each other for 700 million to 1.6 billion years at the speed of light. The collision caused a mass three times that of the sun to convert into gravitational wave energy, producing 50 times more energy than all of the stars in the rest of the universe combined.
In his post, Nick said simply that “gravitational waves are a very big deal,” while the Nobel committee’s press release declared that “gravitational waves are an entirely new way of observing the most violent events in space and testing the limits of our knowledge.”
In his Bakersfield Night Sky article published this week, Nick focuses on two more recent developments in black hole studies, including theories about how supermassive black holes are at the center of most galaxies, and the discovery of gravitational waves from three different detectors, which enabled researchers determine the location of the black holes merging with ten times more accuracy than previous observations.
Spotted on Facebook
It was awesome to see a crew from the Men’s BC Soccer team out at the St. Vincent De Paul Annual Fall BBQ. In an article by Lisa Kimble at The Bakersfield Californian, she said, “As the local homeless population grows, centers like St. Vincent de Paul, which receives no federal funding, have been scrambling to keep up with the need. Today, an estimated 400 homeless men, women and children receive two hot meals a day at the center. They also have access to four restrooms, two showers, basic social and mail services, a covered patio and lush grounds in which to spend a few hours of their chaotic day in a peaceful, secure and park-like environment.”
Thank you Renegades for supporting our community — and thank you Bakersfield and Kern County for always supporting BC.
BC and Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra
On Wednesday, Dr. Jen Garrett, Chef Suzanne Tangeman and Manny Mourtzanos met with several community leaders to develop a fine dining experience in the Renegade Room for approximately 55 local elementary students, followed by an evening of live music at Rabobank Arena by the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. On Saturday, November 4, students will enjoy delicious food prepared by our own BC Culinary Arts students. Following the BSO concert, students will have the opportunity to interact with Conductor Stilian Kirov and members of the Orchestra. Bakersfield College is proud to partner with the BSO to serve the needs of our community.
Pictured here: Paul Meyers, District Superintendent – Standard School District, Morgan Clayton, President – Tel-Tec Security Systems, Inc., Ira Cohen, Senior Vice President – UBS Wealth Management, Suzanne Tangeman, Chef and Professor of Culinary Arts – Bakersfield College, Dr. Jennifer Garrett, Professor of Music – Bakersfield College, Stilian Kirov, Conductor and Music Director – Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra, Dr. Manny Mourtzanos, Dean of Instruction – Bakersfield College, and Jorge Barrientos, Marketing Director – Chain|Cohn|Stiles Law Offices
Uplifting Notes from Former Students
My daily inspiration often comes from those who surround me, including incredible faculty, staff, and students. Our ASL team is one of a kind and this email came across my desk which really showcases their hard work, dedication, and unified approach which yields dividends that continue to inspire.
Tom Moran and the entire ASL department touch their student’s lives in an important and fundamental way. I’d like to share one email that came in this week from former student, Alyssa Paul. She, in turn, has touched the lives of numerous Deaf people in a small but meaningful way. She has the skill to become an interpreter or a deaf ed teacher. I know her professors and I hope that her studies will lead her there.
“Hey professor! It’s Alyssa Paul from… about a year ago now?? I took your ASL B1 class during the Spring (: I just wanted to tell you that I will be attending College of the Canyons in the Spring 2018 in pursuit of an associate degree in sign language.
I also wanted to let you know that since I learned sign language, I have been using it SO MUCH during work. There have been many deaf people that come into my work that request a pen to write their order, & they are so surprised & happy when I tell them that I know some sign language (: I’ve learned a few more words that are related to my work so I could better communicate with them, but I’ve decided to major in it so I could learn even more to better communicate with everyone outside of my job. I’m still not 100% comfortable with starting a conversation, but I’m much more confident when a deaf person comes into my work wanting to order something (:”
This week, BC Archives shared that we have news of three more deaths among our former colleagues.
As I previously shared in my blog here, JESS NIETO died September 21. You may remember that Jess wore lots of different hats at BC, from classroom teacher to first Latino Dean of Delano Center. He started the Chicano Cultural Center and Chicano Studies program at BC. After leaving BC, he became a respected activist for civil rights and educational attainment.
RICHARD WISE, a professor in the Biology and Physical Science Departments for almost 28 years, died in June. We have now received word that his widow, KATHY AIELLO-WISE, died at the end of August. A nurse, she was an adjunct faculty member for many years teaching Health, Safety, and Nutrition both in the classroom and online.
Hank Webb just wrote us that JIM CARDEN died July 15th following a stroke a few weeks earlier. Hank’s note said that Jim’s “adopted son Robert said Jim didn’t want any fuss, but Robert has agreed to a service at St Paul’s Episcopal soon. Date to be announced. Jim started out as a student at BC and was freshman class president, sang in the choir, and reported sports news for the Rip. Later he was the resident adviser in the Men’s Residence Hall. In 1970 he joined the faculty and was a much beloved friend and very active, admired, and enjoyed counselor for many years.
Child Development Entrepreneurial Workshop
On September 26, 2017 Bakersfield College hosted its first Child Development Entrepreneurial Informational Workshop about starting their own small business, in-home daycare. The primary focus of the event is to inform students who are interested in becoming a licensed family child care provider and how to start their own business. Guest speakers included Jamie LaFavor, Community Connection for Child Care, Kelly Bearden, Director, CSUB Small Business Development Center and Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region. We had around 100 students attend, taking full advantage of the services/opportunities presented to them.
I would like to thank our Event Staff for helping make the day a success! Israel Mendoza, Support System Specialist I, Stephanie Baltazar, Interim Program Manager; Antonio Alfaro, Interim Dual Enrollment PM, Martin Perez, Program Manager, Pam Gomez, CTE Educational Advisor; Beth Harrison, Job Development Specialist, Cindi Swoboda, Department Assistant III, Rosa Perez, Student Worker, Gracie Magallanes, Student Worker, Lupe Aguirre, Job Development Specialist Dominica Dominguez, CTE Ed. Advisor
Also, special thanks to Alese Campbell, Small Business Deputy Sector Navigator, Central Valley & Mother Lode Region for providing the funding.
I enjoyed watching our amazing volleyball team with our Coach Ferreira on Friday, October 5th, against Ventura. We won 3-0; 25-17, 25-22, 24-14
Loved this tweet from @Gogades
From the www.gogades.com website
The Bakersfield College Volleyball team (#5 in California, 11-4) was already facing a stacked deck when arguably their star player, Alex Paris, went down with an injury Friday. But they couldn’t have predicted the next obstacle they’d be dealt just a day later.
“We learned that three of our players were in Las Vegas at the Country music festival during the terrible event that unfolded over the weekend,” Coach Carl Feirerra said.
The three athletes and one athlete’s parents didn’t get back to Bakersfield until Tuesday, just one day before their match against a Santa Monica (5-4) squad coming off four straight wins.
But Coach Carl placed no expectations on the athletes.
“If they didn’t feel like playing, ‘no big deal’, if they wanted to play ‘great’, and the fact that they end up playing incredibly well, and felt so good about just being out there, shows they are just amazing young ladies,” Feirrera said.
And play well, they did. Bakersfield broke Santa Monica’s four game wininng streak with authority, 25-17, 25-15, 25-21.
“This was easily the greatest win of my career,” Feirrera said, “What the human spirit does, just consistently amazes.”
Men’s Cross Country:
The men’s cross country team finished second at the Western State Conference Preview meet. The Renegades had three runners finish in the top 25. Marcos Mulato finished 10th overall, with a time of 22:47.7, to lead with Renegades. Harrison Wykoff (23:31.3) finished 22nd overall and Angelo Benitez (23:36.2) finished 23rd overall.
Trevor Horn opened his article in The Bakersfield Californian with
Two plays may very well define how the first half of the season is perceived for the Bakersfield College football team.
Down 17-7 with less than five minutes left, BC scored two touchdowns within 49 seconds and beat El Camino 21-17 on Saturday night at Memorial Stadium.
It was a great game. We had BPD and the Fire Department out at Memorial Stadium. Mayor Karen Goh did the coin toss. I don’t have the photos yet. When I get them, I will update this blog post.
Make sure you come to the Alumni BBQ (3:00 p.m.) prior to the homecoming game (6:00 p.m.)
Fun family time pictures I came across:
So what about Neo
Six and a half months old. Here are photos from October 4, 2017.
That’s all for now.
Until next time.
With much Renegade Pride and Collegiality.
the luckiest and happiest college president ever