Letter to the District
To whom it should concern,
We are at an unprecedented time in the United States. The police institutions which uphold systemic racism in this country are finally being brought to justice. You may wonder how institutions upholding and benefitting from systemic racism may have to do with you, the Riverside Community College District. Amazon and its Amazon Web Services (AWS) have come under fire for providing its cloud technology to our police forces and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for facial recognition software used to arrest and detain individuals. AWS is used by the entire district through Canvas, upon which, we have been especially reliant because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of this product by RCCD, the California Community Colleges, the University of California, and some the California State Universities continues to serve as a major inequity and oversight by our public institutions. If providing a safe and equitable system for our students of color is a primary goal for our public institutions, then why do we pay for and use a product which contributes to the separation of families, the lives of black people, and the suppression of our first amendment right to peacefully assemble to protest the systemic issues that are currently providing constant inequities to our student body and the community at large?
If all of our public colleges are to be committed to equity, then I demand that we find alternatives to Canvas. The colleges should commit fully to providing an experience that is equitable for students of color and undocumented students, not only in our institution, but also commit to providing equitable communities for these very same students. The investment in a product that’s technology is also used by the police and ICE to suppress minorities is not only inequitable, but immoral.
Though the primary interest of this statement is to focus on the use of AWS based technology and the inequities that it contributes to society. I will now continue to lambast the college’s inequities as they continue to make themselves apparent to me. Notably, the college has few resources for LGBTQ+ students, primarily, a resource center like that of Ujima and La Casa. When I addressed this matter in a casual conversation with [Redacted,] he was shocked, as he thought the college already had one. This proves to be a serious inequity as there is currently no place for our LGBTQ+ identifying students. They instead, have to depend on other LGBTQ+ students to provide that space for them, and in the case of SAGA Club, are dependent on the payment of student fees to provide some semblance of pride on campus.
Secondly, the college’s treatment of women by members of ASRCC needs to be worked on. I have witnessed and heard of deplorable behavior, language, and physicality regarding the treatment of women from a former ASRCC President, Club Presidents, ASRCC Senators, and ICC Representatives. Unfortunately, like most bureaucratic institutions, RCCD and ASRCC are incapable of acting in any way that is meaningful. These inequities make it difficult for women to come forward when they see that their words will provide no sense of closure, no sense of justice. To this end, the college has failed to provide an equitable experience for women.
The college continues to contribute to systematic oppression of not only race and ethnicity, but also of gender, sex and sexuality. As my [Redacted] professor frequently said, “Vow to do better next time.”
Berkeley, B.A. Sociology, ‘22
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