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Staying True to Our RCC Values During Crisis

This was a message that was sent to all staff from Cathy Kemper-Pelle, RCC President

During the past week another crisis has unfolded in the midst of our COVID-19 challenges, magnifying the anger, frustration, and racial polarization that our country has struggled with for generations. It is hard to find words in the face of injustice and brutality; I recognize that words condemning the tragic and inexcusable death of George Floyd are not enough. I am not black, and I can never truly comprehend the depth of emotions felt by our black community. However, I am human, and I feel deep empathy for this loss of life and the real fear that it has generated.

The principles of diversity, equity and inclusion are firmly embedded in the history of community colleges. We are committed to closing higher education achievement gaps based on race, color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, age, and all other protected statuses. That means that all students must feel safe and welcome at RCC before they can achieve their educational goals and pursue their dreams. In light of recent events, it is especially important that our African American students know that we care about their feelings and their challenges and that we want to support their success.

There is a huge tear in the social fabric of our nation, and it is felt not just in the U.S. but all over the world. The community of RCC is not exempt from this trauma and pain. Every day, members of our community live with discrimination and injustice. As educators, we have an important role in mending that tear locally, and it starts with having empathy and living our RCC values.

  • Integrity requires us, as an institution and individuals, to be transparent, ethical and accountable.
  • Collaboration promotes an agile, responsive culture to creatively address the aspirations and needs of our communities.
  • Inclusion creates a compassionate and safe environment that views all individuals and ideas fairly.
  • Stewardship commits us to responsible and thoughtful guardianship of our human, economic, environmental and cultural resources.
  • Courage frees the institution to find and pursue the best path in support of student learning and Rogue excellence.

We need to demonstrate these values in our daily work and instill these values, to the best of our ability, in our students. Please ask yourself each day what you can do to model and teach these values within our college community and southern Oregon. It is undeniable that there is a social outcry steeped in exhaustion and grief. Actively listen and use your position of privilege to help us change the lived experiences of those suffering injustice.

RCC stands against violence and racism. We stand for inclusion, collaboration, integrity, stewardship, and courage. Our commitment to inclusion was recently demonstrated by creating a new position: Coordinator of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. If you would like to know more about diversity, equity and inclusion training and resources, please contact our new D.E.I. coordinator, Amy Peterson at

RCC offers counseling services to students and employees. Please refer students to or call 541-956-7192 (Redwood Campus) or 541-245-7552 (Riverside). Employees can access the Employee Assistance Plan (EAP) by calling 1-866-750-1327, or visiting the Reliant Behavioral Health website.

Stay safe, and know that together we can make this world a better and more caring place, starting right here.

Cathy Kemper-Pelle, Ed.D.