Mildred’s Rant

Yesterday a Friend passed along a letter from CSUF president Mildred Garcia, in which she uses her administrative position (and the state’s computer systems) to distribute a politically-charged screed to 40,000 impressionable CSUF students. We’ve reproduced it for your entertainment here:

Dear Titan family:

Welcome back and Happy New Academic Year! It’s wonderful to see our faculty, staff, and students breathing life back into our campus community. Each of you bring such energy to the University and a love for teaching, learning, and listening that empowers all Titans to Reach Higher in our classrooms and throughout our diverse communities.

We are at a moment in history when the marketplace of ideas that we at Cal State Fullerton promote and protect through equity, inclusion, and civil discourse has the power to heal and lead a wounded nation.

The last time we were all together, we witnessed the transformative power of upholding these and other core tenets with what was arguably the greatest achievement of our now 60-year history: the commencement of our largest graduating class — nearly 11,000 diverse Titans, the majority of whom were low-income students and/or the first in their family to put on a college graduation cap.

For years, I’ve made it a practice to read what’s written on the backs of those caps; I find the messages not only inspiring, but also indicative of the collective mood of our nation through the words of the young people who will soon be leading it.

As a woman of color, a Godmother and Tía, a proud American, and most of all, as president of a University founded on the very principles of equity and inclusion that have recently come under attack in ways this nation hasn’t seen in half a century, I am proud that at this past commencement a rising tide of peaceful resistance was evident in the words of our graduates’ speeches, in the spirit of their families’ cheers, and of course, on the backs of their graduation caps.

“Nevertheless,” the back of one young woman’s cap said, “she persisted.”

“Love Trumps Hate,” another said in rainbow letters.

“Mis padres cruzaron la frontera,” one read in Spanish, “para que yo pudiera cruzar este escenario.” “My parents crossed the border so I could cross this stage.”

These American themes of justice and hope in the face of bigotry, misogyny, and xenophobia reminded me of a movement I took part in during my own youth, and given the progress we made as a nation in the decades since, I find it tragic that someone can look at a mob of neo-Nazis chanting hateful slogans on a college campus and claim that some of them are “very fine people,” or that the murderous violence their hatred sparked can be blamed on “many sides.”

This kind of language and leadership has unearthed a dark reality and emboldened the worst among us. Most recently, this culminated in Charlottesville, and when I saw a diverse group of student counter-protestors huddled together in the face of an oncoming sea of white supremacists, I couldn’t help but think of our own courageous students and a quote that was central to my Convocation Address last week: “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

Fellow Titans, just as that time had come for Martin Luther King, Jr. when he first said those words in 1967, it has come for us now. As the faculty, staff, and students of the largest university in the most diverse system of higher education in the country, it is time for us to wield the power of our collective voice to let the world know that we stand firmly and proudly on the right side of history with our immigrant brothers and sisters who made this country great long before it was a campaign slogan; with our undocumented students who have nothing to do with how they came to America and everything to do with what it means to be an American; with our Muslim faculty, staff and students who face travel bans that may impede their work and education; with African American students around the nation who attend classes in buildings named after Confederate generals who fought to keep them out of those buildings; with our LGBTQ community who fear losing their well-earned rights; and with our Caucasian Titans who remain deeply embedded in Cal State Fullerton’s definition of diversity and whose presence and voice is integral to who we are and what we aim to become.

As a public university that fosters a learning environment in which diverse perspectives from both sides of the political aisle are central to our mission, we are in a unique position to lead the country during this pivotal moment of history. We will do so by upholding the First Amendment rights enshrined in our constitution while also supporting those who may be hurt, scared, or offended by that speech, recognizing that our rich diversity is our most prized asset and that intolerance in any form is an affront to all of us. Paramount to this endeavor is safeguarding the physical safety of all faculty, staff, and students by providing a violence-free academic environment grounded in the mutually respectful exchange of ideas from all sides.

We may face offensive language from individuals with whom we strongly disagree. Our commitment to uphold their right to speak should be matched only by our determination to challenge them through civil discourse, peaceful protest, and the hope that education — the truest and longest-standing cure for hatred and violence — sparks a transformation in them that could be surmised with a quote from Nelson Mandela on the back of one of our graduate’s caps:

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.”

Welcome home, fellow Titans. Let’s embrace the work ahead, the challenges our nation faces, and most importantly, each other.

Sincerely,

Mildred García
President

OK, we get it. Diversity good, political violence bad. Who can disagree with that?

As you scroll through the anti-Trump rhetoric, you may notice one glaring omission. Garcia neglected to denounce the hatred and political violence that occurred on her own campus, by her own employee, Professor Eric Canin. If you recall, Canin was recently allowed to return to teaching after being briefly suspended for assaulting a student over a political disagreement.

Peaceful resistance.

Looking back, it seems that Garcia has never uttered a word publicly about the attack. Her failure to acknowledge and denounce this specific threat to the her students certainly calls into question her ability to “heal and lead” any kind of transformation. In that context, her entire diatribe is both insincere and hypocritical.

But hey, why focus on addressing violence inflicted by your own employee when you can talk about Nazis instead?

CSUF Education Uber Alles

41 thoughts on “Mildred’s Rant

  1. Using her authority to denounce the president is kind of abusive. She should do that on her own dime, on her own time.

    1. No, it’s called “academic freedom.” You can say or do whatever you want with the students’ and taxpayers’ resources. Nobody is allowed to question or dissent.

      1. Or the previous president picking sides in altercations (the police acted stupidly) before knowing the facts or inviting BLM to the white house?

        1. “Or the previous president picking sides in altercations”

          In that case the president was siding with ensuring someone’s civil rights were protected versus the coercive power of the state.

          You bizarrely compare that to our current occupant bullying the press, congress, the left wing, whoever he feels is stopping him personally from “winning.”

  2. There’s no story here, this letter is fine. There’s got to be hypocrisy, that’s baked in as a cost of doing business for any government organization. Go find something real to complain about!

  3. If you’re not denouncing the president, at this time, you’re the problem regardless of your job title.

    We’re way beyond the “acceptable” range of presidential behavior.

    He may get to stay president until he actually is shown to have broken the law. Of course, he could just do the patriotic thing and resign. But we don’t have to like it, and we should all stand up and refuse to accept his terrible, divisive behavior which started on DAY 1 of his term.

  4. Once again the author lies by omission much like their exalted leader did in Phoenix last night.
    What was left out is the FACT that an impartial Arbitrator issued a binding decision that returned the professor in question back to work.
    How about some honesty here.

    1. You think the author and these people are Tumpers?

      Congratulations. You’re an idiot.

      I suppose you’d like ol’ Mad Eye Cicinelli back on the job, too.

      The President of that University is responsible for each and every employee she puts in front of a student. Either she was wrong to dismiss Professor Fisticuffs in the first place or she’s wrong to let him anywhere near another student knowing it can all happen again at any moment.

      And like any other politician, whatever happens she’ll just deflect responsibility and blame someone else.

      But hey. Nazis.

  5. Wow
    Feel better after the name calling ?
    Clearly President Garcia and the other people that had input into the decision to terminate the professor believed that the evidence supported termination but when the case was put before a fact finder the decision was to reinstate him which was left out of the story which could easily lead someone that is ill informed to believe that the President did not do her job. Lie by omission in an attempt to deceive

    1. So you support rehiring Mad Eye then?

      Also, you completely missed the entire point of the story.

    2. Yes, clearly President Mildred did a great job. She failed to get rid of this violent nut and then said nothing to her students about it. That’s some great leadership.

  6. And does CSU Fullerton President Mildred provide a safe place on her campus for students who are republicans and have differing political views? Or are they tossed upon the mercies of whipped up, impressionable youth and nutty professors? Hate is an absolute. Who hates whom is relative. And if I were a student who did not conform to Mildred’s norm, I would transfer to another university because I would tire of feeling the hate from Millie’s mob.

  7. A picture is worth a million words. Amazing how ones hand in the air raises as such without questioning, and yet one can’t be mindful enough to prevent it from happening.

  8. Diversity is much more important than real education. Let’s all be inclusive down the path of illiteracy and mythology.

  9. Maybe if she were a real mother (not woman of color, “Godmother” or “Tia” – which she capitalizes like a typical illiterate) she would be more concerned about the safety of the students on her campus and less interested in diversity as the goal of an academic institution. Or even an institution pretending to be academic.

    The Punchy Professor “investigation” and fake firing was a pure sham and everybody on campus knew it.

        1. 1. Always use a comma between two independent clauses.
          2. Punchy Professor is not a proper noun. Exempli gratia, godmother or tia.
          3. You have an incomplete sentence.
          4. Not *a* woman of color
          5. I’ll leave a mystery

          1. #1 Which clauses? And anyhow, says who? You may be suffering from a well-know writer’s ailment called commatitis.
            #2 Punchy Professor is an ironic sobriquet replacing Eric Canin’s real name and thus constitutes a “proper noun.” Like calling Babe Ruth “The Sultan of Swat.” Get it? Exempli gratia? How funny you are!
            #3 Well, you got me there. Now explain to FFFF readers what a gerund is.
            #4 The use of the indefinite article is completely unnecessary in this context.
            #5 Mystery. Uh, yeah.

            What’s a mystery is how Millie got to be a university president in the first place – other than the obvious. I’d have hated to read her master’s thesis. if there even was one.

            1. Then “Punchy Professor” should be in quotes to indicate that it is a sobriquet.

              In the context of critiquing someone else’s writing, an indefinite article is absolutely necessary. But to each their own.

              Becoming a writer or English teacher comes with many ego-checks. Good luck.

                1. But what about shoe laces n’ stuff like that? And what about picking up the check at The Fullerton Flat Earth luncheon?

              1. “Then ‘Punchy Professor’ should be in quotes to indicate that it is a sobriquet.”

                Wrong. By the way I think you meant to write “quotation marks” not “quotes” which denotes a citation, not punctuation.

                “But to each their own.”

                Wrong again: “To each his own.”

                I hope you aren’t an English teacher; but somehow I get the feeling that you are. Maybe at CSUF? That would make a lot of sense.

                1. Poor English and comm (WTF is comm?) major got schooled. Always a pleasure to watch our overcompensated public school teachers in action.

                2. You should have quit in the first round English and comm major. Go back to the FJC classroom where nobody cares what you teach or what students learn.

  10. Yeah, that Mildred is a real champion of La Raza n’ all, living in her government paid for mansion on the hill, making hundreds of thousands while half her entering class can’t read or write or cipher beyond a rudimentary level.

    But let’s have more diversity! Let’s have more Mildreds!

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