Campus Center Building

President's Office

President's 12345 Message from Kristina Whalen

Support and Wellness

October 29, 2023


This newsletter is a playful take on our unique address. Each week I highlight 5 messages, initiatives, and/or events where I hope we can partner–in thought, spirit, or location–to advance connection and community.

(1) Support and Wellness.

Dear Community, through direct messaging, we continue to offer love and support to students finding it difficult to process the immense human suffering taking place in global conflicts. As we support students and continue with our work, the enormity of what we are witnessing is paralyzing to some, profoundly sad to others, and as conditions in the Middle East worsen, giving rise to flaring anger. As Cherie Brown from the National Coalition Building Institute recently wrote to CEOs, “Those that are expressing anger on our campuses now about the horrible conditions in Gaza and the mounting death numbers of Palestinians cannot always find compassion for the Israelis and the victims of the October 7 attack in Israel by Hamas. Those that are outraged about the Oct 7 attack against civilians in Israel cannot always hold the sacredness of the Palestinian people in Gaza and seek an end to the violence in Gaza, particularly the violence indiscriminately directed at civilians.” I appreciate Cherie summarizing the complexity of these tensions and I ask this campus community to stay grounded in compassion and in control of emotions. If your reserves are running low or your emotional state is wobbly, seek help or just take a break.
To help support our community, we are transforming the Hearthside Lounge into a temporary meditation center, a dedicated sanctuary for all seeking solace and reflection. A place to take that break. We understand the need for a space where hearts find calm and minds clarity.  The space will be available daily M-F from 8 AM to 5 PM on Monday, October 30 to November 3. Everyone is welcome, especially students. If this space is well used, Vice President Laurie Scolari will work with our mental health and student service professionals to extend this resource.
Finally, community groups and a few students have applied pressure on me, President Holmes, and Chancellor Lambert to issue a statement condemning Hamas and voice support for Israel. Here at Foothill, I have been asked by employees to publicly recognize the protracted retaliatory actions of Israel as ethnic cleansing and voice support for Palestine and those in Gaza. I will not be issuing any public statements. It’s not for lack of care or courage. I am refraining from official statements because they invite discord, protest that stretch our time, place and manner guidelines, and potentially unsafe conditions for students during a Fall quarter with a renewed energy and commitment to safety, care, healing, and health. 
Thank you for your understanding.

(2) Ofrenda in Dining Hall.

In honor of Latinx Heritage Month and Día de Muertos, an altar or "ofrenda" will be set up in the dining hall with the theme of Human Rights starting on October 30th. Please consider taking the time to reflect on the lives lost during this time. Join us as we reflect together toward understanding, compassion, and hope.

(3) MIPC Actions on October 20th.

On Friday, the second MIPC meeting of the Fall quarter commenced and was facilitated by Adiel Valesquez. Here is the rundown: 

The Committee continued to discuss more clearly defining the mission and purpose of MIPC while recognizing the need for a Governance Handbook. A subcommittee to work on the project was formed and is being led by Janie Garcia.

The Foothill Inquiries members shared that feedback from FLEX Day on Institutional Learning Outcomes was rich, and a workgroup is needed to update and draft Institutional Learning Outcomes for campuswide review. Some members of MIPC agreed to serve, and constituent leaders will share the opportunity if others wish to join.

Foothill 2030 (aka the Educational Master Plan) shared some highlights on how the work will be structured in each phase and how students will be involved. A small but committed Core Team will guide strategic planning. The Core Team will be led by Ajani Byrd, Elaine Kuo, and Voltaire Villanueva, along with appointment members. The first meeting is on November 13th at 1 p.m. Each quarter, depending on the phase of work, a satellite group will convene to broaden perspective and lift the work. For the Fall and Winter quarters,  the college will evaluate and revise the vision statement. If you are interested in visioning, let your Senate leader know.

A Budget presentation provided a snapshot of our fiscal health.

The Technology Committee provided an update to MIPC and shared highlights from the Technology Plan.

(4) Friendly wagers. Soccer this Friday.

Before I start my weekend, I am joining some former colleagues from City College of San Francisco at the home pitch as the Foothill Owls take on the CCSF Rams this Friday at 4 p.m. We have some friendly wagers. And speaking of friendly wagers. . . Dr. Fulbright, President of Monterey Peninsula College, challenged me to a friendly wager when our two football teams met some weeks back. The loser was to record a congratulatory message to the other team. Dr. Fulbright has yet to send his video! I’ll nudge him to make good on the bet before our next home game on November 11th. As a superstitious baseball fan, I hesitate to mention that the football team is still undefeated. But I guess it's okay. In baseball terms, this football season is way past the 5th inning. Go Owls!

(5) Señor Scary… AKA Jerry Robredo.

I will make my way to the Corner of Nobili Avenue & Machado Avenue in Santa Clara this week to see Jerry’s passion project– The Los Muertos Cemetery.


Yours in service,