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Provost's Message - September 13, 2017

Provost Brian Jersky

DACA

As I walk around our campus and see our students returning, it is easy to get caught up in the normal busyness a new semester brings. Given recent events, I am quickly reminded of how important our collective purpose and mission truly are. With DACA news and other politics weighing in on education, I feel the need to reaffirm our passion for protecting what we stand for – excellent education for ALL our students. 

Since our government’s action to reevaluate and potentially end DACA in six months – I immediately think of the many DACA students that are here on our campus. We need to stand with and for them more than ever. They must feel betrayed by the only country they have ever known. 

Defend Daca Protests on CSULB campus

I am left believing this decision is not only morally evil, but is bad from a utilitarian viewpoint. As our President Jane Conoley has said, “we are ONE Beach.” This academic year, I know you will join me reminding our students that we are here for them – all of them. 

Prospector Pete

Prospector Pete Statue on CSULB CampusSince DACA has engaged the national stage, we have proactively opened up the dialogue for our campus. We are looking at our university spaces to ensure that they reflect our mission of inclusive excellence. We want Long Beach State to echo back the values we all share. Given this, our campus is looking into our Prospector Pete sculpture that personifies the spirit of one of our nicknames, the 49ers. 

This statue, not a stranger to controversy, has in the past caused a stir on our campus. The 49ers (named after the year 1849 - the start of the California Gold Rush) have some historical records that indicate their role in the near- annihilation of indigenous Californians. One of the peoples affected, the Tongva Tribe, has land where the university itself now sits.

Given the 49ers tainted history, President Conoley has requested Anna Sandovol, Craig Stone, Griselda Suarez and me to collaborate on starting a discussion on Prospector Pete’s future. We will be looking at the cultural and educational implications surrounding this statue as well as what is appropriate for its future, and especially important reconceptualizing the space in which it stands. If you have any input regarding Prospector Pete, please email me at provost@csulb.edu with your comments.

Thank you again for all you do for our campus. You restore my hope in the educational process. 

-Brian


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