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BCC PRESIDENT, PLANET ADDRESS CAMPUS ON POST-ELECTION RESPONSE

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BY DAN VALENTI

PLANET VALENTI NEWS AND COMMENTARY

(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY NOV. 28, 2016) — THE PLANET had inquiries here and elsewhere about the actions at Berkshire Community College following the win by Donald Trump in the Nov. 9 presidential election. What, if anything, did the campus do? The queries came following news reports of other institutions of higher learning taking extreme measures to protect the fragile psyches of a student body having grown up in the Everyone Gets a Trophy era, including safe zones, grief counseling, and therapy pets.

As a long-time member of the BCC faculty and one of the school’s staunchest supporters in word and in deed, we are pleased to report that the college addressed the situation and did so responsibly. BCC President Ellen Kennedy sent an all-campus “everyone” e-mail on Nov. 22. On the 24th, THE PLANET added our thoughts, again to BCC’s “everyone.” In yet another PLANET exclusive, we share the two letters here.

——– 000 ——–

ELLEN KENNEDY, BCC PRESIDENT

Good morning,

I apologize for not communicating with you sooner about the Presidential election.  It’s probably fair to say that all of us have required some time to process the outcome.

My original intended email to you reflected upon the values implicit in a liberal arts education – including communication, working together, and critical thinking – that could help us process what happened.   But it occurred to me that the more important issue to address is the fear being felt by so many people on our campus and in our community arising out of the rhetoric of the campaign, as well as some of the policy proposals discussed.

How should we, as a college community and as individuals, respond?

First, we must be determined and resolute in assuring that our campus remains a safe and hospitable place for all of our students and staff.  There is zero tolerance for acts of harassment or intimidation.  Not in our house.

Second, we must be understanding of the feelings of others.  For many of us, our families came to this country long ago, and the memory of the distrust and prejudice with which we were treated has been forgotten over the generations.  As immigrants ourselves, we can commit ourselves to being sensitive to how recent arrivals to this country may feel “under siege” and assure them that they are welcomed and supported among us.  A simple, random act of kindness – even a smile in a hallway – can help more than you know. And we must be prepared to stand for them-and with them-if the need arises.

The same applies to those of cultures, backgrounds, gender preferences, and religions that have been singled out, who are also fearful and uneasy about what this new administration might hold for them. We offer a place where all feel safe and appreciated, with friends and allies as needed.

Going forward, and as rhetoric turns into policy, we may be challenged to look deeply into ourselves for responses.  Whether our sense of morals is founded in our religious beliefs or is a fundamental part of who we are, our morality may be called upon and challenged.  Again, this could be on an individual basis or as an institution.  I fully expect that the Berkshire Community College community that I know and love will rise to the occasion and do the right thing.

Ellen

 ——– 000 ——–
DAN VALENTI, ENGLISH DEPARTMENT

ELLEN

Thanks for this vital message. It’s a good one, and I heartily endorse the sentiment that our beloved college has no place for anything but good grace in light of the recent election. I would like to add my thoughts.

A college campus needs to be a place that respects and encourages academic and personal freedom. From freedom stems all other concerns, including one’s sense of safety and security. In answer to your question on how best we as an academic community can respond, I would fall back on one of the most admired aspects of our constitutional system: The orderly transition of power. Leaders change. The country goes on, backed by the genius of institutional stability. One president leaves. Another takes office. In our system, the inherent checks and balances are sufficiently strong to stem whatever fear people might have about the election’s outcome.

I would also remind everyone of FDR’s great observation on the nature of “fear”: The only fear is fear itself. Fear is a bully. It will eat you up if you allow it. However, like all bullies, it will back down if you confront it head on. That is done by willfully refusing to give in to fear, by realizing that while we as individuals often cannot dictate matters outside of us, we can always control our attitude toward the events and occasions that life throws at us.

I would remind the fearful of how strong they are. Theirs is a power there for the taking. The choice is all ours: Will be be victims of circumstance or victors of occasion?

The greatest service we as a college community can provide for our students and colleagues — the campus universe — is to offer our best and to be our best at all times. Regardless of our role — teachers, students, administrators, counselors, food preps, security officers, counselors, maintenance workers, and so on — we need to do our jobs employing our talents along the lines of excellence. That includes an attitude of respect for all but also from all.

Culture, background, gender, religion — what are they but the outward expressions of a common humanity? On a college campus, united in common purpose of an Education process without which our free institutions cannot survive, these differences are best incorporated as incidentals rather than essentials. Undue focus on “I’m a THIS” and “You’re a THAT” cannot be healthy. The question is one of “We.” Why are WE here at this college? How can WE work together to accomplish our goals? How can WE provide the greatest good for those who want to work for it?

Berkshire Community College has always risen to the occasion. I’m confident that this post-election, pre-inaugural time shall be no different.

My best to all,

DAN VALENTI

——– 000 ——–

In short, BCC made a measured acknowledgment that avoided the embarrassing excess of other institutions. THE PLANET welcomes your thoughts on this topic.

——————————————————————————————-

“I regret nothing. There have been things that I missed, but I ask no questions, because I have loved it such as it has been, even the moments of emptiness, even the unanswered. I loved it, that is, the unanswered in my life.”Ayn Rand

“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”

LOVE TO ALL

The views expressed in the comment section or opinions published within the text other than those of PLANET VALENTI are not those of PLANET VALENTI or endorsed in any way by PLANET VALENTI; this website reserves the right to remove any comment that violates its Rules of Conduct, and it is not liable for the consequences of any posted comment as provided in Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and PLANET VALENTI’s terms of service.

 

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Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
4 years ago

‘The unanswered in my life’

heh heh
heh heh
4 years ago

“A horse is a horse of course of course….”

Wilbur

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Excellent thoughts on transitions and fear of change ,just 8 years too late.

Village Knight
Village Knight
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Bravo! No more Obama!

Anon
Anon
4 years ago

Can we talk about the shooting outside Methuselah Bar on North St. last Friday night?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Anon
4 years ago

I heard that a 17 year old is in critical condition after being stabbed. Just appeared in the news today 3 days after the incident took place.

Knock Knock
Knock Knock
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Was he stabbed or shot? if it was in front of Johnny’s they’d be shut down.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Trump already being accused of a double cross by his supportes

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Donald is the only one who knows stuff

be nice while he fixes everything…for everyone…for all time

Thomas More
Thomas More
4 years ago

If there is one place that you don’t have to worry about rioting or political dissention it is BCC. The student body as a whole could not care less. Walk the hall and randomly pick out students and ask them who the governor is and see what you get for an answer.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Thomas More
4 years ago

Well Tom, if you asked me who the governor was, but did not give me a state, then I would give you a perplexed look as well. but keep in mind they may just be Trump supporters.

BAMMM!!!!

Ben Coco
Ben Coco
Reply to  Thomas More
4 years ago

Aren’t you the one that said Trump would never get elected? Anywho I’ll guess that the Governor is Tex Lindstrom?

Clippy Obrien
Clippy Obrien
4 years ago

Good letter by Ellen Kennedy. Good response by THE PLANET.

SisterGoldenHair
SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Dan,

The college president is probably a wonderful person and a great president no doubt, particularly compared to some of the past ones. She has mastered the art of reasonableness, balance and political correctness. She had to, to survive in liberal land.

Here is what I would have written;

I believe it is normally inappropriate for a public college president to send an email to everyone concerning the results of a government election. However, based on the national response to the recent presidential election, particularly in the college community, including protests, the offering of pet therapy, massages, safe spaces, cookies, coloring books, and the lowering of the flag to half-mast at one college, I deem it necessary to respond:

This is college, not kindergarten. We won’t coddle you or cuddle you, or snuggle you, or give you safe spaces, coloring books, cookies, or therapy, because your candidate did not win the presidential election. If you don’t like the results of the election, there will be another one in four years. The time to get angry and get involved is before the election. If you didn’t bother to vote, even though thousands of Americans died so you could, perhaps you will next time. If you were too young, you won’t be next time. If you did vote and your candidate lost, there is a word that best describes what happened; democracy.

God Bless America

Sincerely,

Your President

She writes that “ As immigrants ourselves, we can commit ourselves to being sensitive to how recent arrivals to this country may feel “under siege” and assure them that they are welcomed and supported among us. I doubt the president is an immigrant, or for that matter most of the people she addresses in the letter, and if they are, they are probably legal. Anyone here legally has no need to feel “under siege” and anyone here illegally is committing a crime.

h
h
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

She’s a millionaire,she’ll advocate for the llittle guy.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

You are so completely out of touch and tone deaf to the modern world.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

I agree. Follow the law like the “legal immigrants” do and we will welcome you to our country. The process of becoming legal weeds out people who are not here to be a good citizen.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

OOOPSIE! A legal immigrant just went berserk in Ohio.

Pat
Pat
Reply to  heh heh
4 years ago

He was a refugee. Big difference.

acheshirecat
acheshirecat
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

I believe the pc term used by the media is legal permanent resident aka a refugee from Somalia.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

An alien admitted to the United States as a lawful permanent resident. Permanent residents are also commonly referred to as immigrants; however, the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) broadly defines an immigrant as any alien in the United States, except one legally admitted under specific nonimmigrant categories (INA section 101(a)(15)). An illegal alien who entered the United States without inspection, for example, would be strictly defined as an immigrant under the INA but is not a permanent resident alien. Lawful permanent residents are legally accorded the privilege of residing permanently in the United States. They may be issued immigrant visas by the Department of State overseas or adjusted to permanent resident status by U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in the United States.

Paul
Paul
4 years ago

Want to have some fun? Go to BCC ans ask the students a few basic questions.
1. How many of branches of government are there?
2. Name them.
3. Tell me what each branch does.

If you really want to have some fun ask them how many stars are on the flag and what do they represent. Better yet ask them how many stripes are on the flag and what do they represent.
Now ask them about the newest i phone. I bet they can tell you everything about that.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  Paul
4 years ago

Ask those questions to Ellen Kennedy.

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

Check out the PittsfieldLicense Board hearing on now. Unbelievable.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

The refugee who did a terrorist attack today at Ohio State University was from a federal refugee program bringing them in from this dangerous part of the world for many years under this administration. It is impossible to fully vet them. This is what Trump wants to slow down or even stop. They do not want to assimilate into our society. He was apparently upset because he couldn’t pray in public due to college rules. That was one of his grievances. This is a clear example of “culture clash”. Our society is so opposed to their religion and way of life. Some will assimilate, but many are not going to and this will create all kinds of problems.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

So why can’t our society not be opposed to any religion? Or do we only like religions that allow the systemic raping of children for centuries?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

You are totally missing the point. If you are going to have people from this part of the world come to this country, they expect to be able to practice their religion as they see fit. You are not going to change them to the ways of our society. Rather they want to change our society to follow the rules they believe in. This is especially true of their youth who are being pressured by ISIS that America will prevent you from worshiping as you want. If they see evidence of this, it confirms what they are being told by those who want to radicalize them. This is an extremely complicated situation. Just ask France or Germany.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  Pat
4 years ago

Yes, so why not allow them to practice their religion openly.

And what ever religion anybody practices, remember it’s just a story.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

You really are a moron.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  12 Gauge
4 years ago

Back to name calling again?

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
4 years ago

Muslim refugee.

CosbiesLadies
CosbiesLadies
4 years ago

Someone was shot on North Street, doesn’t seem like these shooters care about where they do it? Didn’t he know the Mayor increased the budget by about a million?

Pat
Pat
Reply to  CosbiesLadies
4 years ago

I thought the police were breaking up the gangs.

Pat
Pat
4 years ago

Turns out there was a shooting in Pittsfield this weekend. The police are asking the public for information since the victim either isn’t talking out of fear or is unable to talk. There were reports of shots fired on North Street and a 17 year old was found gunned down.

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
4 years ago

I have to disagree that the Presidents letter was “a good one” While it might have addressed in part the presidential election it totally missed the mark on Democracy. This would have been the opportunity to address the importance of voting in all elections and the students should have been encouraged to take a more active role in local elections and to get out into the community and to see firsthand the impacts of both National and local elections first hand. Go and talk to those that will be impacted both positively and negatively from increased taxes or those that will not be able to send their children to a school they wish to for the benefit of the child.
Lastly and this one is closest to my heart personally encourage each of them to see the impacts of elections and the importance of them. Each student should have been encouraged to take the time to visit the veterans section of any cemetery and either watch the sunrise or watch the sun set on a grave marker of someone claimed in a battle in the service to their country so each of us could vote. Watch the small American flag in the breeze as it is kissed by the sun. Then go talk to some veterans get their story so to speak. It wasn’t to far removed from Veterans Day.
And why an email to all signed Ellen? Have we not bestowed upon here some sort of title?

Just sayin

Thomas More
Thomas More
Reply to  Joe Pinhead
4 years ago

What branch of the service did you serve Pin?

ShirleyKnutz
ShirleyKnutz
4 years ago

I would like to know where all the concern was eight years ago when a community organizer with no experience became the most powerful leader in the world. That was scary but so far we are still here. As for the religion that allows rape for centuries comment that is the islam faith that it sounds like the person wants to arrive on our shores.

Lokel Yokel
Lokel Yokel
Reply to  ShirleyKnutz
4 years ago

Tarzan was a community organizer, what’s the point.
Let’s focus on the here and now, a horrible incident on North St.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  ShirleyKnutz
4 years ago

Factually incorrect, but why let the truth get in the way of a good lie.

P Hewton
P Hewton
4 years ago

The news is saying the o hi o StaTe attack could be linked to g-hotty terrorism.

SisterGoldenHair
SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Hey Lokel Yokel,

Is the North Street shooting really “a horrible incident”, or just one scum bag shooting another? Just sayin!

Lokel Yokel
Lokel Yokel
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

SGL….It shows what type of individuals you have traversing the Main street at tmes. Lot of peeps see this and say, no way for dinner on North tonight, or movie or lodging et al.

Jaxur
Jaxur
Reply to  Lokel Yokel
4 years ago

So true. I don’t feel safe anywhere on North Street but especially past Columbus Ave going north. Scary people at all hours.
I heard there was a shooting (of a 17 yr old) and a stabbing (of a young man), two separate incidents. It would be nice to hear from someone in authority about this.

Jonathan Melle
Jonathan Melle
4 years ago

Boot Newt!
Dump Trump!
Vote ’em all out!

C. Trzcinka
C. Trzcinka
4 years ago

At Indiana University there was a campus-wide email from the provost roughly equivalent to the BCC president. There was nothing else. I taught on Nov 9 and the students (in a class of 54) were talking a little about the election but there were other topics (football, basketball) floating around the room. I said little except that Trump’s victory was within the margin of error in the polls. It was more the pundits that over-interpreted the numbers.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  danvalenti
4 years ago

The left lost this election for running a failed warmongering candidate that is not trustworthy. The vote stayed home and Trump won.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  Shakes His Head
4 years ago

If Mr Trump goes after the terrorists by “bombing the shit out of them” or otherwise offending their sensibilities, I would hesitate to be staying in any of his hotels or other properties, because he is going to become a symbol of American aggression. Every building with his name on it will become a dangerous place to be. Every thing he owns will be in jeopardy.

He must know this and I wonder if it will effect how he goes about fighting terrorism.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

When Obama was elected he was a US Senator.Your not allowed to quote Shaun Hannity forever.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

they are allowed to say whatever they like.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Trump just said he won the popular vote.This is a blatant lie.Trump is the next president and can’t accept losing the popular vote by over 2 million people which has no meaning except to say he has no mandate.Trump supporters are already excepting he lies.

SisterGoldenHair
SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Joe Pinhead and Shirley,

Great posts! Glad someone else gets it.

SisterGoldenHair
SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Hey Shakes, it is the liberal loons and college cupcakes who are out of touch and tone deaf to the modern world, not the millions of us who had enough sense to vote for Trump before this once great country of ours is completely ruined.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

I really want to see how you feel next April. You might still be to proud to admit it but he be gonna mess up your life just like the rest of ours.

Oh Yah…it’s true! I have seen the future and it is not pretty.

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

I am completely fine with gutting Medicare and abolishing Social Security. The right and the past 40 years of neo conservative warmongering presidents watched America’s downfall. They can fix it..

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

So Trump supporters believe 19 year old keg party students control parts of goverment.

h
h
4 years ago

The Trumpeteer will correct all the ills in the World just like the Wizard of Oz, his protege, just say everything is awful or nasty and repeat, everything is going to be great. Keep repeating it until you believe it. Or just say three times, there’s no place like home.

H
H
4 years ago

Anyone see or hear the comment by Councilor Connell’s former colleague that apartment complexes with campaign signs for candidates, usually don’t vote. A slam for sure against Connell.

Marchetti is on t v saying it doesn’t matter that assessment’s are up or down, you’ll still pay taxes? WHAAAAT?

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  H
4 years ago

Marchetti has never had to worry about where his next windfall was coming from. High ranking bank personnel can’t even see down beneath their noses that others can’t just go out and buy any thing they need.

There is no one on that council that even considers the plight of the have nots.
Their biggest concern this Christmas will be whether to get an even bigger TV than they already have. a couple hundred dollars on THEIR tax bill does not even register a blip in their budget.

Jaxur
Jaxur
Reply to  H
4 years ago

What a horrible tone deaf remark to make. Vote Mr. Marchetti da hell out of office next year.

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

Have to believe a Super Wal Mart will affect business. Especially the Aldi’s and Price Rite’s and even the Stop and Shops ect.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  May Hemm
4 years ago

Ya know, Walmarts food does not seem like much of a bargain to me. And I need not spend needlessly on food. The bigger ones are ridiculous with their bait and switch phantom bargains. Only casinos are trickier than a big super market chain when it comes to taking your money.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Marchetti is way way way over rated and thinks we are dumb.Marchetti is going to be voted out because he does not understand budgets.

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Amuso is along with Yon most responsible for 77k art teachers gym teachers vocational teachers sped teachers history teachets…..Amuso dismantled the Alternate school with Jake eberwien and blew 10 million dollar grant from fed goverment so Eberwien s dad could run 2nd Street jail as a school…..need to shut that dopey place down.

downtown dweller
downtown dweller
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

They moved the kids out of that site a couple of years ago. The jail uses it for their own purposes now.

http://www.berkshireeagle.com/stories/revamped-juvenile-resource-center-moving-out-of-old-second-street-jail,368880

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Let’s build a new police station in the hood.Walmart super centers attract shoplifters and keep local police busy all day long……Walmart super centers need their own police.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Walmart should have its own police force. They do not pay enough taxes to cover their use of public police time. The city actually loses money on that deal.

SisterGoldenHair
SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Great idea guys. Put the new station on the Pathetic Economic Development Property (PEDA), and make Walmart pay for it.

heh heh
heh heh
Reply to  SisterGoldenHair
4 years ago

Hell, put it right in the store in the Sporting Goods section. Or is that too far from the Subway coffee pot?

The School Committee
The School Committee
4 years ago

Amuso wants Walmart and Kroll White Tully….want walmart.Tyer wants Walmart.Yon wants walmart for bigger ear rings.Behnke wants walmart Curtis and Mccandless already spent walmart money….But no one wants it more than Brendan Sheran Teachers President.

Joe Pinhead
Joe Pinhead
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Well yea of course he does where else are the Teachers going to work when they retire?
http://www.forbes.com/sites/maureensullivan/2015/09/29/attention-new-teachers-dont-count-on-your-pension-to-fund-your-retirement/2/#1987deb6235b

Just sayin

mi
mi
Reply to  danvalenti
4 years ago

I could have sworn that a former council member said we were in good shape with the OPEB’s, can you believe that one?

Shakes His Head
Shakes His Head
Reply to  danvalenti
4 years ago

I appreciate your sentiment, Planet , but reform can’t mean just ripping off the people that are contractually owed something because the new crooks on Beacon Hill don’t like what the old crooks promised.

12 Gauge
12 Gauge
Reply to  The School Committee
4 years ago

Perhaps Yon can buy her horrid perfume there.

Ron Kitterman
Ron Kitterman
4 years ago

Thomas Jefferson “Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there is one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear. “

Local Yokel
Local Yokel
Reply to  Ron Kitterman
4 years ago

I’ll Remeber that one Ron. As it will help when I refuse to go to the Beacon Theater.

May Hemm
May Hemm
4 years ago

On another note,…watching Pittsfield Airport Commsion, someone was talking about porta potty’s and some Czechoslovokian that said Pittsfield is great.

mi
mi
4 years ago

Trump has lost his mind,he wants to ban citizenship to flag burners.That is the worst thing he has suggested, and he has said some really dumb stuff.

joetaxpayer
joetaxpayer
Reply to  mi
4 years ago

Believe Hillary proposed same thing a while back. Has a long way to go to out dumb Obama.

Miss Vito
Miss Vito
4 years ago

Looks like the Assessors are going to get thier forty thousand dollar counter top. Chris Cristie look alike said they don’t have the time to do it in house. Give me three good carpenters, I can put that counter in in two days max.

Miss Vito
Miss Vito
4 years ago

With that being said this is peanuts compared to giving Ovanta a half million, 900 to police, Stanley tax breaks,the new school….

Miss Vito
Miss Vito
4 years ago

I like the new buildings guy, Chris Christie.

amandaWell
amandaWell
4 years ago

Council Grades: Rivers; Incomplete
Morandi; C
Mazzeo A
White C
Caccamo A
Amuso D
Tully A
Krol A
Connell B
Confetti C
Simonelli A.

Comment Mazzeo took Mr. Kerwood to the woodshed. Pretty much made him look like a fool. Something going on there.

Harlan Rinklenutts
Harlan Rinklenutts
4 years ago

Tyer has a five year stabilization plan…That’s good enough for me. dee ya in five years.

Spagirlfrommass
Spagirlfrommass
4 years ago

Condolences to your Family Dan.

Spagirlfrommass
Spagirlfrommass
4 years ago

Condolences to you and your Family, Dan

Last Tango in Pittsfield
Last Tango in Pittsfield
4 years ago

can’t wait for Planet every day.