Mt. SAC Raises a Call to Action in the Fight Against Racism

Dean Karelyn Hoover is the first speaker to kick off a biweekly speaker series on racial injustice.


Photo courtesy of Mt. SAC.

On Tuesday June 23, the Humanities and Social Science Division kicked off a series called A Call to Action on Zoom which was geared to address issues about equity in the Mt. SAC community.

The new biweekly series aims to bring together administration, faculty and students to not only start a conversation about racism, but also make a plan of action against it. The new series is in response to the protests and retaliation against police brutality and racial injustice.

The Humanities and Social Science Division will also be partnering with USC’s Race and Equity Center to integrate the two programs.

A Call to Action’s first speaker was Humanities and Social Sciences Dean Karelyn Hoover. Hoover did her doctoral work on leadership and change at community colleges.

During the meeting Hoover presented graphs that compared California demographics to the amount of people enrolled in California community colleges and the professors teaching those classes.

The data showed that Hispanics, Asians, Pacific Islanders and Black people were all over represented as students but underrepresented as professors. The results were switched when comparing white people.

“Outcomes are our responsibility. That data clearly shows that students weren’t being served,” Hoover said. “I see the data. It’s my responsibility to fix it. We have to do the work to make the changes in the system.”

Hoover’s plan to eliminate racial inequality starts with having a conversation and acknowledging the hard truths.

“I am a product of the California education system. That system taught a very one-sided view, a very distinctly white perspective of history,” Hoover said. “I grew up with that view of history, but I need to acknowledge my own lack of knowledge in the history of race and racism.”

Hoover said people have to understand there are aspects of life that some people don’t know, but there has to be a willingness to have a conversation. She said that the start won’t be perfect or easy, but it takes everyone to make a change.

The meeting ended with questions and comments from the audience which opened up the dialog about more topics.

An anonymous audience member commented that diversity training was just a white supremacist band-aid and then asked how to work toward real change. Hoover responded by saying, “It starts today. It starts with a look inward. It starts with thinking about who you are and who you want to be.”

Hoover addressed the need for more diversity on boards and how the school should require extra diversity programs to be taken by faculty. Hoover also said that Mt. SAC should change hiring practices and to continue to expand their search nationally to add more variety.

The next meeting in the series will be held on July 7 at 3 p.m. on Zoom. The speakers will be Mt. SAC students sharing their experiences and concerns.