The Cypress College Academic Senate gave an official apology to the student body for “any harm, emotional or physical, that they may have been exposed to when they spoke out on issues of equality.” Academic Senate President Gary Zager read the apology at the beginning of the Feb. 13 Academic Senate meeting.
The statement reads:
“The Cypress College Academic Senate hereby expresses it’s heartfelt apology to Student Trustee, Claudia Peña, to the Associated Students, and to the students at large for any consequences they may have suffered in exercising their right to speak out about equality with Fullerton College students. We, as the voice of the Cypress College faculty, sincerely applaud these students for their heroic stance and perseverance, and we accept responsibility for ensuring that student voices are always encouraged, heard, and thoughtfully considered.”
The Cypress College Academic Senate had passed a motion, in their Dec. 12 meeting, to issue said apology after the contention and heated argument surrounding the issue of the college’s reading requirement. Billy Pashaie, instructional librarian and academic senator, was tasked to prepare the statement.
“I worked with Frida Lugo [Associated Students representative to the Academic Senate] and Claudia Peña in writing a draft of the apology statement,” Pashaie said to The Cypress Chronicle. “But the eventual statement that was read at Senate came from the students, which is where it genuinely should have come from.”
Peña said that the apology was welcome, sincere, and that it validates her job fighting for student rights.
“I believe it takes a lot for a person to apologize for something that wasn’t entirely their fault, let alone an entire body,” Peña told The Cypress Chronicle. “I hope that other members of the Cypress College community read this, and think about what they say to students because their voice carries a huge weight as well. At the end of the day, I am proud to be a charger, and I am proud of my fellow students using their voice to better the lives of generations of Cypress College students to come.”