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A Message from President Smith: We Are in This Together, Listening and Learning Sessions

Banner for Rio Salado Office of the President College Updates Rio Salado President Kate Smith

Dear Students,

It is with a heavy heart that I write to each of you, reflecting with sorrow as we watch painful events continue to impact our lives, our families, our community and our country. These last several months have upended our day-to-day lives as we have faced a global pandemic, and recent events have served as a stark reminder of continued struggles and injustices. Whether it is related to long-standing racism, COVID-19, unemployment or other current societal issues, we recognize many in our community are experiencing difficult times. We want to be clear that we care deeply about you and our community, and we are here to support you. 

We know this time may seem overwhelming, but I want to assure you, you are not alone. We are in this together. I hope you will take comfort in knowing our college is more committed than ever before to support you and to be a community leader during these extraordinary times. We believe the work of our college has never mattered more.

Rio Salado College was founded on the premise of providing access to education as a means of growing social and economic equity. The work of our college, our collective work, is more important than ever, as we provide a welcoming space and opportunity for learning, growing, reflecting and supporting.  We welcome, embrace, and celebrate every person, from every background. We have an inclusive community when we stand together, when we acknowledge our differences and welcome diverse thoughts, ideas, and beliefs, and when we support one another with courage and conviction in our pursuit of knowledge. As such, we are renewing our commitment to our core values of diversity, equity, and inclusiveness, our practices of mindfulness and empathy, and to listen and learn from one another. 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., said, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As we move forward, we encourage you to join us in these college listening and learning sessions to address long-standing injustices, equity and inclusion, which will create space for meaningful dialogue that I hope will guide us forward and define this moment as a turning point for significant change. 

  • Thursday, June 11, 12-1 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 18, 6-7 p.m.
  • Saturday, June 20, 10-11 a.m.

Look for details about how you can participate in the coming days. We also hope you will join us for the next Maricopa Community Colleges Listening session June 8, 3-4 p.m.  Register now.

In the meantime, I encourage you to reach out to me, your instructors, counselors and your loved ones to share your ideas and concerns— as we must work through these challenges together if we’re going to create lasting change.

Your commitment to your education is an inspiration to us and your potential to do great things gives us hope and purpose.

May we each embrace our responsibility to model the kindness and humanity we seek for our students, our families and our world.


Kate Smith
Interim President                                                           
Rio Salado College 

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