Message from the President

June 14, 2023

Message from El Camino College President Regarding 2023 Commencement

Dear El Camino College Community,

El Camino College values the rich diversity within our campus community. During our recent Commencement ceremony, a student speaker who was not authorized to speak other than to introduce another speaker, took it upon herself to make an anti-Israel statement. To be clear, her statement was not approved by El Camino College officials and does not reflect the values and views of El Camino College. Anti-Israel sentiments can lead to a rise in antisemitism. Our Commencement ceremonies seek to celebrate, uplift, and are never places where statements against any community will be tolerated.

Diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) are core values of the El Camino College campus community. The College continues to make every effort to assess the very important DEIA and anti-racism work that we are collectively undertaking. Education and awareness are powerful tools in combating intolerance. We must foster an environment where individuals can learn about different cultures, religions, and histories, promoting empathy, understanding, and mutual respect. We must also guide our students on how to have dialogue that promotes positive change and does not alienate.

The platform in which the speaker delivered her statement did not allow for positive dialogue, learning, and understanding that are critical to our educational mission. We have addressed the inappropriateness of the delivery of the remarks at the Commencement Ceremony directly with the speaker. Reactions to this incident have led to some hateful statements against the speaker, Palestinians and Muslims. This is also unacceptable and contravenes our values and mission.

We are building a better campus community and society through education. We continue to provide opportunities for learning, change, and growth moving all of us forward toward being the inclusive campus we strive to be. We appreciate everyone’s collective commitment to engage in these challenging, yet critical conversations. Your contributions continue to make us a better college.


Brenda Thames
El Camino Community College District