Silence Speaks

Transparency and dialogue are essential for a thriving campus community and the silence from Dean Denise Adams speaks volumes, leaving a significant gap in understanding—one that could have been bridged by just a few minutes of conversation.
Eston Conley

The decision made by Denise Adams, the Dean of Instruction, to host the RN Class of 36 pinning ceremony at Paradise Alliance Church has sparked significant controversy among the student body, particularly among Muslim and Hmong students whose religious beliefs prevent them from participating in their own ceremony. 

Notably, the pinning of the class of 36 is not the only ceremony held at this church; the venue choice has also been extended to ceremonies for the State Parks Academy, the 81st Fire Academy, and the 153rd Basic AJLE Academy.  

Hosting a pinning ceremony at a religious venue has generated concerns about inclusivity and also put the college’s policies and the dean’s decision-making processes under scrutiny. The decision led many to question the college’s adherence to its mission statement, which is committed to fostering a “fair, just, and welcoming campus community.” 

Despite repeated efforts to engage with Dean of Instruction Denise Adams to understand the reasons behind the off-campus venue selection, The Roadrunner’s attempts to secure an interview were unsuccessful.  

Over the course of seven days, numerous calls and a visit to her office were made. We clearly stated our intention to understand her perspective on the pinning ceremony’s venue controversy and to discuss any lessons learned or forthcoming changes.  

Despite all our attempts to engage—Dean Adams was reportedly too busy to spare a moment for a conversation with The Roadrunner. 

The lack of engagement from a key administrator on an issue of considerable importance not only frustrates efforts at balanced reporting, but also raises concerns about the faculty’s commitment to transparency and student concerns. 

By not prioritizing communication with the student newspaper—an institution that acts as a conduit for students’ voices on campus—Denise Adams has inadvertently sent a disheartening message about the value she places on student dialogue and inclusion. 

Despite her role in the AS government, Liz Heaton, Student Trustee at Butte College, which ostensibly positions her as a bridge between the student body and faculty, Liz faced similar challenges to The Roadrunner when trying to engage with Denise Adams. 

In contrast, we must acknowledge Trey Robinson, Butte College’s IDEA Officer.  

Despite not being directly involved in the decision-making process for the ceremony’s venue, he demonstrated commendable responsiveness. His willingness to engage with The Roadrunner, without prior notice, showcases a respect for student media and its role in campus life. 

While the conversation with Trey did not answer the crucial questions about the situation, his openness to converse shows a stark contrast to the silence from other quarters and serves as an exemplar of the type of engagement we hope to see more broadly across the administration, staff and faculty. 

The Roadrunner, as a student newspaper, is a voice for the student body; we are an open platform for dialogue and understanding between students and the administration. When significant figures like Dean Adams do not engage with such a platform, especially concerning matters that are of deep importance to many students, it reflects a broader disengagement that could be perceived as dismissive of student concerns. 

This incident has shone a light on the fact that administration, especially those in high-ranking positions, need to rethink the implementation of “Caring-Campus” style student interactions and begin to prioritize openness and responsiveness. 

The pinning ceremony for Butte College’s Class of 36 ultimately found a new venue, thanks to many efforts by students in the class alongside the help of student trustee Liz Heaton. The event will now be held at the main campus on May 22. As far as The Roadrunner is aware, other ceremonies planned at the church will proceed as initially scheduled but questions remain. 

Journalism strives to present comprehensive narratives, balancing all sides to inform and enlighten. However, fulfilling this mission becomes challenging when key voices remain silent. 

Moving forward, it is imperative that leadership on campus takes student journalism seriously and recognize its role in fostering a connected, informed, and engaged community. An institution that engages openly and respectfully with its student media is an institution that champions institutional respect for student voices

View Comments (1)
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Nathan Azevedo Espindula
Nathan Azevedo Espindula, Editor and Chief
Who is Nathan Espindula? Click to find out
Our Goal

Comments (1)

All TheRoadrunner Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • D

    DillonApr 25, 2024 at 12:23 pm

    Love this article. You’re smart to bring attention to the dean not wanting to make any comment on the issue. Makes me think, are students really the priority? The college claims that we are but when things like this happen and significant figures don’t want to make a comment on a significant issue it makes me as a student feel unimportant. Hopefully this article forces a response.