Superintendent/President Dr. Eric Bishop addressed the Ohlone Community College District campus community and college supporters in his State of the College 2021 speech Friday, January 22nd. He calls on the community to be Renegades and has a new take on what it means to be just that. Here's a portion of his address:
As we move into spring 2021, we have tons on our plate, in addition to continuing to navigate this pandemic safely. We are poised to reimagine and reconstruct how we do education, how we serve our students and our community and how we make the playing field more equitable.
When I first accepted the position at Ohlone some months back, I had the arduous task of telling my 10-year old daughter about the change. So, after coming to an understanding of how far Ohlone was from Chaffey, her next question was, “What are they called?” I told her that we were Renegades. And as you can imagine, her next question was, “What is a Renegade?” I had to think about that one and figure out a way she would understand. So of course, I said, a Renegade is like a Desperado. And you know the question that led to. I showed her the mascot and she still did not get it. We will just park that story for now.
But that idea of how to identify ourselves is one that has sat with me. So, being the President, I figured I might as well produce my own interpretation. One definition I found when I looked it up was, “a person who deserts and betrays an organization, country, or set of principles.” In this time and era, let’s go with the idea of deserting or betraying a set of principles. I know this can be thin ice given recent events in our country. But here goes.
Our challenge is to be Renegades. But let’s be renegades in deserting a community college system that leaves students behind. Let’s be renegades to a system that talks an awful lot about equity, but struggles with truly putting it into practice. Let’s be renegades in showing our 115 system brethren that we are going to break away from business as usual and living with the same outcomes and results that our system has lived with for decades. Let’s rebel against mediocrity; let’s rebel against being the standard. Let’s be extraordinary. Let’s be Renegades in how we serve students like they have never been served before. Let’s be Renegades in meetings students on their journeys, wherever they are; Let’s be renegades in transforming higher education into a system that invites students to contribute in their learning, makes them feel welcome in the offices and the classroom. So if we’re going to be Renegades, let us as a community define what that means. That’s something I can sell to my 10-year-old. Hopefully all of us can.