1. Call to order: 5:00
Attendance: Simon, Decker, Yamaguchi, Santiago, DuQuenne (council liaison) Seltzer (staff liaison)
Absent: Choudhary, Gillis, Williams
3. Public Input: None
4. General Discussion about the November 3 meeting.
This special meeting was scheduled at the request of some of the SERJAC members who wanted to discuss the meeting held on November 3.
DuQueene commented on the importance of ongoing community conversations about systemic racism and informed the group about a small event hosted by Members for Equity at the church on the corner of Walker and Siskiyou on November 22 at 6:30 pm. There will a larger event in the spring.
Generally, the discussion centered around responses from the Police Chief about the threats to Nataki Garrett and how to strengthen/facilitate a stronger connection between the community and the Ashland Police department.
Simon expressed shock that the Police Chief did not know about the threats prior to the NPR article. She noted that anyone who had attended a play at OSF would have seen Garrett walking around with her security team and wonder why the security team was needed. “Why is not knowing an acceptable answer? How can we make sure that the police department is aware of issues?” Simon noted that “I didn’t know” is what people said when Jews were rounded up during the Holocaust. Santiago expressed shock that the chief did not know about the threats.
Santiago asked if there was room to critique the actions of the chief and officers. Seltzer stressed the importance of learning before critiquing and suggested that SERJAC develop a list of questions to ask the Chief and to invite him to attend a future SERJAC meeting and address the questions. Seltzer suggested sample questions to ask the Chief such as explaining community policing, training in race relations for officers, officer training in implicit bias. Seltzer will send an email to all members inviting them to submit questions in advance of the December meeting. The questions will be discussed and fine-tuned prior to reaching out to the Chief.
Yamaguchi suggested that a police officer could be appointed as an ex officio member of SERJAC so that person could be a part of the discussion of the group. Simon provided the history that the Police Chief was appointed to be the staff liaison to SERJ but that some members of SERJ were uncomfortable having a police presence at their meeting.
DuQueene noted that trust is so important in developing strong relationships. “I don’t know you so I don’t trust you”. Yamaguchi stressed the importance of a collaborative conversation with APD. Decker noted that what Ashland says is very different than what Ashland does.
Generally the group agrees that SERJ energy needs to be put toward a curated community conversation. DuQueene believes that could be a part of the Welcoming Program.
It was noted that Sou President Bailey began his presentation with an apology for chastising SERJ for not participating in the July 4 parade in an email he sent. Yamaguchi explained that she contacted him after receiving the email and encouraged him to reach out and meet with SERJ before critiquing their actions.
Simon identified three action items to include on the December agenda.
Meeting adjourned at 1:30.