On Wednesday, March 17, during the monologue of his late night TV show, Jay Leno took a whack at community college students. “Thousands of students gathered in Sacramento to protest the proposed hike in tuition fees… . you could kind of tell they were community college students,” he said, as a video clip began rolling and young people holding signs such as: “Skool is expensive, “ Let Us Lern” and “Don’t Raise Tooishun” appeared on the screen.
That night, the stereotype of community college students provided Mr. Leno with a cheap and offensive punch line. I encourage you to respond to his attempt at humor with a well-composed wake-up call – a dose of polite enlightenment. You may want to point out the cost effectiveness of community colleges, how many community college students transfer to four-year institutions or contribute their skills to the local workforce. You may also want to include some of the following facts:
· Nationwide, 1,173 community colleges enroll 10.4 million students. Forty-five percent of these students are first-time college freshmen.
· Community college graduates have distinguished themselves in such areas as government, business, education, science and sports.
· Notable alumni include: William Prochnau, journalist and writer; Carmen Arroyo, the first Hispanic woman voted into the NYS Assembly; Billy Crystal, comedian; Cathy Turner, Olympic speed skater; Bola Ahmed Tinubu, governor, state of Lagos, Nigera; R. Bruce Merrifield, recipient of 1984 Nobel Prize in Chemistry; Rich Karlgaard, Forbes magazine publisher; George Lucas, film director, writer, producer; Richard Carmona, M.D., U. S. Surgeon General.
Please address your responses to:
Stephen Ridgeway, producer
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno
3000 West Alameda Ave.
Burbank, CA 91523
The impact community colleges have made upon our community and our country isn’t laughable. Please let Mr. Leno know that.
President, MCC Student Government Association
College and Community Relations