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This year, as in years past, Seattle Central College’s campus has been a gathering place for protests on May Day [“Police reports recount May Day melee,” Local News, May 4]. Some of our community’s citizens take this opportunity to peacefully express their rights to speak and assemble about important issues. As a college of higher learning, we wholeheartedly believe in these ideals and in the importance of protecting them.

In the process of exercising these rights, however, a few protestors defaced our campus with graffiti and other acts of vandalism. We absolutely do not believe these unfortunate actions speak for all protestors, and we hope they did not divert attention from the important messages communicated that day.

On behalf of our students, faculty and staff, I would like to sincerely thank the Capitol Hill community for its outpouring of support in response to these actions. During the event, several protestors tried to prevent others from defacing artwork on our campus. On Saturday, a few unsung heroes graciously donated their time to remove graffiti and clear trash. We’re tremendously heartened by the care and concern shown for our campus, and it’s comforting to know we have such amazing neighbors who will always lend a hand when needed. Additionally, I’d like to extend a thank you to the Seattle Police Department, the City of Seattle and the mayor’s office for working hard on May Day to keep the events as safe as possible.

Our community faces its share of challenges, many of which were enunciated by the May Day protests. For nearly 50 years, Seattle Central has been working to address these challenges by offering an attainable education and providing the skills to put anyone with passion and determination on the path to a better future. On our campus and throughout our community, we know that we all benefit when everyone has a lifetime of opportunity.

Paul T. Killpatrick, president of Seattle Central College