February 26, 2018

College Class Manifesto

By Suzanne Ashimine

My sister. Suzanne, teaches Health and Sanitation at Laney College’s culinary pCollege Class Manifesto rogram in Oakland, California.

She came up with the idea to have a Class Manifesto- she and her students recite this at the beginning of every class.  I think it’s a powerful idea and am so proud of the dedication she brings to her students!



Culinary 219 Mission Statement 

I begin this class today of my own free will.

I have all intentions of completing this class.

I will take responsibility for my own personal goals.

My word will be impeccable.

I will treat all people in my class with respect and professionalism.

I will ask questions when unsure.

I will stay focused and alert.

I understand that there are no stupid questions.

I will not procrastinate on anything.

I will complete all assignments two days early and then review my work.

I will make time for my classes.

I volunteer one hour per week to the study of health and sanitation outside of this class.

The knowledge I bring and receive will remain with me for a lifetime, if I choose to participate.

I will not let my personal issues or hardships interfere with my studies.

I understand that I need to be present and accountable to be successful in accomplishing my goals.

My choices are crucial to my success.

I pledge to the upkeep of my college by showing respect for the grounds, being supportive and committed to my education.

I will never receive anything I cannot handle.


  1. lily sanderson says:

    That is great!!! Could edit for high school!!

  2. Please ASK her students how they feel about this ‘manifesto’, some ball it up and throw it out, some read it the first day of class and never look at it again, and still others have no idea how the above is supposed to motivate a class of approx 180 students ranging in age from 18 to 65. We are not in elementary school reciting the school song and the pledge of allegiance. This is college in an impoverished community, most of us have way too many problems at home, kids in all grades of school, sick relatives, etc. We have NO time for mantras and motivational speaking….we are simply trying to make it day to day with HOPES of passing Nutrition/Sanitation. Ask Suzanne what her rescission rate is. I know of several students personally who, no matter how hard they try, still must repeat her courses. Work on being approachable, fair, get some diversity training to learn to better deal with minorities and disabled individuals. Then redo….your manifesto!

    • Suzanne Ashimine says:

      Dear Current Student,

      I believe all people, regardless of their communities, should be held to high standards. To my knowledge, I have never given a non-passing grade to a student who has attempted all the work assigned. I appreciate the discussion and enjoy teaching and learning from my students every day.

    • Personal responsibility is very difficult for some people. It’s not an easy thing to admit that everything I do in my life I chose to do. For instance, my sister became pregnant at 17 years of age. My nephew is now 35. My sister didn’t have welfare, didn’t have family support, and didn’t have a husband or even boyfriend around. She put herself through college, and worked and made her own money. She has her masters degree in nursing, and after 30 years is the Executive Director of a hospital in Los Angeles making about $180,000 a year. By herself. She didn’t use excuses, or blame anyone, or tell her sad story to everyone as an excuse not to do something.

      You have two choices in life: Do, or not do. It’s up to you.

      Saying you have no time is a lousy excuse. We have time to talk on our phones; text and chat, and hang out with friends and loved ones, or kick it with our girlfriend or boyfriend, so don’t tell me you don’t have time to read a manifesto, when clearly it takes less time to read the manifesto than to write a long paragraph complaining about it.

      It’s like I told my daughter when she was in high school. You can fail high school. It’s up to you. You don’t have to go to college. It’s up to you. But mark my words young lady! Without high school you’ll be hard pressed to find a minimum wage job. (Even Ross and Taco Bell want you to have a high school diploma.) She said, “I don’t want to go to college!” I said fine, and asked her: So you’re alright with making 16 thousand dollars a year? She said, “What?” I said, because that’s what you’ll make. But if you go to college you’ll make between $45,000 and $150,000 a year, depending upon the career you choose. She said, “I’m going to college, Papa.” I said, Damn right you are.

      So go ahead! Ball it up. Throw it away. I hear Starbucks is a great place to work.

  3. Robert Dodd says:

    I am writing in response to the non-identified student in Suzanne Ashimine’s class at Laney College. Mrs. Ashimine’s Mission Statement for her class is an attempt to place all her diverse students on a path towards acquiring competent skills for areas such as management or independent owners in food services. Her clear goal introduces for the first time ideas to the less informed or reaffirms for those who benefit from a good upbringing ideas and principals central and needed to these jobs goals. Some might call this ethics using the classroom as a standard to help teach ideas lacking in some students lives. Without understanding these practices these students will fail in the work environment. For example, no one wants an employee who can not think his word is not his bond. This person would be termed a liar.

    Laney is part of the California Community Colleges. These schools fill many purposes, one is technical degree training and another is two year preparation for either Cal or Cal State. Laney, whether it is acknowledged or not, carries the unusual burden of also education for adults who do not have the education or deportment of regular high school students. Assuming as the hidden writer does that students from impoverished communities can not keep their word or preform as any other responsible adult insults the students from any community who strive to achieve their education. Making excuses for why someone does not need to show proficiency of the curriculum rips off from the students who do the work and endangers the people who rely on the school to educate these students. As the secret writer indicate, this class is for Nutrition/Sanitation. Would this writer want their mother or child in a hospital that employs staff that used impoverished community as an excuse not to understand or do the work? Could patients die from medical ignorance in hospital? This writer should do the research and understand they do. Failure to understand the principals of this course could lead to malpractice and death. Stop hiding. Start studying. Feel pride in your education. Mrs. Ashimine deserves our thanks.

    • Robert Dodd says:

      Young woman,

      I hope you read and understand my posts. Racism from any direction is immoral. It is also my hope that you succeed with your career. It is obvious you are a well spoken person, or at least write well, and the world needs all the people available to help us fix our problems at hand.

      Good luck with your studies. Remember your grades on your transcripts help, only help as other challenges are also a factor for a leg up, that your grades help you accomplish your potential.


  4. Robert Dodd says:

    Readers here should read the history of the Tall Poppy Syndrome.

    People who do not feel they can measure up or do not want to do the required work have a stake in making sure standards fail. This can be seen in the expressions ‘no judgement’ or ‘it is all good’. As we have seen with the resent football sex scandal, judgement can protect kids and it is not all good. We want our kids to have the best education, medical treatment, or any other service provided them. The writer who feels members of stressed communities have the right to not do their duty fails to deliver support to those communities and actually damages their quest for a better life. Reinforcing stereotypes that certain groups can not do the work actually harms people.

    The hidden complainer seems to be making room for his or her own future failures, and based on stereotyping some people as less abled.

  5. Melinda Adams says:

    Very good lists of goals and promises. Every student should do those things. People should apply a similar list of things to work and life. People often do many important things half heartedly

  6. This is just my two cents, but I applaud Suzanne’s efforts. I do not attend Laney College, but I am in school as of this moment. I hold my school to a certain standard, just as I hope that the school holds me to a certain standard. I hope that my school can show that is a worthy institution, just as the school expects that I am a worthy candidate for a degree. The real world doesn’t allow the type of excuses that “A current student” offers. Unfortunately in the job market today, potential hiring companies can not afford to empathize with “an impoverished community,” “kids in all grades of school” and “sick relatives.” While I empathize and sympathize, a future employer will not hesitate to overlook a job candidate if they can clearly see that personal issues will be a factor in job focus. Isn’t the point of college to prepare you for the real world? I’ll admit that I didn’t even know what “rescission rate” meant and that the previous argument is well articulated and written. But it is in my opinion, flawed in the logic. If this person expects to get a job in today’s current market, they shouldn’t expect the potential hiring company to say that job interference related to the aforementioned excuses to be OK. I believe that Suzanne holding the students to a higher standard is not ridiculous. Once again, that is just my two cents.

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