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Davis

Davis, California

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Letter to the Editor: Response to “Groundskeepers”

My interest was piqued when I saw the front page article, “Groundskeepers speak about their heritage” last week. I was dismayed to see the article go off topic with misleading information. I want to dispel the idea that most of our five laborers are illiterate.

To begin with, the reading and writing skill levels are not pertinent to the performance of their daily tasks or the great work they do in keeping the campus grounds safe and looking good. Regardless, one has his degree and was a teacher, one has a degree in horticulture and another teaches youth about the Bible. One creates name plaques with wood for friends and customers while the last laborer’s writing and reading skills are quite sufficient. They have their forklift certificates, regularly attend safety and equipment training classes and are keenly attentive in their tasks to insure the safety of themselves and all students and staff on campus. Degrees are not required for the classifications in our department though many have furthered their education with degrees, certifications and licenses in their field of work as arborist, operator, groundskeeper, irrigator and sports turf maintenance. We have varying levels of education and experience but I consider myself and the others in my department professionals in our chosen field of work.

I do appreciate that you pointed out the pride that the immigrant coworkers have in obtaining U.S. citizenship, but you should realize that not all of the immigrants in our department are of Hispanic descent. A majority of the staff is Hispanic, but I would venture to say that our department is more diverse than the ethnic demographics of the landscape industry throughout California. I was confused about the inquiry as to whether the Hispanic crew members associated themselves as native Californian or Mexican. The issue and conclusion was unclear to me — though I personally believe they are all both proud of their heritage and their Mexican or dual citizenship.

Michael Griffith, groundskeeper
Horticulture, Clark College
Managerial Economics, UC Davis

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