Dear Colleagues,

Although a U.S. presidential inauguration occurs every four years, the violence at the U.S. Capitol that occurred on Jan.6, despite our free and fair election, gives us all a distinct opportunity to consider our role as educators at this moment.  

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was a student at Morehouse College in 1947, he published an essay in the Morehouse student newspaper, The Maroon Tiger, about the purpose of education: “Education must enable one to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false, the real from the unreal, and the facts from the fiction.”

As students return to classes or their campus employment this week, please keep in mind that they may feel unsettled, scared even, by the national political events. Their return to classes or the campus may be the first opportunity they have had to process their reactions and ask questions and discern the true from the false. If your time allows, please take time to engage with students about these events, and listen as they work through the challenges of January’s turbulent and dynamic events. Do what you do best – respond to students at the moment, and provide them the space in which learning can occur.  

The Student Success Task Force, led by Ellen Peters, has been particularly focused on how we can appropriately support students, and to that end, has compiled several resources below. 

Resources from the Library
In order to assist you in navigating this period, Peggy Burge, associate director for Public Services at Collins Library, has compiled some resources that you may find helpful:

Recognizing trauma in others:
University of California, San Diego Child Advocacy Institute

Taking care of yourself and others:
Lipsky, Laura Van Dernoot, and Burk, Connie.Trauma Stewardship: An Everyday Guide to Caring for Self While Caring for Others. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2009.

Supporting and educating traumatized students:
Rossen, Eric, and Hull, Robert. Supporting and Educating Traumatized Students. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013. Ebook. Van Der Kolk, Bessel A. The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma. New York, New York: Viking, 2014.

Compassion, resilience, and success:
Wolpow, Ray., Johnson, Mona, M, Hertel, Ron, Kincaid, Susan, and Washington Superintendent of Public Instruction. The Heart of Learning and Teaching: Compassion, Resiliency, and Academic Success. Olympia, WA: Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) Compassionate Schools, 2009. 

Resources from Student Rights and Responsibilities
Christy Fisher, director of Student Rights and Responsibilities, offers the following resources to engage in and hold space for discussion:

Holding Space for Transformational Learning 
Goddard College MFA Program blog

Teaching: Can Colleges Prepare Students for the Election and Its Aftermath? 
The Chronicle of Higher Education Teaching blog

Space for Reflection and Connection
Faculty and staff members have been working to create events to provide spaces for students, staff, and faculty to come together to process and reflect, and analyze and educate about these ongoing challenges to inclusive democracy, and as part of our lives nationally, and locally.

Tuesday, Jan. 19, 4 – 5 p.m.
Online QuaranTea (or Coffee, or Water) with Dave Wright, University Chaplain
Bring your late afternoon tea (or similar) and join Dave Wright and student Spiritual Life Scholars for very laid-back conversation, connecting, and generally being human together on Zoom.  
Event Link
Meeting ID: 332 648 7345; Passcode: Spring21

Wednesday, Jan. 20, noon–1 p.m.
Inauguration Day: A Mutual Processing Space during National Transition and Crisis
This event will occur in the context of an assault on the Capitol and displays of violent racism, antisemitism, and hate. Join a space for students, staff, and faculty to dialogue, share, and reflect on navigating our complicated and varied reactions to and understandings of our feelings, fears, and hopes moving forward. We invite you to share how the insurrection, inauguration, and the national transition have impacted your identities and communities to open the space to vulnerability and the power of solidarity and support.​
Event Link
Meeting ID: 922 2301 9765; Passcode: Spring21  

Thursday, Jan. 21, 11 a.m.–noon
Online QuaranTea (or Coffee, or Water) with Dave Wright, University Chaplain
Bring your favorite pre-lunch beverage and join Dave Wright and student Spiritual Life Scholars for very laid-back conversation, connecting, and generally being human together on Zoom. 
Event Link
Meeting ID: 332 648 7345; Passcode: Spring21

Thursday, Jan. 21, 6–7 p.m.
The Spring Semester Has Started...How Are You Doing Amidst Everything Else?
So the semester starts amid a coup attempt, a threatened Inauguration, continued strained race relations, and an ongoing pandemic. How are you doing? Whether you are starting the semester here on-campus or off-campus, what is going on for you? This hour is for you to process, talk, listen, and grow. Facilitated by Associate Dean of Students Marta Cady on Zoom.
Event Link
Meeting ID: 508 629 1790; Passcode: 513908

Friday, Jan. 22, 2–2:30 p.m.
Taking Time
Taking Time is a space for folx of any/all/no particular religious or spiritual background to connect, spend time in silence and reflection, hear some poetry, and consider the events and realities of our week and our world.
Event Link
Meeting ID: 965 6571 8163

Friday, Jan. 29, noon–1 p.m.
White Supremacy Here at Home: Reflecting on the National Moment on our Campus
The insurrection in our nation's capital, fueled by white supremacy, has shaken our collective and individual senses of what it means to live in a democratic society. At the same time, the event itself can feel far away, as if it had little to do with us. But the insidious roots of white supremacy are systematically present in this country, including on our own campus. How can we understand this powerful and painful moment right where we live? What might we do to engage these roots and work together for a more just and equitable community? Join us for reflection and conversation around making these connections between the national and the local.
Event Link
Meeting ID: 968 6514 4662; Passcode: 742374

CHWS and Employee Assistance Program
Students also can contact CHWS for support. And even as you work to support our students, we hope you can attend to self-care, with a reminder that Human Resources offers the Employee Assistance Program for support. 

With thanks for all you are doing to guide our students to success,

Laura L. Behling, Ph.D. | Provost
Uchenna Baker, Ph.D.  | Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students
Ellen Peters | Associate Provost | Institutional Research, Planning, and Student Success