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From an email sent 10.30.2020 . . .

With the election upon us next week, we want to encourage all instructors to be prepared, regardless of the outcome, by proactively thinking about how the 2020 Election may impact their students, their classrooms, and themselves.
 
If we agree that our diversity is our strength, and we are committed to fostering an inclusive learning environment for all, then it is incumbent upon us to make space for different views. Inclusion means creating space for our students’ psychological safety, so that all students feel a sense of belonging, and that their uniqueness is valued. This is referenced in the DEI’s TEN POINT working draft, as highlighted below.

Working Draft of OTIS’S TEN POINTS: STANDING UP FOR EQUITY:

  • We do not tolerate racism or any other form of violence or discrimination from anyone. 
  • We expect all Otis community members to work toward dismantling systems of oppression.
  • We recognize the College’s historical struggles around equity and the ways those reflect struggles in U.S. culture and beyond.
  • We recognize diversity as a reality, a responsibility, and a resource.
  • We commit to treating every person’s identity with dignity and respect.
  • We commit to practicing institutional responsibility to redress unjust histories.
  • We commit to an ongoing systemic and structural approach in correcting inequities: this work is collective, not individual.
  • We commit to hold ourselves and one another accountable to our collective effort to create an inclusive campus invigorated by difference.
  • We commit to honesty, vulnerability, and openness as we dialogue across differences. 
  • We commit to an intersectional and justice-oriented approach.

You may wish to create a community agreement with your students to establish inclusive rules of engagement for these discussions. We suggest that faculty pay attention to any display of microaggressions (eye-rolling, positioning, sarcasm, etc), as this will likely inhibit the comfort of students who may not share the perspective of the majority. This could be addressed in class community agreements. Some faculty may choose to tie post-election discussions to the content of their courses.
 
Here are some resources that you might consult in preparing for these conversations: (These resources will be available on the TLC’s website and will also be posted on the bulletin board of the dashboard).

 
You can also remind your students they can participate in a post-election reflection hosted by the campus:
Here is the info:

Student Affairs is leading a Post-Election Reflection for all students on November 5th from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. This will be a “drop-in” style reflection.  Staff members from Residence Life and Housing, Student Activities, and Student Counseling Services will be available to check-in, connect, process, or simply have rich and engaging discussions.

You can drop in this Zoom Lounge using Zoom ID: 939 7226 9724 or using the direct link: https://otis.zoom.us/j/93972269724
 
Below is a “script” with some talking points for how a conversation could ensue:
 

  • Many students, staff, and faculty in the Otis College community are experiencing a range of emotions related to this election – they are all valid and normal reaction to what feels uncertain.
  • There are no right or wrong ways to feel – I just ask that we respect each other’s’ process, and allow space for anger, frustration, or even confusion.
  • We want to be sure that you all know of the resources available on campus should you or someone you know need additional support.
    • Student Counseling Services: 310-846-5738
    • For Off-Campus Students: Office of Student Affairs: 310-846-6960; if you need additional support or have questions
    • For Residential Students: Residence Life Staff; your RA and/or the Coordinator for Residence Life; please do not hesitate to reach out to them.
  • We encourage you all to take care of yourselves, ask for support as needed. Talk about how you’re feeling as much as you need to and allow yourself to set limits/boundaries if you need space to process.

 
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