Unfortunately, crises can bring out behaviors that may not have previously existed on your campus or in your communities. Behaviors such as “othering” and xenophobia can exacerbate the situation for our most vulnerable populations.
One of our core values at the Council is inclusiveness—valuing each unique member of campus and greater communities. This page will serve as a resource center specifically for diversity, equity and inclusion during the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to provide pertinent and timely information as the situation develops. To get started, we've provided six actions campus staff can take during this difficult time to ensure that we do not isolate our underrepresented populations.
- Physically distance, yet socially connect. Even as we create the physical gaps that slow this virus, we must in fact remain socially connected. Reconnect with your peers virtually. Check in with one or two people each day, especially anyone you know who is alone or undergoing hardship. Also, take care of yourself. Make it a priority to create social video chats, call your grandparent on the phone, text someone a thank you to help you feel not isolated.
- Be an ally or “upstander” and invite others to join you. Immediately correct behaviors when you observe racist, dog-whistle, ageist, xenophobic, classist or other speech that divides your students or campus community into “us” and “them." We are all valuable and have a role to play. Especially stand up against the denigration of anyone in our Asian community at this time.
- Call the virus by its name. Use the correct term for the virus, “novel coronavirus” (or “SARS CoV-2”) and for the disease, COVID-19. No other names are acceptable.
- Affirm others. When you are out walking, maintaining safe physical distance, do make friendly eye contact with others you meet; smile or say something affirming. Call strangers “friend” as a greeting. Affirm those who are working to serve you.
- Be kind and patient with one another. This is new for all of us, so let’s be extra kind, extra patient. Give each other the benefit of the doubt. Even better, ask others if you can help them with anything.
- Take care of yourself. We are all under multiple sources of extreme stress. Especially if you have dependents, get rest, eat healthily, do something calming, go for a walk or do yoga. Follow all government health recommendations as well.
Do not give this pandemic permission to obscure our view of humanity and to shred our connection with each other. These ideas embody the values we hold at CPE and they will continue to keep our campuses and communities strong.