Associate Dean makes sensible non-partisan proposal for safety pins

Some simple common sense –  something which has often been missing from the previous statements on the halloween incident and the Trump election – from CAS Natural Science Assoc Dean Hal Sadofsky, here:

I’m not someone who normally embraces symbols, but I want all our faculty, staff and students to feel safe and to feel they belong here, and I feel a need to communicate that. This is even more important at this moment. There is a lot we all try to do already to make this campus safe. But there is more work to do—and also work to do to help people feel safe, which is not quite the same thing.

This past summer the electorate of the United Kingdom chose to exit the European Union. That campaign, like the presidential campaign that just ended, featured nativism, white nationalism, and rhetoric that denigrated and dehumanized huge sectors of the population. The immediate post-election period included countless incidents of hate speech, threat, harassment, and sometimes violence aimed at immigrants and people of color. Those who wished to stand up and be counted as proponents of inclusion (regardless of their feelings about Brexit) chose to identify themselves by wearing a safety pin—code for wanting people to be safe.

Wearing the safety pin showed that you were a safe person to sit next to on a bus, walk next to on a street, and to have a conversation with. Wearing the safety pin showed that you were opposed to racism and wanted all members of your community to feel they belonged and to feel safe. It seems strange to have to identify oneself as explicitly opposed to racism and sexism, but perhaps this moment requires it. The events of the past weeks, coupled with the language of the presidential campaign, don’t send a message of safety and belonging. It feels vital to signal that we stand with the members of our community from other nations, people of color, immigrants, and everyone else who may feel targeted.

I’ve now heard stories (mostly second hand, some first hand) from people who feel frightened, and others who feel unwelcome. I try to imagine, for example, being a first-year undergraduate from overseas who may believe that half of the “white” faces on campus want them deported, or being an African American faculty member on a campus that has experienced two incidents of blackface in less than two weeks.

I will be wearing a safety pin on my clothing today. It is a tiny gesture and can’t change the behavior of bullies or those determined to harass others. But if widely adopted and understood, it could help people who feel isolated know that they belong. It is a way to express alliance with the forces of tolerance and inclusivity. As I wrote above, I’m not someone who usually chooses symbolism, but I feel the need for a symbolic gesture in the aftermath of the election and of incidents intended to make some of us feel uncomfortable and unsafe.

If this idea resonates with you, please follow suit! I’ve brought 400 pins, available in the CAS Dean’s office (114 Friendly) if you wish to pick one up. Andrew has ordered another 2,500 that we hope will be available sometime Monday.

Hal Sadofsky, Associate Dean for Natural Sciences

Count me in. OSU President Ed Ray also had a good statement:

Faculty, staff and students,

Many members of our university community are experiencing a range of significant, heartfelt emotions following Tuesday’s election.

Several faculty, staff and students have shared with me that they fear for their future and the futures of family members and friends, especially people from diverse backgrounds and identities. Other members of our community are expressing joy about political change.  Each of these emotions is personal and powerful.

As members of our university community, we must care for each other and support one another despite the turmoil of the moment. If you are in need of assistance or would like to talk to someone about what you are experiencing, and are a Corvallis student, please visit the Student Affairs Student Resources website at http://experience.oregonstate.edu/resources. OSU-Cascades students should visit http://osucascades.edu/student-wellness. Employees needing assistance may utilize the OSU Employee Assistance Program by confidentially calling 1-800-433-2320 at any time or by calling the Human Resources Department at 541-737-3103.

I ask you to join me in looking ahead.

At this moment of national transition, we reaffirm that Oregon State’s mission of inclusive excellence in teaching, research, and outreach and engagement has not changed. OSU’s mission to promote economic, social, cultural and environmental progress for the people of Oregon, the nation and the world remains essential, and we will not realize our vision for the future unless we find common ground with those around us and unless we persist in this effort.

Since its founding, this country has overcome division and uncertainty by people coming together to address challenges, by respecting differences, and by demonstrating compassion and leadership.

This is the 56th presidential election in our nation’s history and every transition of leadership has occurred peacefully. The need for us to support each other, celebrate our diversity and promote the success of every member of our community and America remains unaltered. This is at the core of who we are and how we need to go forward.

On Wednesday, I saw impressive, moving and peaceful evidence of this America among us as dozens upon dozens of OSU students gathered in the Memorial Union quad throughout the day, and where approximately 400 students and community members marched through the evening on campus to call for an end to hate and to focus on our common humanity.

Let each of us help and serve one another. Let each of us help bring America together, while we count on and challenge all of our country’s leaders to do the same.

Going forward, I encourage you to stay engaged in our nation’s political process and lead your own lives in ways that reflect our common values as a community.

I am here to help, care and, with you, lead forward.

Edward J. Ray, President

Black students press for UO strides on race

11/11/2016: In the RG here, read it all:

When Schill took the microphone near the end of the two-hour event, he agreed that “many students, faculty and staff do not feel included in the University of Oregon. Some have been victims of intentional discrimination. Some have been hurt by careless, thoughtless behavior by members of our community. This is unacceptable. It is intolerable,” he said.

But he urged the dozen black student leaders to not let the events of the past weeks sabotage their education.

“Don’t let the actions of a clueless professor derail you from your studies. Don’t let some ignorant middle-schooler coming onto our campus take your eyes off the prize. Don’t let emotions of the nastiest political campaigns in history — or at least recent history — distract you. Each and every one of you belong here. This is your school. You are Ducks. That means something,” he said.

10/11/2016: Black Student Organizations to hold community rally, 2PM at EMU

Friday November 11th at 2pm in the EMU Amphitheater we will be holding
a Community Rally hosted by the Black Student Organizations (BWA, BMA,
BSU, BSTF, Black Law Students Association). The purpose of this rally is
to demonstrate unity and strength in expressing our desire for a safe
campus for current and future Black students and insist on forward
movement in accomplishing the Black Student Task Force list of demands.
In the event that it rains we will move to Straub 154. This rally will
be an opportunity for us to stand in solidarity with one another as
Black students, community members and our allies. We have strength in
numbers.

Anonymous professor criticizes UO’s “safe election processing spaces”

Personally I’m processing this election just like my Dad did in ’72, after his friend and grad school classmate George McGovern lost to Nixon – by crying into a glass of bourbon while rereading the speeches of Abraham Lincoln:

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. …

It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us …

But I know that not every student has a fake ID, and so I’m fine with the healthier processing help offerred by our VP for Diversity, below. That said, I’m also happy to serve as the safe space for those like the anonymous professor below, who think “Treating [our students] like precious snowflakes is insulting to their mental maturity and intelligence.”:

I voted for Hillary and I can’t stand Trump. But this email from our VP Inclusion office is exactly why some people voted for Trump. The fact that we feel the need to provide safe spaces for our students to “heal” after an election is just sad. Our students should already have the mental fortitude and maturity to deal with life’s setbacks. Treating them like precious snowflakes is insulting to their mental maturity and intelligence. When they have jobs in a few years (if they don’t already) are they going to ask their boss for time out from work because they are traumatized after an election? There are many reports from faculty of students crying in class and unable to focus on the material. This is madness.

p.s. also the fact that I have to send this anonymously and preface with “I voted for Hillary” (which I did) is a testament to the intolerance on our campus for alternate views (especially from our administration), which I think is a symptom of this “must give students space to heal from people who say bad things” theme. What happened to ‘sticks & stone may break my bones but words will never hurt me?’

_~MESSAGE SENT ON BEHALF OF VICE PRESIDENT YVETTE ALEX-ASSENSOH~_

Dear Colleagues:

For many in our community, the election results have been traumatic, instilling fear, hurt and a sense of abandonment. While every election in our democracy has winners and losers, yesterday’s election was more than that. The winning candidate insulted, caricatured and dehumanized many of our own faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners who are Black, Native, Chicanx/Latinz, survivors of sexual assault, immigrants and undocumented, Muslim, LGBTQ+, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, people with disabilities, women, allies, and others.

In your capacity as a leader on our campus and a member of our UO community, I am asking you to please extend compassion and empathy as many of us grieve and engage in self care. This will provide all of our community members with the space to process, heal and move forward.  I am also asking you to be in touch with UO faculty, staff and students in your respective units to offer resources and support,  and appropriately provide time for community members to avail themselves of the resources:

ELECTION PROCESSING SPACE FOR PEOPLE OF COLOR, LGBTQIA, WOMEN, IMMIGRANTS, REFUGEES AND PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES

Date: 11/9/16

Time: 7:30 PM

Location: Multicultural Center (EMU 109)

Time for healing and reflection in the wake of last night’s election.

FACULTY OF COLOR AND THEIR ALLIES: MEET AND GREET, OPPORTUNITY TO DISCUSS AND REFLECT ON ELECTIONS

Date: 11/10/16

Time: 4-5 PM

Location: Falling Sky Brewery

ADPI PROCESSING SPACE

DATE: Friday, 11/11/16

TIME: 9-11 AM

LOCATION: Mills International Center [1], M102 Erb Memorial Union (the stairs/elevator by the Duck Store)

More importantly, I am asking you to take proactive steps to improve the climate in the units where you serve as a leader. Provide space for reflection, civil discourse and compassion. Understand that the road to the beloved community often encounters anger, missteps and confusion along the way.  This is especially so because the fabric of our nation and campus community is already tenuous. No matter the difficulty, now is the time to reach out across our differences, find the best in others and come together as a community committed to the values of inclusive excellence and well-being for all.

Take good care, Yvette