Below is a statement I sent on the morning after the US Presidential election to my colleagues at Stony Brook University. Perhaps other educators might find it useful. As always, my views do not necessarily represent Stony Brook University or any of its agents or subsidiaries.
Last night the nation spoke and elected a new president. Even after this incredibly divisive, often disrespectful, and fraught presidential election, we will witness one of the things that has allowed the United States of America to be a beacon of democracy: a peaceful transition of power. Still, given the president-elect’s apparent agenda and lack of specificity, and what appears to be his supporters’ hope for significant change to the status quo, we may be entering a period that contains a greater measure of political uncertainty than usual. We must deal with that uncertainty responsibly and positively.
As educators we have a responsibility to ensure that each student with whom we come in contact feels safe, respected, and cared about. Many students may now feel distinctly insecure, angry, perhaps even scared. We should do everything in our power to help keep those students from feeling despair. Other students may be beyond jubilant, feeling vindicated and empowered. Others may appear to have no reaction. None of these feelings is necessarily wrong, but we must treat them carefully. We are a powerful community at Stony Brook University, and we will face new challenges together. We will make the most out of the changes to come for the benefit of all. As we do so, it is paramount that we maintain our mission as educators and that we show care and concern for all our students and colleagues.
I ask you to make an effort to be a little nicer, a little kinder, a little more supportive of everyone today and in the near future, as we all try to sort out what this new administration will bring. This election season has caused significant divisiveness, but it has also made visible some very serious social issues that we can and will address together. We can do that in a positive way as we move forward. It’s hard not to believe we have just entered a new historical era in our nation’s journey. Here at Stony Brook and beyond we will make that journey together with open dialog, respect, and care.
Associate Dean for Academic Programs, School of Professional Development