Provost and Executive Vice President Paul Goldbart issued a message to faculty on April 19, offering support and providing resources available to the community “during what could be a challenging time” as the country awaits the verdict of Derek Chauvin. The message reads as follows:
The trial of Derek Chauvin, who is charged in connection with the death of George Floyd, has raised significant concerns about justice and equity. In advance of a verdict in this important case, I am reaching out to offer some thoughts about how we can manage our classrooms and workplaces and take care of ourselves and one another during what could be a challenging time. The health and well-being of our students is paramount, and the impact of this court decision is likely to have profound effects on all of us.
I am reaching out to offer my support and some thoughts about how we might prepare ourselves as faculty and staff.
Over the course of the last year, I know that you weathered many challenges together. I am reaching out now to remind you of the support and resources available to our entire community. The campus originally put together this compilation of resources around the U.S. presidential election. It occurs to me that these resources could also be of service at the current time.
Please reach out to email@example.com if you are aware of any additional resources that could support our faculty and staff.
Fostering Inclusive Classroom Conversations
Where appropriate, we hope that faculty will allow students to process their experiences in the classroom in a manner that is respectful to all members of our community. The university has long been, and should be, a space for the discussion and debate of ideas. We look forward to continuing that tradition as we await the outcome of this trial. As we do so, please reflect on the line between “political” and “partisan,” and our shared responsibility not to stray across it. Please consider adopting strategies to foster an inclusive classroom culture and ways to support the student experience.
I encourage you to find opportunities to reiterate our institution’s core values of civility and respect. Back in the Fall Semester, campus leadership shared some ideas about how to address Zoom disruptions. Please revisit these if you have concerns about managing disruptions in your online classrooms.
You may also consider drawing on our Caring, Respect, Civility website, which provides resources for supporting classrooms and students.
Taking Care of Yourself and Others
With regard to your own well-being and the well-being of one another, please take advantage of resources available to you. Visit Healthier U for updates on programming that can help relieve stress and encourage self-care. Employees who wish to speak individually and confidentiality about their experiences (via phone or Zoom) are welcome to contact the Employee Assistance Program here. Stony Brook Medicine has numerous resources and resiliency tools developed for COVID-19 that can also be helpful in managing stress across a range of settings.
Supporting Our Students
Student Affairs offers an extensive array of resources and events, both educational and mental-health focused, to support our students. The Center for Inclusive Education in the Graduate School is a safe space for students to find support and resources.
If you are concerned about any of your students, please draw on these resources and appropriately direct them. For more serious concerns, the Stony Brook Red Book offers a comprehensive directory based on the type of concern or situation you may encounter. For less serious concerns and to have a brief, informal conversation with a counselor, you may want to direct students to Let’s Talk for individual hangout space. Where appropriate, please remind students that counseling services are available from CAPS in virtual (Zoom or phone) formats, including the 24/7 CAPS After Hours phone line.
Undoubtedly, this is a challenging time for many of us for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is enduring an enormously demanding three semesters and summer. I am grateful for your thoughtful commitment and evident hard work and hope that the resources mentioned above will provide some additional support.
Paul M. Goldbart