The Reflect Organization, a national mental wellness nonprofit with college and university chapters, has developed a guide with mental wellness resources for Black students. Many Black college students were already disproportionately affected by the coronavirus pandemic before experiencing added trauma due to George Floyd’s death and continued racial injustice in the U.S.
Additionally, the organization created a guide with mental wellness resources for the LGBTQ+ community, which can be found on Instagram or on their website.
As many institutions face the moment of racial reckoning in this country by addressing long standing calls for the removal of offensive symbols, the Chronicle reports on the debate over what comes next. Scholars and activists are asking if this will be a watershed racial moment for higher education. The article asks, “Will student uprisings this fall lead to deeper changes than those achieved by the antiracism protests that shook campuses five years ago? What would it take to really address the role universities play in perpetuating racial inequality?” According to the Chronicle, there are indications that changes will come on police reform and other racial-justice goals, but these will be pushing against the financial reality that universities are facing as a result of the pandemic. Typically, diversity equity, and inclusion projects are among the first to be cut under difficult financial circumstances.
In an op-ed in the Chronicle, Kevin V. Collymore, assistant director of advisement and student services in the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University, argues that students will be demanding meaningful change from college administrators and outlines concrete steps colleges can take to combat structural racism.
Darryll Pines, the new president of the University of Maryland at College Park, spoke with the Baltimore Sun about the dual pandemics of the coronavirus and racial injustice. He said, “Each one shows how globally connected the world is. We are living in two watershed movements in time and space. As I embark on my presidency it provides clarity: The work that we do in higher ed matters.” Pines outlined in a message to the community his immediate actions to address injustice and foster a better culture within the university, calling for the immediate naming of new residence halls for groundbreaking Black and Asian alumni, the creation of a new orientation program for students and staff, reconsidering campus police tactics and equipment, and improving diversity among students and faculty.
Student leaders at Washington and Lee University have asked for a number of institutional changes including changing the name of the school. The private college was named in honor of two of its early benefactors, George Washington and Confederate General Robert E. Lee. In a separate effort, a majority of faculty members signed on to a petition calling for changing the name. The school’s president called for a special meeting of the faculty to consider a motion to change the name, where seventy-nine percent voted in favor of a formal resolution: “The Faculty of Washington and Lee calls for the removal of Robert E. Lee from the name of the University.”
In a Daily Bruin op-ed, UCLA student Rachel Durose argues that CAPs must take additional steps to improve accessibility for all students at a distance, lengthening hours and streamlining services by creating an online intake and appointment generator. “If UCLA is unwilling to provide the proper support for increased hours,” she writes, “then CAPS must adopt measures that make the services they currently provide more efficient.”
As the pandemic and the racial-injustice crisis take a toll on Black students and other marginalized groups, The Chronicle highlights ways colleges can support them. The article states, “In the throes of dual national crises, students of color will need quick access to mental-health-care options that reflect their experiences, recreate their support systems remotely, and acknowledge the physical and emotional tolls the past few months have taken.”
The Chronicle convened a virtual event to bring together educators from K-12 and higher education for a discussion about the education system’s role in exacerbating race and class disparities, as well as promising approaches to achieving equity. The event, hosted by Michael J. Sorrell, president of Paul Quinn College, and Scott Carlson, a senior writer at The Chronicle, was transcribed here.
Dozens of Black college students and graduates are creating instagram accounts that call attention to examples of disrespect and harassment, according to the Hechinger Report. They’re also highlighting resources for such things as learning about white fragility, and which college courses could prepare you to open your mind and check your biases.