An update from the Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on the novel Coronavirus.
Dear Adelphi Community,
Earlier this semester, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion shared a reminder with our University community to be mindful of our subconscious actions and reactions to information regarding the strain of coronavirus. While there continue to be no known cases in New York, it is often the realm of the unknown that causes us to have the most fear and anxiety. While we do not know a great deal about the virus because this particular strain is new, it seems to be behaving in ways similar to other coronaviruses that we have seen in the past. Therefore, taking good care of ourselves—following all the precautions that we usually follow during flu and cold season—and taking stock of our actions and reactions is truly our first line of defense.
Our reactions reflect the world in which live. We are bombarded with images of catastrophe in our news media, and turn to entertainment that highlights violence and death in the name of leisure. We are exposed to various media that emphasize pain and destruction, and wonder why we find ourselves constantly living in the mindset of worst-case scenarios, unable to relax and process immediate situations with the distance needed to make clear, rational choices.
As a community, there are three choices that I ask you to make in order to make this stressful time transform into a time of education and healing, for yourself and others:
- Do something kind for someone today. There are people in our community right now who are feeling marginalized, disregarded and disrespected. There are people in our community who are experiencing pain that they don’t feel empowered to articulate. Pay attention to the people you encounter today and be a change agent. Say hello. Start a conversation. Ask someone how they are doing. And, when you are asked, answer honestly. Model what it means to be open and caring.
- If you are feeling triggered, anxious or otherwise challenged, please reach out. Just as we would seek medical attention when we feel ill, we should not discount the need to seek support when we feel emotionally challenged. Please reach out for the support you need: health services, counseling services and interfaith services. If you aren’t sure, any of these caring campus resources can guide you.
- Ask the questions you have in order to get the information you need. Adelphi University is a community of educated, critical thinkers who know that sources matter and never to rely on “what someone heard.” If you are presented with information that seems far-fetched, irrational or too broad, please double-check before reacting.
FACT: A community member’s race or national origin is never a cause for concern.
The small number of our community members who met Centers for Disease Control guidelines for screening were screened. There is no factual or logical connection between the spread of the coronavirus and our present community members. Assuming or shunning a community member’s race or national origin is a racist act.
FACT: We can choose to override our subconscious reactions.
When we find ourselves behaving in a manner that could inflict pain on another (such as running for cover when someone clears their throat or taking a step away from people based on their facial features), let’s take stock of our behavior and continue to develop our compassion, civility and empathy.
FACT: You are not alone.
This is a time when many members of our community may be experiencing increased instances of bigotry or racism in their daily lives, or reliving memories of past traumatic events. We are here for you. Whether you are a student or a faculty or staff member, we will help you to locate the resources you need to educate yourself and address your needs and concerns.
If you have any questions about this letter and how we can enhance our practices of civility, please contact the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at 516.877.4041. If you have questions regarding any health-related matter, please contact the Health Services Center at 516.877.6000. And, for more information about the novel coronavirus, you can visit the University’s FAQ on the Health Services website or the CDC website for the latest information.
Jacqueline Jones LaMon, JD
Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
For further information, please contact:
Strategic Communications Director
p – 516.237.8634
e – firstname.lastname@example.org