Acknowledging Ongoing Impacts of Racialized Violence

Acknowledging Ongoing Impacts of Racialized Violence

The past year has been a painful one marked by the continuation of racialized violence perpetuated against Black people and other people of color. For many, the trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd resurfaces deep grief, anger, and pain, and the recent killing of Daunte Wright as well as Adam Toledo by police only adds to this.  

We want to emphasize the importance of encouraging students to connect with resources and community groups that can support them, building in flexibility where possible, and locating the support we might need as faculty and staff. We also want to share thoughts about exercising care (and caution) in whether we open class discussion on the Chauvin trial and about communicating care explicitly to students.

Related Topics: Inclusion and Equity
Teaching Pillars:

Share Student Support Services

University Counseling Services (UCS) encourages resource-sharing with students, stating that "Given the continued impact of sociopolitical events with the rise in anti-Asian violence and the Chauvin trial, we would like to highlight programs and ongoing services that are available for students most affected by these events along with other services and resources offered at UCS.” 

TEP encourages instructors to share UCS’s information with students via a slide at the beginning of class, a Canvas Announcement, and/or any other medium that fits your context. Below you will find language you are welcome to modify and use as well as a slide to share. 

Counseling Services resources as a downloadable slide 

Adaptable Announcement Text:


I know many of you have been thinking about the trial of ex-police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd, and its precedents and impacts. The killing of Daunte Wright this week by police only adds to feelings of grief, anger, and pain.  
I want to make sure you have these resources from UO Counseling Services: 

(1) Let’s Talk Drop-In Consultation: For all students (identity-based specialists available), no appointment needed, no paperwork 

See the schedule and find your Zoom link: 

(2) Discussion Spaces: Supportive occasions for students to connect 

  • Black CommUNITY 
  • Addressing Anti-Asian Violence: ADPI Student Community Dialogue 
  • Additional groups include Living with Loss, Me Too Support, and more 

Learn more about discussion spaces and therapy groups:  

(3) Mental Health and Healing Resources for Black, Indigenous, and People of Color 

I also want you to know that I care about you. Please let me know if I can support you in the context of our class. 

Counseling Services also invites calls from instructors: “Please don’t hesitate to call UCS to consult when concerned about a student (541-346-3227), which also serves as our After-Hours Support and Crisis line when we are closed.” 

Access support for yourself

We hope you will prioritize your wellbeing as much as you are able. In addition to seeking support in your existing communities, instructors may be interested in these resources:  

For individual therapy: We encourage faculty interested in therapy to contact two resources that frequently have a very quick response time: Cascade Centers and the HEDCO Clinic. Cascade Centers, Inc. (1-800-433-2320) is part of UO’s Employee Assistance Program; the HEDCO Clinic (541-346-0923) provides therapy through upper-division graduate interns who are completing their clinical component of study for UO’s Couples and Family Therapy master’s degree. HEDCO clinicians work closely with licensed faculty supervisors and provide high-quality care. Both of these options provide services for employees and their dependents. Faculty can also scan the HEDCO QR code available on their flyer to fill out a survey and get connected with care.  

Black, Indigenous and POC faculty who are interested in counseling services from a BIPOC therapist may be interested in the short list of providers on page 2 of Human Resources' UO's BIPOC Community Resources pdf.

We encourage GEs interested in therapy to contact either University Counseling Services at 541-346-3227 or the HEDCO clinic using the information above. 

For additional supports on campus: Human Resources hosts a wellness seminars series for faculty and staff. And the UO Wellness Listserv offers resources related to physical, emotional, social, intellectual, spiritual, financial, environmental, and occupational wellness. Faculty, staff and graduate employees can subscribe.  

If there are things you can cancel or omit in your course or your other academic responsibilities where the extra space would be an act of care for self or students, you may want to consider this: Academic Council gives faculty and graduate instructors latitude to “modify course expectations such that required work is reduced or grading schemes are adjusted provided they can still meet course learning objectives.”  

Increase course flexibility 

There are areas where we can be additionally responsive to student needs, including extending flexibility in due dates and being flexible in how students participate and “show up.” Many instructors we know are stretched thin, but where it fits your course and your own needs, you might consider: 

  • Allowing for one or two additional extensions on assignments. Some instructors will simply extend the deadline for all students if the next assignment is not too closely scaffolded in time. 

  • Reminding students that participation can mean many things, and that they should take a brief break when they need it. If they feel the desire to keep their cameras off and just participate in the chat or via voice, they can do this. If students are going into discussion groups, we can give them some agency about how they are grouped or let them know they can return to the main room if they wish to. 

  • If using discussion groups, allowing students to opt in to groups with friends, or even to opt into solo rooms if they prefer working alone 

  • Revisiting assignments your class seems to be struggling with to see if there are things you wish to omit that still allow your students to meet the learning objectives of your course. 

For ways to make allowances in Canvas, and for additional ideas, please see our post on “Making Flexible, Supportive End-of-Term Allowances in Canvas.” 

Exercise Care and Caution Around Discussion

Consider whether and how you ask students to engage with the Chauvin murder trial and Mr. Floyd’s death. If engaging with the trial and its context is key to your course, students may need additional support, structure, and grace around interacting with it together. If Chauvin’s trial is not core to your planned content and discipline, we might discourage unstructured large-group and breakout room discussions, particularly where instructors do not have strong relationships with most/all of their students and students do not have strong relationships with one another. 

If difficult conversations do surface in class, know TEP’s “Strategies for Engaging with Difficult Topics, Strong Emotions, and Challenging Moments in the Classroom" and “Teaching in Turbulent Times Toolkit” are available for you. Please do contact us if we can support you in any way around challenging conversations or any other aspect of your teaching.

Communicate Care for Students

We know that so many instructors have already done—and continue to do—this. Communicating care might simply mean an instructor acknowledging the weight of the violence raised right now during the trial, and the continued emotional and physical toll this violence takes on many people, particularly BIPOC students, faculty, and staff. Communicating care might also mean asking students (perhaps through an anonymous and optional survey in Canvas, taken during class time) how they are and what, if anything, would support them in the context of your class.

We also want to emphasize what you already know: the roles of faculty and GEs are not roles of mental health professionals, but educators who care. As John Warner notes in his Inside Higher Education post this week, "Recognizing that we have a serious problem with the intersection of mental health and higher education is important progress, but adding mental health counselor to the job of faculty is not going to bring about a solution." Yet, as UO’s Dr. Mariko Lin writes, “one does not need to be a mental health professional to reach out and demonstrate care,” and she shares several ways you can connect with students and contribute to building a community of care and support. We are hopeful that students, staff, and faculty will be able to find the support they need right now, and we appreciate all you've already done to let students know about the roles and groups that are there to provide individual and community care.