You are here: Self-Care in Response to September 26, 2017 Incident

American University Office of Human Resources letterhead
AU Faculty and Staff
Beth Muha, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources
September 28, 2017
Self-care in Response to September 26, 2017 Incident

On Tuesday, September 26, 2017, American University was the target of a bias incident. This act is being investigated by University Police and is being addressed seriously by the university. President Burwell held a town hall yesterday afternoon at 1pm to give voice to concerns as a result of the incident.

This incident happens at an already stressful time of similar incidents, natural disasters, and political uncertainty. As faculty and staff, we must first support each other to help our students navigate this alarming and confusing time. The Office of Campus Life is creating a space for healing and will provide more information shortly. In the meantime, Human Resources would like to offer a few tips and resources to care for yourself as well as your colleagues and students.

Do a bit of self-care

  • Talk a to trusted friend or family member.
  • Seek professional help if you feel overwhelmed or if it's interfering with your ability to concentrate or work.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Stay hydrated, eat well, and go for a walk.
  • Get some extra, or at least adequate, sleep.

Support each other

Your colleagues may be feeling alone and vulnerable to attack by simply being who they are. Silence amplifies their isolation.

Educate yourself and your team

We all grow up with bias and it's important to acknowledge and take steps to reduce bias to break down the walls of silence that allow intolerance to grow.

  • Contact AU Connects, a new inclusion initiative that provides trained facilitators who can come to your group and help guide challenging conversations around race and ethnicity.
  • Attend a diversity and inclusion course offered by the Office of Human Resources.

Dig deeper

Acceptance, fundamentally, is a personal decision. Commit to disrupting hate and intolerance in our community by embracing the value that every voice matters, that all people are valuable, and that no one is less than anyone else.

Get Involved

Staff Council can be an avenue for advocacy on campus.

  • Join the Staff Council Diversity Committee, the Education & Social Activities Committee, or the Internal Web & Communications Committee. The next Staff Council meeting will be held on October 3rd from 11:30am-1:00pm in MGC 245. Email Staff Council at or email Staff Council Chair at

Additional Resources

  • Visit Kay Spiritual Center for interfaith support and a safe space to gather as a community.
  • Seek guidance and comfort with AU Chaplain Rev. Mark Schaefer.
  • Schedule a one-on-one session with counselor Dale Rampell by emailing or calling x2593.
  • Get guidance and support for staff and managers from the employee relations team in Human Resources. For assistance, contact or x2607.
  • Participate in AhealthyU onsite wellness programs.
  • Be mindful of what you share on social media. A few fact-checking sites, like can help keep your resources reliable and trustworthy.