American University encourages a diversity and inclusion of thought—and the freedom to express those thoughts—for all members of the campus community: staff as well as faculty and students.
The 2016 presidential election was one of the most divided in our nation’s history. Some people are happy with the outcome. Some people are angry, frightened, or in despair. Others still are somewhat indifferent. Tensions are running high as many people find themselves disagreeing with friends, family members, colleagues, and neighbors.
In addition, with winter and the holiday season approaching, some people will struggle with the depression and stress that can come with shorter days and unrealistic expectations for disagreement-free gatherings.
During such potentially demanding circumstances, it is important to take care of yourself and process your thoughts and feelings to the best of your ability.
AU offers several resources to help faculty and staff navigate these challenges. See below for more information, as well as additional tips for self-care and for avoiding or managing potential conflict at work.
While taking advantage of AU’s Faculty and Staff Assistance Program, getting regular exercise, eating well, getting enough sleep, and participating in activities to enhance spiritual well-being won’t eliminate problems or negative feelings, it can help you be in the best frame-of-mind possible to better handle life’s inevitable challenges.
Dale Rampell, Faculty and Staff Assistance Program (FSAP) Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-885-2593 for a confidential consultation.
Kay Spiritual Life Center houses AU’s interfaith community and emphasizes spiritual contemplation and social justice awareness. Learn more about events, faith communities, and chaplains: www.american.edu/ocl/kay/.
Communi-Kay, a weekly email newsletter of programs and events of the University Chaplain's office and its member communities. Sign-up for the newsletter at the Kay Spiritual Life Center website.
Be respectful and show compassion for others, regardless of whether you agree. AU values diversity and encourages civil conversations of varying viewpoints. However, if you feel conversation is becoming uncomfortable, kindly change the subject or excuse yourself.
Allow others to express themselves. AU protects the freedom and expression and dissent for all of the university community. If you find yourself an observer of an escalating situation, seek assistance from your supervisor or public safety.
Attend events that promote an exchange of ideas and greater understanding among people with different points-of-view.
Take a break from social media if it’s making you uncomfortable or causing you anxiety. If you do not want to avoid social media, consider before you share something how your various followers may interpret and respond. Be respectful and acknowledge your views as your own and that others may disagree.
¹Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education, UCLA’s Mindful Awareness Research Center.