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Dean's Message on COVID-19 March 19, 2020

Dear SOE Community,

A sense of community runs deep in the psyche of SOE and the university as a whole. It is what attracted many of us here, and what keeps us going. As an educator and counselor, I have seen the incredible power of community help our students, faculty, staff and external partners. That feeling of belonging - the sense that you're an integral part of a community where you're accepted and valued - is healing. It is associated with greater well-being, cognitive function and self-satisfaction. And we need community now more than ever before.

SOE’s commitment to fostering an inclusive community that supports people of all diversities is embodied in our mission and vision statements that reflect both who we are and who we want to be. Given this unprecedented time in our lives, there are many that act and behave in contradiction to our vision for a more inclusive world community. And sadly, we are often reminded of this contradiction. Recently, we have heard the inappropriate, xenophobic language, such as the “Chinese virus” being used to describe the Coronavirus or COVID-19 pandemic. As a school, we wholeheartedly reject this language and premise and support the World Health Organization’s call for “solidarity, not stigma.”

So, I’m writing to remind you that when you see or experience any divisive, disrespectful and exclusive actions (including language), I ask you to be active not passive. Stand with your fellow colleague, student or peer in support of our inclusive values as a school and more importantly, as an institution.

And please join us to re-affirm our commitment to a socially just, equitable, vibrant, and inclusive learning community. Help us make our commitment more than words. Together, we can turn our words into strong actions as we spread the power and healing of communities throughout the SOE and entire AU community.

Onward together,

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy, PhD
Dean and Professor
School of Education