Summer of Unrest: Caring for Ourselves and Our Community

Dear Oxy Community,

This summer our country has experienced much pain and frustration as a result of acts of violence towards our fellow citizens. These events have heightened conversations around social equity and justice. Occidental prides itself as a community that cares deeply about these issues; what happens outside of our campus does not leave us unscathed. I’ve been working with several administrators over the past few days to try to find a way to help us bond as a community in times when we are feeling emotionally taxed and disconnected. I am grateful for the unconditional support that came from Erica O’Neal Howard, Tim Chang, Ella Turenne, Susan Young, Sara Semal, Jonathan Grady, Jacie Feigelman and John Mortl.

First and foremost, please know that there are resources available for you anytime you may want or need them. Emmons counselors are available during regular business hours for students who would like to schedule an appointment or just drop in. Also, Oxy's 24-hour hotline (323.341.4141) provides students the opportunity to speak with a professional counselor outside of regular business hours. Faculty and staff may contact Human Resources for information on free counseling available through Oxy’s Employee Assistance Program (EAP).

Second, because we are all affected by these events, we will begin to engage in various opportunities for community members to come together for healing, reflection and dialogue about the events that have occurred.

The first is a new initiative for Oxy, something we’re calling the "3R Project" (Ribbons, Requests and Responses). The purpose of the 3R Project is for community members to (anonymously) share with one another their feelings, reflections or needs regarding the events of this summer.  The ribbon display will create a visual expression of our thoughts and the support we pledge to each other.  

We will have ribbons available for anyone who wishes to write down their feelings and needs in a few words. The 3R Project will start on Wednesday, July 20th at 7pm in the AGC 2nd floor rotunda, where ribbons will be available for all community members. Refreshments will be available. The project will be in the rotunda of the AGC all day Thursday, July 21 if anyone wishes to add a ribbon. Ribbons will be available in my office in the lower level of the AGC. At 4pm Thursday, everyone is invited to come back to see the display, to add ribbon responses and engage in a discussion to see how we can come together to meet the needs and requests of our fellow community members.

If you have other thoughts and/or suggestions of ways you think the campus can come together around these issues, please feel free to contact me.