Community Support

A Message from President Harring to the Muhlenberg Community

 Tuesday, April 20, 2021 04:25 PM

To the Muhlenberg Community,

As the verdict in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the killing of George Floyd draws near, we want to acknowledge the pain, grief and trauma that members of our community, particularly students, faculty and staff of color, continue to experience. The past year, and indeed, the past few weeks, have only served to intensify these feelings as incidents of racial violence and injustices continue unabated.

There are no words that can adequately address the harm, fear and grief experienced. For many, messages of support fall flat in matching the pain they feel. In acknowledgment of this, we wish to simply share a message of solidarity and support, and to offer actions we will take as a community over the next several weeks to support one another through this difficult time.

We invite all community members to come together to grieve, support, and offer hope to one another. Below is a partial list of events that are being planned. Additional details will be shared as plans are finalized in the coming days.

April 20

This evening, the Black Student Association (BSA) will host a virtual Community Check-in from 5-6 p.m. The goal is to provide students of color a space to discuss how they are feeling, but they welcome all members of the Muhlenberg community to join.

April 21-23

An informal community space for public reflection will be available in the Light Lounge from 2 p.m. Wednesday through 2 p.m. Friday. This space will provide opportunities for individual expression through drawing or writing and will give everyone the chance to reflect on the moment and consider pathways forward.

For Counseling Center appointment times, please email Pracheta Trivedi or Aliya Kenyatta.

The Office of Multicultural Life, in acknowledgement of the painful impact of the murder of Mr. George Floyd and the subsequent trial on our lives, invites community members to reflect on and express their anguish as well as their resolve to end the violence against Black people. Small groups of up to four individuals may meet in the Multicultural Center Monday through Friday in each of the following spaces:

First floor: Living Room; Mediation Room
Lower Level (basement): Main “Relaxation” Room; Reading Room

OML also has a tent that is available for small groups to meet in reflection and discussion.

The Office of the Provost recognizes that many faculty have worked hard to create classroom environments that are inclusive and supportive and that classes may become spaces in which students want to discuss and process recent events. Should faculty want or need to alter their syllabus for a day to make space for this, you have the support of the Office of the Provost in both spirit and resources. Please contact Brooke Vick, associate provost, if any guidance on facilitating these classroom discussions would be helpful.

Future Events:

May 1 and 2

A spring performance of the Sedehi Diversity Project will be performed in Parents Plaza from 2-4:30 p.m. This will be an outdoor, masked and socially distanced live performance for small groups who will walk around campus with SDP ’20 and SDP ’21 ensembles to reflect upon how we support each other within and beyond our community. For community members studying remotely, members of the Sedehi Diversity Project will record brief pieces of the performance for people to listen on their devices intended to help them find ways to connect and think together about how to prepare to be together in the future. A community conversation will take place on Zoom on May 5. Details to follow.

May 4

Join the Africana Studies Program, the Office of Prevention Education and the Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition for a screening and discussion of the film, Free CeCe! (2016) from 6-8:30 p.m. The viewing will be followed by an open discussion in which those in attendance can pose questions and discuss their thoughts in a safe, supportive environment. Co-facilitators Jules Purnell, associate director of the Office of Prevention Education, Emanuela Kucik, co-director of the Africana Studies Program and assistant professor of English and Africana studies, Nico Bittker, president of the Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition, and Aevyn Barnett, vice president of the Muhlenberg Trans Advocacy Coalition will present initial questions to begin the conversation.

May 6

The Africana Studies Program will present an event that will focus on the role of community and solidarity in Black liberation movements. Professors Roberta Meek and Emanuela Kucik will explore the moments in which many popular figures in Black history felt overwhelmed by the racist violence around them. They will examine writings by famous Black leaders in which they discuss not only being overwhelmed but also how their communities kept them going and helped them to persevere. Through a discussion of the importance of community in the lives of well-known historical and contemporary figures, students are encouraged to think about the ways that they can lift each other up and emphasize that we are always stronger together. The timing of the event will be shared when available.

The Office of Multicultural Life is currently in discussion with various student groups, the Bias Resource Education Team and others to plan a celebration of culture and community. Please look for information as this event comes together. Community members who would like to share their energy and time to engage and uplift each other, please look for a collaboration between campus affinity groups, SGA and other community partners, that will bring a campus-wide gathering to further social justice work and celebrate the many aspects of identity at Muhlenberg.

The College also provides individual support to those who may feel vulnerable or overwhelmed. The Counseling Center is available for confidential support and conversation as is the College Chaplain. In addition, the Office of Multicultural Life, the Bias Resource & Education Team and the Associate Provost for Faculty and Diversity Initiatives (brookevick@muhlenberg.edu) are helpful community resources available to you. Employees may turn to the Employee Assistance Program as well. Finally, reports of bias incidents that could violate College policies may also be made to Equity & Title IX or online. We encourage you to make use of these resources.

Please take care of yourselves and others in our campus community.

In community,

Kathleen Harring
President

Allison Gulati
Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students

Bruce Anderson
Interim Provost