Election 2020: Caring for Ourselves and Others

Dear Students,

As Election Day, Nov. 3, fast approaches, Connecticut College has made it clear that we are all-in. Earlier this semester, President Bergeron signed on to the All-In Campus Democracy Challenge, demonstrating our collective commitment to civic engagement. Conn is currently ranked #1 among NESCAC institutions and #4 in colleges and universities across the country in taking the all-in pledge to vote in this election. And last week, we hosted Conn Votes, a special event that brought together an expert panel of students, staff, faculty and alumni to discuss the long and winding road in the United States to expand voting rights.

Voter participation is certainly on our minds during this consequential presidential election. But we are also aware of the deep social and political divides across this nation and the range of intense feelings about the election on our campus. So, we write to share some thoughts to help you prepare for Election Day and the days that will follow. Specifically, we invite you to:

Care for yourself and others. Acknowledge the stress that you, your friends and your classmates may be feeling. Engage in self-care practices whenever possible and check in with your feelings and emotions. You may want to refer to the attached document containing election coping tips compiled by the staff in Student Counseling Services. 

Help promote the College’s values. In the spirit of full participation–and in keeping with our Honor Code–always seek to foster an affirming and inclusive campus environment. We encourage you to express political opinions respectfully and to act with integrity. Consider the impact of your words and actions at all times. Take note of the College’s approach to freedom of expression and know that hate speech will never be tolerated at Conn.

Use your voice. In case you missed it, students and staff in the Holleran Center have compiled a comprehensive website where you can learn more about the work Camels have done to encourage voter engagement. If you are eligible to vote in this election and haven’t yet made a plan to do so, please visit the website as soon as possible to get ready for the big day.

Connect with campus resources. Along with many professional staff colleagues in our respective areas, we are making every effort to increase our availability for individual support and consultation on Election Day and in the days immediately following. Staff members in our three divisions will offer virtual office hours and/or take appointments. By the end of this week, information about how to connect with staff members will be available on the Camels Vote website. Also consider accessing the election support resources available on the College’s YOU portal.

Find community and build solidarity. On Nov. 3, beginning at 7 p.m., REAL staff will provide snacks in the common areas for you to gather safely with friends to view the election or to take back to your rooms. There will also be two post-election events to help students, both on and off-campus, to connect with one another and process the election outcome.

  1. The Center for the Critical Study of Race and Ethnicity (CCSRE) has organized an event on Wednesday, Nov. 4, from 5:30-7 p.m. via Zoom. Attendees will have three possible groups to choose from based on how they self identify racially/ethnically, and the event will conclude with a talk-back facilitated by Dr. Bryana White from the Counseling Center.

  2. The College Chaplains will use their weekly PAUSE gathering on Thursday, Nov. 5 at noon to hold space for the community to react to the election and to express the range of feelings about the outcome. 

On behalf of the group of staff who worked together to coordinate election programming and support services, we want you to thank you for your efforts to maintain a healthy and respectful climate through this election season. Please know that we are here to support and assist you in any way possible.

Sincerely,

Victor Arcelus
Dean of Students 

John McKnight
Dean of Institutional Equity and Inclusion

Jefferson Singer
Dean of the College