Essay Presidential Election

Instead we were grappling with the fact that the new president was the male candidate who used bias against women -- and almost everyone else -- as a campaign tool.We had all witnessed and participated in many elections; however, none of us remembered a transition that had prompted this level of anxiety among our colleagues and students.We may expect stronger opposition to many of the ideas and activities we have been working for, but that cannot change our goals.

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The action of the college presidents can give you opportunities for broader conversations on your own campus.

A second model is the Association of American Colleges & Universities -- for me a key source for deep thinking and guidance for institutional change.

National groups can provide us inspiration, resources and support.

They also give us the opportunity to work with others who bring different institutional perspectives to the process of crafting strategies and developing a common language for complicated work.

Working locally while connecting to larger national efforts.

Taking on the work of institutional change is never easy.We have to be ready to rally against bias on our campuses and in favor of programs that support a diverse population and inclusive environment.Those goals are even more important after this election.They -- and others involved in related campaigns addressing long-term disparities in treatment because of race, class, religion, sexuality and gender -- have been living with this angry pushback for too long. But the advocates of those movements have also been asking for comprehensive structural solutions.Leaders from every part of the campus must forge connections that support our shared work and then move forward with changing our institutions.Two models come to mind -- one recent and developing, the other a longstanding organization.The recent letter fromis a bold effort to force the incoming chief executive to take responsibility for a direct repudiation of the intimidation and assaults being perpetrated in his name and in the spirit of the campaign rallies.Our colleagues, our students and the wider community need to see that we are not backing away from those commitments.At the same time, in order to address the depth of concern on our campuses, we need to take a more comprehensive approach to what we are doing.At HERS, we also work frequently with programs of the American Council on Education, as well as NASPA: Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education and ACPA: College Student Educators International -- both of which focus on student affairs and campus climate.At first, checking them out may feel like an addition to your to-do list.


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